A new study by SmartCompany has found that small and medium-sized enterprises are set to go big on content marketing during the next 12 months and will spend more money on news, blogs, videos and other forms of brand content than any other traditional channels or publicity ventures.
The latest SME Directions Survey polled the opinions of 700 professionals across a range of industries. The importance of content marketing was a constant theme, but other issues were also prevalent, such as the emergence of artificial intelligence and automation and how cutting-edge tech will change marketing.
While the long-term impact of these developments are yet unknown, enterprises are ready to double down on their content marketing efforts throughout the next year. A recent report published by the Content Marketing Institute showed that more than a third will increase their content spend, and SmartCompany’s findings add further weight to this investment trend.
Those surveyed said that content marketing is currently behind email and social media in the marketing channel stakes, but when asked about their top priorities for 2017, they named the creation of insightful and relevant articles as the most popular choice. Brands are also eager to experiment with new forms of brand content to supplement mainstays such as blogs and videos.
“Content marketing gives businesses the ability to tell their own story, which can be a very powerful marketing tool given that consumers are switching off more traditional marketing methods,” Nina Hendy, professional writer and founder of The Freelance Collective, says. “Content marketing gives consumers the ability to fall in love with the business and people behind the business. Or, you can use this marketing vehicle to educate your audience about your business processes or help them in their own business or life.”
Meanwhile, a separate study from SEO service provider Conductor has outlined the most important metrics for success for marketers. Enterprises now spend around $135 billion (£108 billion) each year on content marketing, which makes return on investment crucial for continued success. The 163 professionals surveyed said that organic traffic is their most prized metric along with leads and social engagement.