Internal requests continue to dictate content marketing output

May 10, 2020 by Aimee0

Marketers are still creating project-focused content in response to requests from internal decision makers rather than the needs of a particular audience or customer journey according to a new study released by the Content Marketing Institute.

While numerous whitepapers and reports have espoused the virtue of managing campaigns centred around the demands of target audiences and key personas, 43% of content creators still admit to creative being dictated by internal staff.

This means content marketing is by and large, acting in service to the wider business and the needs of specific departments rather than attempting to serve up articles, videos and blogs that audiences actually want and need.

CMI noted that this is typical of the “urgent” being given greater value than what’s important for the business in the long term.

Some enterprises are taking the right approach though. 30% of respondents said they have a persona-focused outlook where content is created for a particular audience. However, just 12% say their content is tailored for a specific stage in a customer’s journey or buying cycle.

CMI’s study, titled ‘2020 Content Management and Strategy Survey’ was fielded at the start of the year before the outbreak of the coronavirus.

CMI’s Robert Rose noted that the “disruptive change” forced by COVID-19 will require “fast and intelligent innovation”.

The good news is that 78% of those surveyed said they were already taking a strategic approach to the management of content in January and February this year, and 60% have a documented strategy in place.

For those not taking a strategic approach, a few of the issues that are preventing them from doing so are ‘lack of processes’ (63%), lack of urgency from leadership (57%) and a lack of investment in resources (52%).

Four in ten also blamed ‘organisation culture’ and a third said leadership does not see content as something that requires strategic management.

72% of respondents said their business does view content as core business strategy but the issues listed above have made it more difficult to achieve success.

The business-centric outlook to content is more surprising considering that marketers said the single biggest factor contributing to success is the ability to “understand and connect” with audience paint points, interests and values.

A sizable 50% of respondents said this was a top factor putting it way ahead of clear roles and responsibilities for content creators (25%) and the ability to extract insights from campaigns (10%).

Finally, when planning content, marketers are most likely to consider how best to drive their brand’s value proposition and show empathy to customer needs and interests.

These two values are not incompatible but it can be challenging to closely align the interests of the company with customer’s values when creating content.

Mr Rose said things could look different after the pandemic, especially as 73% of respondents admitted that their company is not making full use of content management tech.

He concluded: “Will that change in a post-COVID-19 world? As the shift to more remote work expands, will we see more collaborative content management and strategy features integrated into classic software suites?”


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