Brands get the most value from publishing content during the first stage of a buyer’s journey and three quarters use either editorial articles or blog posts to generate leads and drive awareness, according to a major new study from Content Marketing Institute (CMI).
CMI found that 87% of brands are using content to reach and engage with potential customers. The “interest” phase is the most important for serving up content for marketers, though the study notes that there is “untapped opportunity” to drive demand during the middle and late stages of the sales funnel.
Respondents said that 47% of their content is tailored for the initial phase of a buyer’s journey and that website traffic is the most important metric. Blogs and articles are the most popular content format by some margin here, so brands are likely to invest more in these to increase awareness.
However, CMI urged brands to balance their content output across stages to ensure that they retain the interest of consumers throughout the funnel, and recommended experimenting with formats and mediums during campaigns.
CMI’s Chief Strategy Advisor Robert Rose said: “These results suggest successful demand generation is not possible by simply creating content for the top of the funnel. Success is derived by connecting content-driven experiences deeper in the funnel – the interest and education of the new prospect are held throughout the journey.”
The good news is that overall, content marketing is working. Six in ten said that they believe that their demand generation efforts are at least moderately successful.