We’re frequently talking about content marketing and strategies. Adam and Chad wanted to shed some light on the 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report, which was released by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. The report reveals what the top five tactics are for B2B content marketing and the percentage of B2Bs that plan to increase their content marketing budgets in the next year. In this Daily Brown Bag, you’ll learn what B2Bs are doing for content marketing in the U.S., how content creation in 2014 compares to that of 2013, what percent of their marketing budget is spent on content marketing, and more fascinating statistics on content marketing that you’ll want to know and keep in mind for 2015.

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Hello and welcome to The Daily Brown Bag. Today, we're going to be talking about 2015 Benchmarks for Content Marketing. I'm Chad Hill and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Good afternoon, Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag. This is a great topic, content marketing. We talk about it all the time. We talk about strategies. We wrote about content marketing on Search Engine Watch, which was posted recently. But people are always looking for benchmarks, to understand what they are doing right, what they should be doing better, what are other people doing. And that's what we're covering today, Chad. The 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report. This is something that comes to us from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs and this is some great data. Let's get into this.

This is the fifth year they've done this study and they're looking at what B2Bs are doing for content marketing. It's based on an online survey of over 1,800 B2B marketers in North America and that is an outstanding sample size. So this is reliable data. Again the fifth year they've done it, and they did it again this year in July and August, of 2014. So we're covering it today. Here are some of the highlights, Chad. It showed that the majority of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, which is good to hear. Things have come a long way. That's 83% said they did, 14% said they did not have a content marketing strategy, and 3% were just unsure, probably don't know what content marketing is.

Seventy percent of those surveyed said they're creating more content this year in 2014 than they did last year in 2013. So the trend to create more content is still on the climb. Chad, I know we've talked about that quite a bit. I know we've talked about content overload and burnout and how you get that noticed. There's just a whole host of good conversations to have, but the trend continues and that's one of the takeaways that people are creating more. But this is also interesting, 55% plan to increase their content marketing budgets in the next year. So this is not going to stop and B2B marketers spend about 28% of their marketing budgets on content marketing and I know that number is growing as well.

Almost half of those surveyed, 48% said they don't document their content strategy very well, 35% said they do, and it leads me into my question for you, Chad. Which is I know a lot of small businesses in particular struggle with trying to get their arms around the return on investment of their content marketing. What do you have to say about that?

They really do and this survey really is chock-a-block full with some really interesting stats that confirm a lot of the things that we see on a daily basis. But it's good to see the numbers and realize that we're not alone in this process here. But I think as you said, Adam, that 21% said that they can successfully track ROI and this is a lot like that stat we covered a couple of months ago, where we talked about social media. Everyone knew they needed to do it, but a lot of people or very few people, I think it was around half actually knew how to measure it.

The same thing is true here, but the one thing that did come through is that those who do have a documented strategy actually said at a higher rate that they were able to track the ROI. Probably because they've written down what their inputs and outputs, what they're going to be measuring and that's really important. In terms of creating quality content, people said that that really is one of the biggest challenges, 69% said that their top priority is figuring out how to create better content. Adam, again as you said, as the amount of content is increased and more and more people are using content marketing, the bar is higher. It's harder than ever to really create something new and unique.

A lot of other stats here, a couple interesting ones. The top five tactics for B2B content marketing, 92% said they use social media, 83% said that they're using enewsletters, 81% articles on company sites, 80% blogs, 77% in-person events, and then in terms of the most effective tactics. Sixty-nine percent that in-person events were some of the most effective content marketing tactics for them, 64% webinars, webcasts and 60% video blogs. Videos and blogs tied for third. So again, those last three stats are really like what format of content, and again, content can take the form of a blog post or in this case, it can actually be an in-person event that someone is inviting someone to.

So I think the main takeaways from this are that there is a lot of content out there. But the real key here is having a documented process in place is really key, and again as we said, 60% of those who have a documented strategy in place said that their content marketing is highly effective versus 32% who didn't have a strategy said that it was highly effective. So a real big difference there.

Again, this starts with high-quality research, great content, editorial, video, whatever you're doing. Building that editorial calendar and schedule in terms of not only what you're writing, but how you're going to promote it. And then of course at the end, you need to track and measure. I think those are more and more, you really need to track and measure traffic to your website, leads, engagement, some brand awareness. So these are all things that are often really hard to measure and it's no different here with content marketing.

Great. Well, that's our coverage of the 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report for B2B Content Marketing, a survey of over 1,800 B2B marketers in North America done by the Content Marketing Institute earlier this year. We appreciate you joining us. We'd like to hear your comments and your thoughts on the trends and direction you see content marketing going and how are you using it with your small business clients. We always want to hear that, and lastly, we hope you'll subscribe to our videos so that we can see you again real soon.