Only 21% of B2B Marketers are successful at tracking the return on investment (ROI) on their content marketing. Yet, 70% are planning on creating more on content than the previous year.

Those are just two of the fascinating findings from the “2015 Content Marketing Report – Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends”.

For the past five years the Content Marketing Institute has surveyed the state of the content marketing industry and published their findings. This year they surveyed over 5,000 marketers in 25 industries, and 109 countries. The results are comprehensive, compelling and very interesting reading for anyone who is using content to market their business. Below I’m going to take a closer look at five of the findings which I found most striking.

1). 86% Of Organizations Are Already Using Content Marketing

Close to 86% of organizations are using content marketing. This was a decrease from 93% on 2014. So does that mean organizations are turning away from using content marketing? Probably not. More than likely it is to do with the introduction of a tighter definition of what exactly content marketing consists of.

According to the “2015 Content Marketing Report” content marketing can be defined as:

“a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”

It is interesting that the report has decided to emphasize strategy, because unfortunately…

2). 35% Of B2B Marketers Having A Documented Content Marketing Strategy

While 83% of B2B marketers say that they have a content marketing strategy in some form, only 35% say that this is documented. This can make a huge difference to the results that are achieved through content marketing. According to the report those organizations with a documented plan are 25% are more effective in every area measured by the content marketing report. It’s a compelling argument to not just have to have a content marketing strategy but to get it written down.

3). 83% Of B2B Marketers Use eNewsletter

eNewsletters continue to be the most popular content marketing strategy. This is confirmed by findings from the Email Marketing Industry 2014 report, which stated that 68% of marketers rated email marketing as producing the highest ROI. If you are not already using email marketing as a key part of your content strategy you will want to be sure to introduce it into your marketing mix.

4). 94% Of Marketers Are Using LinkedIn As Their Primary Social Network

LinkedIn is by far the most popular social network used by B2B marketers. It was also rated the most effective platform with 63% saying it was the most effective. That makes sense considering that among the major social networks LinkedIn is the only one which is specifically targeted towards the business market. Another social network on rise this year has been Twitter. The number of B2B marketers rating it as effective rose 5% this year to 55%, suggesting that they are getting better at using it.

5). 55% Of B2B Marketers Plan To Spend More On Content Marketing In The Next 12 Months

The vast majority of B2B marketers are planning on increasing or keeping steady the amount that they spend on content marketing over next 12 months. One of the road blocks to achieving this increased amount of content could be creative talent. 32% of B2B marketers say they are struggling to find trained content marketing professionals. That’s up from 10% the previous year.

So what lessons can we content marketers take away from this year’s report? One big one is the importance of having a documented content marketing strategy. While it’s great that organizations realize the benefits of content marketing and are willing to invest more resources in it, for long term success, B2B marketers will need to be able to prove its effectiveness.

Another lesson for those managing a team is the importance of training and retention of content marketing staff. Finding skilled content marketers could be increasingly difficult going forward, so building that internal talent will become even more important.

Overall, though the picture painted by the content marketing report is positive. Content marketing is now a central part of almost all B2B businesses marketing strategy, a trend which looks likely to continue for the foreseeable future.