Almost a third of content marketing agencies now have vast experience in the industry and have spent ten or more years offering services to clients, a new study by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) has found.
While brands are now waking up to the true power of content, many agencies have been deploying their craft effectively for more than a decade and covering a “full scope” of services during that time. Meanwhile, just 4% of agencies have started offering content services for the first time during the last year.
A separate report released by We Are Social Media (WeRSM) and Planable last week showed agency teams are considerably better than their in-house counterparts at creating and distributing five pieces of content or more every week. The CMI study suggests the maturity and experience of agencies may be one of the differentiating factors.
Agencies are also widely embracing content, as most respondents said that content-related services now account for at least 50% of their total business. This is due, in part, to the growing demand for high-quality, engaging articles, videos, blogs, infographics and other formats.
Almost two-thirds of agencies with “full scope” content offerings are now serving more clients compared to the same time last year, while an additional 36% have been able to maintain a stable client base during the period. In contrast, just 2% say that they have recorded a decrease in clients.
CMI said that there is now an opportunity for agencies to expand their services even further to incorporate more cutting-edge mediums, such as live experiences and webinars. They also pointed to the fact that 69% of B2C marketers and a similar number of B2B marketers expect to leverage more visual content this year.
“This is the first study CMI has undertaken to learn specifically about the content marketing services agencies offer,” CMI’s Vice President of Marketing, Cathy McPhillips, said in a statement last Thursday.
She added: “The agency landscape is complex, but it’s encouraging to see so many agencies buying into content marketing and the importance of meeting their client’s content needs. However, they do face many challenges, like buy-in, lack of strategy, budget constraints, and ROI concerns when working with clients, proving there is a need for educating clients on the value of content marketing.”
The top-of-the-funnel is still the ballpark for most of the content produced by agencies, with middle-of-the-funnel close behind. However, less than two-thirds are focusing on the loyalty phase, which may be an area where both agencies and clients can work together to set themselves apart from competitors and drive positive actions.
For agencies offering full scope services, “word-of-mouth referrals” are responsible for 72% of new business, making it the most popular non-paid generation source. Agencies that regularly publish a blog or maintain a corporate website also benefit, as this leads to 55% of new business. A few other useful sources include thought leadership (31%), organic search (29%) and LinkedIn (21%).