15 Reports Charting the Future of Content Marketing

Office interior with graphs and diagrams - Image.

Office interior with graphs and diagrams - Image.

How can you be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible for the complex and challenging future ahead for content marketing?

Here are 15 insightful reports loaded with B2B data to help you define and chart your optimal content marketing future, and provide the best-answer and trust-building solutions clients expect today.

The reports here, presented in random order, are all excellent sources of information to help you gain a clearer understanding of B2B content marketing, while keeping more than an eye open towards the future as marketers push onward to 2020.
1 — Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study
Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study Image.

The 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn* B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study examines the theme that thought leadership digital content is in high demand, and that it remains hard to find, presenting an opportunity gap.

“Senior decision-makers are willing to pay a premium. B2B buyers are likely to pay more to work with companies who have clearly articulated their vision through thought leadership,” the study notes, pointing to a rising leadership vision trend, as our own CEO Lee Odden has examined in detail in his recent “7 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020.”

[bctt tweet=”“The growth of influence on individual and organizational effectiveness in the B2B marketing world will continue for years to come.”  @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

MarketingProfs’ Ayaz Nanji also digs into some of the Edelman-LinkedIn study’s findings in “What B2B Firms Get Wrong About Thought-Leadership Content.”

Also worth exploring is another fine new report from Edelman, the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: In Brands We Trust?, which Ethan Jakob Craft recently explored for AdAge.
2 — Content Marketing Institute / MarketingProfs B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends
B2B Content Marketing 2019 Image

Agency content marketing statistics and budgeting trends for 2019 are examined in the fascinating and detailed “B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America” report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, which is explored in Lisa Murton Beets’ “2019 B2B Content Marketing Research: It Pays to Put Audience First.”
3 — Chief Marketer 2019 B2B Marketing Outlook Survey
Chief Marketer 2019 B2B Marketing Outlook Survey Image

The Chief Marketer 2019 B2B Marketing Outlook Survey offers a wealth of B2B marketing data to learn from and apply to your own campaign strategies. Whether it’s which marketing channels are performing the best for B2B lead generation and nurturing, the increasing demand for higher-quality B2B content, or data to help increase support from the corporate suite, this report offers helpful insight.
4 — Vidyard: Video in Business Benchmark Report
Vidyard Video in Business Benchmark Report Image

The average length of B2B video has decreased by 33 percent to just over four minutes, while the number of viewers watching the entirety of videos has climbed to 52 percent, up from 2017’s 46 percent — just a few of the detailed statistics of interest to digital marketers contained in the newly-released 2019 Video in Business Benchmark Report from Vidyard.

The report is explored by Chief Marketer in “B2B Video Length Drops, but Engagement Increases,” and additional bonus video insight comes from a separate recent study, with MediaRadar’s “Research Insight: Video Ads Are Getting Longer.”
5 — Cision 2019 Global State of the Media Report
Cision 2019 Global State of the Media Report Image

For 2019, the tenth-annual Cision Global State of the Media Report surveyed some 2,000 journalists to find out what matters the most in the push towards 2020, including insights into social media, trust and distrust in the media, and how big data will inform the future of content marketing.
6 — Shutterstock: State of Content Marketing
Shutterstock: State of Content Marketing Image

A different take on the future of content comes from the Shutterstock: State of Content Marketing report, examining the changing roles of micro-influencers, data privacy and blockchain, micro-moments, social segmentation and personalization, plus other trends to follow.
7 — Mary Meeker 2019 Internet Trends Report
Mary Meeker 2019 Internet Trends Report Image

Since 1995, one of the most anticipated reports containing B2B trend data is the “Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report,” and for 2019 it comes in packing a whopping 333 pages of information.

Mary Meeker is founder of venture capital firm Bond Capital and former Kleiner Perkins general partner, and I recently took a close look at many of the B2B elements contained in her new report in “Key B2B Takeaways From the 2019 Internet Trends Report.”

[bctt tweet=”“Mary Meeker’s 2019 report paints a picture of a world where it’s more challenging than ever to find new growth in certain areas, but one that also shows very real opportunities in others.” @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]
8 — LinkedIn: The Enlightened Tech Buyer: Powering Customer Decisions from Acquisition to Renewal
LinkedIn The Enlightened Tech Buyer Image

LinkedIn’s 2019 global report “The Enlightened Tech Buyer: Powering Customer Decisions from Acquisition to Renewal” includes many insights for B2B marketers, taken from a survey of over 5,200 global professionals with roles centered around adopting new technology solutions.

Our Senior Content Strategist Nick Nelson examines the report in detail in “Top Takeaways from LinkedIn’s New ‘Enlightened Tech Buyer’ Report,” a great way to quickly dig in to how B2B technology brands can market and sell more effectively.

