Some great stats on the state of content marketing from the folks over at wyzowl, so I thought I’d create this custom infographic to show the information off.

I really wish the folks at wysowl spent some time talking about the respondents and how the data was collected so readers could understand the data better. For instance, data coming from small businesses looks a lot different from enterprise respondents. My guess is this data represents small businesses, but, it’s only a guess.

I still run into resistance when talking about content marketing with potential clients because it’s the most expensive element of my proposal. That’s because content marketing is so time-consuming — just take a look at the graphic above from SocialEars showing all that goes into crafting a high-performing content marketing strategy. I pay community managers to create and curate integrates SEO-optimized content and share it across the web, I have an account executive who integrates content marketing into the clients overall digital marketing strategy, monitors performance, and tweaks campaigns to optimize market performance, and I supervise everything.

Crafting a content marketing strategy

Think about all that goes into a carefully crafted content marketing strategy:

  1. Digital marketing goals and how content marketing fits into this goal strategy
  2. SEO keywords
  3. Optimal timing for post creation — usually before noon for B2B firms wanting to drive traffic. For others, check out this post on coschedule
  4. Sharing strategy – including blogger outreach to amplify your message
  5. Content marketing calendar listing publishing days, topics, resources for crafting individual posts
  6. Monitoring plan

Blogging, of course, is the most expensive element of a good content marketing strategy, with nearly 1/2 of respondents agreeing to some extent that blogging is an effective medium.

A blog is essential if your marketing strategy involves driving traffic to your website. For instance, a company like McDonalds really doesn’t benefit much from website visits, while a company like Toyota needs to drive traffic to their website to provide information that informs consumer choice (Hubspot suggests consumers compete most of their journey online before visiting a store), while a site like Amazon fails in reaching it’s marketing goals without a constant stream of high-quality traffic to its site.

Is content marketing effective?

Most respondents felt their content marketing efforts were effective. Highlights include:

  • Only 1/3 of respondents said they hadn’t found a new brand through the brand’s content marketing efforts.
  • Nearly 60% of respondents said their ROI from content marketing is increasing (30%) or staying the same (29%).
  • Less than 10% say they’re losing money on content marketing
  • 73% say content marketing creates improved brand awareness
  • 67% say they’ve received increased leads from content marketing
  • 64% say they’ve increased traffic due to content marketing

My infographic shows positive returns from content marketing in terms of ROI (return on investment), which is a critical value no matter what other goals a firm might set for their strategy.

Is content marketing to blame for poor results or is it failure of your content marketing strategy?

Of course, effectiveness is a function of how you’re running a content marketing campaign, so it’s hard to interpret these statements. If you’re not publishing often enough, publishing SEO-optimized content, sharing on social networks and with influencers, or your content isn’t right for your audience, your results will, well, suck.

If you want help selecting a content marketing agency that produces good results, check out this post.

What does content marketing cost?

Well, findings suggest folks are spending a relatively small percentage of their marketing budgets on content marketing, with over 24% spending less than 10% of their budget on content marketing with most of that spending going into social media and email marketing. Traditional marketing — trade shows, advertising (including online advertising), direct mail and telemarketing still comprise a significant marketing effort within businesses surveyed.

Yet, when you look at the quality and quantity of leads generated by various marketing tactics (from Software Advice), you find a disconnect between where these firms are spending money and where they’re generating leads.

What does good content marketing cost?

You can spend $35 an hour to hire someone in a small agency or hire a freelancer for about $75/ post, but you won’t often get any strategy or monitoring in these prices. The Sales Lion suggests a small to mid-sized business should be prepared to pay between $2000 and $20,000/ month to have a competent content marketing agency on retainer.

Kissmetrics offers insights on reducing these costs — mostly by doing it yourself and, if you’re running your business do you have TIME to do it yourself. Also, beware of some advice from Kissmetrics as: 1)buying content from content farms often results in duplicate content that is worse than no content at all and 2) publishing once a week isn’t enough — you need to publish fresh content on a consistent basis (see the graphic from Hubspot to see why I recommend 2-3 times per week), share it (and engage with your community), and curate content.

According to this infographic :

If content is the currency of the digital age, then attention is the prize. Costs are going up because customers are demanding more of their marketing.

Based on the notion that the average marketer costs $42.50/ hour (which is a fully loaded $85,000 per year) and it takes 2 hours to craft a post + 1 hour strategy + 1 hour sharing + 1 hour graphic design + 1 hour for community management for each post, you’re talking $255 per post. Of course, that doesn’t include the costs of monitoring performance, keyword analysis, and other ancillary parts of a sound content marketing strategy.

Content Marketing Institute provides figures showing a mid-sized business should expect to pay just under $12,000 per month for effective content marketing.

Problems with content marketing

OK, these aren’t problems with content marketing, they’re problems with the way folks are using content marketing — at least the folks responding to this survey.

  1. 44% can’t quantify their ROI from content marketing probably because 53% don’t measure the ROI of content marketing.
  2. 66% said they spend less than $10,000 on content marketing although almost half expect to increase their content marketing spend in 2015.

Both are very serious problems based on the arguments above. Firms are spending too little on content marketing, which likely has a serious impact on their market performance and they’re not measuring their performance, which means they don’t even know if they’re optimizing performance or whether they’re wasting their money.


Take a look at the graphic I created to learn more about findings on content marketing in 2015. Is your firm optimizing your content marketing strategy or do you need help?