According to a new survey by the Custom Content Council and ContentWise, brand content (aka brand journalism, sponsored editorial or thought leadership content) is getting a bigger slice of the marketing pie: a 13 percent increase, or $1,640,107 in spending for the last two years. As more organizations jump onto the content marketing bandwagon, let’s hope the standards don’t slip.
Top Four Reasons for Using Branded Content
Respondents’ primary reasons for using branded content are: (1) educating customers, (2) boosting brand loyalty, (3) up-selling and (4) retaining customers. Again, No.3 won’t work in a vacuum—you can’t simply upsell when you need a sales boost; you need to work the up-sell efforts in smartly while you’re educating, engaging and retaining your customers all year long on a consistent and non-intrusive basis.
Need for Outsourcing
Four out of five marketers (79%) say their companies are moving into branded content either at a moderate or aggressive pace, but they can’t do it alone. More than half of respondents (52%) say they outsourced some portion of at least one type of branded content creation in 2012. Researchers say more outsourcing dollars than ever are being spent on external agencies such as custom publishers, PR/social media firms, design firms, ad agencies, and interactive agencies handling aspects of branded content. More than half of brands (56%) now outsource, and of those, the average annual spend is $987,417, an increase of 46.6 percent from a year ago.
Importance of integration
According to researchers, three in four brands build content for print and repurpose that content for social media and the brand’s parent website. The multi-channel nature of content marketing is driving an average brand to investment over $1.7 million annually, up 5.1 percent increase from a year ago.
Our Take: As more and more B2B marketers search for ways to cut through the clutter and bypass banner blindness, the need for high value content will reach a new level. Fortunately, most journalists, analysts, researchers and academics we know will resist the temptation to sell out to the highest bidder for the services. A few organizations will look to save a few bucks by aggregating, scraping and video clipping whatever they can get their hands on in the public domain—or turn to low-cost vendors who provide those services. That approach will come back to bite them (hard) in the long run.
If you outsource, stick to your guns and hire only proven service providers who have true subject matter experts creating expert content for them.
With six hours to go in calendar year 2012, we’re still on a fiscal cliff hanger and not likely to be rescued.
Most likely it will be a series of stop gap measures. Government will continue to find ways to spend money irresponsibly and legislators won’t be fired or laid off if they fail to come up with a deal by the stroke of midnight tonight. Regardless of income level, we’ll all be feeling a pinch in one way or the other, but for most Americans (individuals and businesses) there will be gradual pinches over months and even years, irritating yes, but not painful bites that could knock us on our butts in one fell swoop.
So let’s tough it out and look at two very important positives that came out late last week
1) U.S. ad spending should rise by at least 5 percent (eMarketer, Veronis Suhler, Media Post and others agree)
We can’t do much about the waste in Washington, but consumers and businesses have been on a three-to-five year waste reduction program and the fruits of those labors will slowly but surely pay off in the months and years ahead. Onward and upward in 2013—the year of thought leadership (aka the Year of “I Told You So.”).