[bctt tweet=”“Effective marketing now goes beyond the scope of traditional functions. Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time.” @NickNelsonMN ” username=”toprank”]
9 — Buffer: 2019 State of Social
Buffer 2019 State of Social Image

Buffer’s detailed 2019 State of Social report offers an in-depth look at what digital marketers are focusing on, along with an examination of many new and ongoing trends, and how the industry is changing.

In conjunction with Social Chain, the newest Buffer report utilizes survey data gathered from over 1,800 marketers at firms of all sizes, and looks at issues such as how businesses are investing in influencer marketing and which social platforms businesses are having the most success with.
10 — Edison Research and Triton Digital: The Social Habit
Edison Research and Triton Digital The Social Habit Image

The latest Edison Research and Triton Digital The Social Habit 2019 study includes many B2B marketing insights, leaning towards the social media side, showing how we’ve entered a new era now that social media usage has remained largely unchanged over the past four years, while Instagram has seen newfound success especially among young Americans.

Jay Baer, Founder of Convince and Convert, takes a look at the study in “Social Media Usage Statistics for 2019 Reveal Surprising Shifts.”
11 — Pew Research Center: Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019
Pew Research Center Mobile Technology Image

How the mobile landscape is changing in 2019 will have an impact on B2B marketers, and the Pew Research Center offers up a selection of related insights in its Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2019 report.
12 — Sprout Social: Sprout Social Index: Edition XV: Empower & Elevate (2019)
Sprout Social Index Image

Sprout Social’s most recent Sprout Social Index: Edition XV: Empower & Elevate (2019) surveyed more than 1,000 social media marketers to find out where their biggest successes are coming from, and where they plan to place their focus moving ahead.

The report shows that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook Messenger, and LinkedIn are the most-used social media platforms among social marketers, and includes data relevant to B2B marketers well worth researching.

Nathan Mendenhall took a look at some of the study results in “8 Social Media Marketing Stats You Shouldn’t Ignore.”

Sprout Social has also recently updated its study of the optimal times for publishing content on various social media platforms.

13 — Hootsuite / We Are Social: Digital 2019 Q2 Global Digital Statshot
Hootsuite / We Are Social Digital 2019 Image

Hootsuite and We Are Social have produced another report filled with helpful information for B2B marketers, with their latest Digital 2019 Q2 Global Digital Statshot. The report utilized numerous sources and offers plenty of insight into where social media marketing currently stands and where it appears likely to be heading.
14 — Pew Research Center: January 2019 Core Trends Survey (2019)
Pew Research Center: January 2019 Core Trends Image

The Pew Research Center has also taken a close look at how U.S. adults are using social media, in its recent “Share of U.S. adults using social media, including Facebook, is mostly unchanged since 2018,” offering additional data to help B2B marketers prepare for the social world of 2020 and beyond.
15 — Social Media Examiner: 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report
Social Media Examiner 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report Image

The final of our 15 reports is Social Media Examiner’s eleventh-annual social media marketing industry report, the 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Company founder Michael Stelzner shares 46 pages of various statistical data pulled in from surveying over 4,800 marketers, and the report offers interpretation on how various aspects of social media are working for marketers today.
Fly High & Implement What You’ve Learned From 15 Reports

via GIPHY

The 15 insightful and data-packed reports we’ve explored here from the Pew Research Center, Edelman, Edison Research, Cision, Shutterstock, Mary Meeker, Buffer, LinkedIn, Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, Chief Marketer, Vidyard, Triton Digital, Sprout Social, Social Media Examiner, Hootsuite, and We Are Social will help you be as prepared and up-to-date as possible for whatever the future of content marketing may hold.

Because it takes considerable time, top skills, and plenty of effort to create best-answer content marketing, it’s often wise to partner with a top-tier marketing agency, such as TopRank Marketing. We’ve had the honor of being named by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in its latest “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.”

*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 15 Reports Charting the Future of Content Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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The Relationship Between SEO and Social: It’s Complicated … and Complementary

Social media marketing and search engine optimization are often viewed as two disparate components of a holistic digital strategy. In some ways, they are distinct, but there is far more convergence and crossover than we’re often led to believe.

I find that looking at one side through the lens of the other invariably helps me better understand the more ambiguous aspects of each. So today I thought I’d share this perspective, with a focus on how these tactical areas can work cohesively to strengthen your brand’s visibility and impact on the web.
Similarities Between Social and Search
Let’s begin by exploring some commonalities between social media networks and social engines.

Both are massively popular internet entry points. Google processes 3.5 billion searches every day. Nearly the same number of people (3.48 billion) are active social media users. That’s roughly half the planet’s population. These numbers, in a nutshell, illustrate why digital marketers everywhere need to account for both search and social. They’re the first places most people go when they hop online.

People use both to answer questions. We all know this is the primary purpose of search engines. Whether users are typing in a literal semantic question, or simply inputting keywords in hopes of finding information, they are trying to find answers and solve problems. Social media doesn’t necessarily present the same direct question-and-answer format, but we usually log on to satisfy some type of curiosity. (What are people talking about right now? What do my friends and connections have to say about recent events? Is this dress white and gold, or black and blue?)

Both are critical brand touchpoints. Two of the easiest ways for any customer to vet a company are by: A) Pulling them up in a Google search, or B) Checking out their social media accounts. It’s pretty easy to tell based on a brand’s search rankings, SERP display, and site structure whether they have a sound digital strategy. The same is true of a quick glance at their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. If it’s difficult to find your company through search or social — or if you give off a poor first impression on either front — that’s an immediate credibility-crusher.
Where Search and Social Can Work Together Strategically
SEO and social media marketing are fundamentally different. There are job titles, and entire companies, dedicated specifically to each. But in an integrated digital marketing strategy, it’s important to recognize where these two facets intersect and complement one another.

#1: Keyword Research and Application

Keywords (and extensions thereof) form the backbone of a best-answer content strategy. The intel derived from these efforts can also be applied to social media marketing. As mentioned above, people use both these channels to answer questions.

With a defined understanding of which search phrases and queries are pertinent to our audiences, we can better align the content we provide. This is true on social as well. When you use the right keywords (and, in this case, hashtags) more frequently in your posts, driving conversations and engagement around them, your brand will be more likely to show up on the feeds of people interested in them.

In either instance, it comes down to the same foundational crux of almost any content strategy: What do your customers want to know, and how can you deliver it?

#2: Social Content Can Show Up in Search

Try entering your company’s name into a Google search. What’s the first result? Hopefully your website’s homepage. The second and third might also be pages from your own domain. But very frequently, the first third-party link will be your LinkedIn Page. (See the SERP for TopRank Marketing below as a typical example.)

LinkedIn* is a particularly impactful platform in this regard; search engines crawl it, so incorporating savvy SEO tactics on your company’s LinkedIn Page can actually benefit your rankings. This hasn’t been quite as true for other networks, which were once almost invisible to Google, but research from HootSuite did find a dramatic increase in the appearance of Facebook and Twitter content in SERPS starting in late 2015:

“Admittedly, the majority of social links within the SERPs appear for branded search terms, but this should not be discounted,” writes Simon Ensor at Search Engine Watch. “If we are in fact looking at marketing as a more holistic practice in the digital age, then we have to ensure that your branded search terms result in high click-through rates from search.”

#3: Social Signals (Indirectly) Affect Search

It’s been a hotly debated topic in the digital marketing world. Google has claimed for years that social signals are not a ranking factor. Yet, HootSuite’s experimentation found that “there appears to be a strong correlation between social activity and rankings.” Another study last year from Searchmetrics reached the same conclusion.

We still don’t have complete clarity around this relationship, which would earn a Facebook status of “It’s complicated.” Although we don’t believe social signals directly impact search rankings, there is definitely a correlation, which is widely attributed to the byproducts of highly successful social content. As Sharon Hurley Hall puts it, “Social media may not be a ranking factor for Google, but it can amplify the ranking factors that Google DOES consider.”

In other words, when a link to your content gains traction on social media, it tends to gain more general prominence: pageviews, backlinks, brand authority, etc. This, in turn, helps the page earn more visibility in the eyes of Google.

The key is simply getting people to click through on those links, which brings us to the final point of convergence.

#4: Compelling Clicks is Crucial

Search engine optimization today isn’t so much about keyword-stuffing; Google is too smart to be gamed by it. The engine’s sole mission is to deliver the most satisfactory results for a given query, meaning it will weigh click-throughs and time on page more heavily than text arrangement. That’s why an irresistible headline and meta description are so vital to SERP success.

This is also at the heart of social media marketing. In a sea of competing ephemeral content, you’ve really gotta stand out to capture someone’s attention and compel a click. (Especially since social media networks, unlike search engines, aren’t all that interested in sending users over to your website, so the algorithms will often work against you for outbound links.)  

If you find a particular angle or message is especially resonant on social platforms (even if just for driving engagement, not clicks), you might consider adopting it for your meta descriptions to see if it improves CTRs, and vice versa.
Social and SEO: Two Keys to the Content Kingdom
These are separate tactical areas of digital marketing, but to treat them as completely independent would be a mistake. At TopRank Marketing, we view SEO and social media marketing as two complementary aspects of a fully integrated content marketing strategy, with numerous functional similarities and intersectional opportunities. Understanding how to maximize both in unison is instrumental to unleashing your brand’s full potential.

Want to learn more about how different tactics can work together harmoniously in today’s digital strategies? Check out our recent post from Caitlin on The Intersection of SEO & Influencer Marketing: What B2B Marketers Need to Know.

* Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client

The post The Relationship Between SEO and Social: It’s Complicated … and Complementary appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Read more: toprankblog.com

Read More

The Relationship Between SEO and Social: It’s Complicated … and Complimentary

Social media marketing and search engine optimization are often viewed as two disparate components of a holistic digital strategy. In some ways, they are distinct, but there is far more convergence and crossover than we’re often led to believe.

I find that looking at one side through the lens of the other invariably helps me better understand the more ambiguous aspects of each. So today I thought I’d share this perspective, with a focus on how these tactical areas can work cohesively to strengthen your brand’s visibility and impact on the web.
Similarities Between Social and Search
Let’s begin by exploring some commonalities between social media networks and social engines.

Both are massively popular internet entry points. Google processes 3.5 billion searches every day. Nearly the same number of people (3.48 billion) are active social media users. That’s roughly half the planet’s population. These numbers, in a nutshell, illustrate why digital marketers everywhere need to account for both search and social. They’re the first places most people go when they hop online.

People use both to answer questions. We all know this is the primary purpose of search engines. Whether users are typing in a literal semantic question, or simply inputting keywords in hopes of finding information, they are trying to find answers and solve problems. Social media doesn’t necessarily present the same direct question-and-answer format, but we usually log on to satisfy some type of curiosity. (What are people talking about right now? What do my friends and connections have to say about recent events? Is this dress white and gold, or black and blue?)

Both are critical brand touchpoints. Two of the easiest ways for any customer to vet a company are by: A) Pulling them up in a Google search, or B) Checking out their social media accounts. It’s pretty easy to tell based on a brand’s search rankings, SERP display, and site structure whether they have a sound digital strategy. The same is true of a quick glance at their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. If it’s difficult to find your company through search or social — or if you give off a poor first impression on either front — that’s an immediate credibility-crusher.
Where Search and Social Can Work Together Strategically
SEO and social media marketing are fundamentally different. There are job titles, and entire companies, dedicated specifically to each. But in an integrated digital marketing strategy, it’s important to recognize where these two facets intersect and complement one another.

#1: Keyword Research and Application

Keywords (and extensions thereof) form the backbone of a best-answer content strategy. The intel derived from these efforts can also be applied to social media marketing. As mentioned above, people use both these channels to answer questions.

With a defined understanding of which search phrases and queries are pertinent to our audiences, we can better align the content we provide. This is true on social as well. When you use the right keywords (and, in this case, hashtags) more frequently in your posts, driving conversations and engagement around them, your brand will be more likely to show up on the feeds of people interested in them.

In either instance, it comes down to the same foundational crux of almost any content strategy: What do your customers want to know, and how can you deliver it?

#2: Social Content Can Show Up in Search

Try entering your company’s name into a Google search. What’s the first result? Hopefully your website’s homepage. The second and third might also be pages from your own domain. But very frequently, the first third-party link will be your LinkedIn Page. (See the SERP for TopRank Marketing below as a typical example.)

LinkedIn* is a particularly impactful platform in this regard; search engines crawl it, so incorporating savvy SEO tactics on your company’s LinkedIn Page can actually benefit your rankings. This hasn’t been quite as true for other networks, which were once almost invisible to Google, but research from HootSuite did find a dramatic increase in the appearance of Facebook and Twitter content in SERPS starting in late 2015:

“Admittedly, the majority of social links within the SERPs appear for branded search terms, but this should not be discounted,” writes Simon Ensor at Search Engine Watch. “If we are in fact looking at marketing as a more holistic practice in the digital age, then we have to ensure that your branded search terms result in high click-through rates from search.”

#3: Social Signals (Indirectly) Affect Search

It’s been a hotly debated topic in the digital marketing world. Google has claimed for years that social signals are not a ranking factor. Yet, HootSuite’s experimentation found that “there appears to be a strong correlation between social activity and rankings.” Another study last year from Searchmetrics reached the same conclusion.

We still don’t have complete clarity around this relationship, which would earn a Facebook status of “It’s complicated.” Although we don’t believe social signals directly impact search rankings, there is definitely a correlation, which is widely attributed to the byproducts of highly successful social content. As Sharon Hurley Hall puts it, “Social media may not be a ranking factor for Google, but it can amplify the ranking factors that Google DOES consider.”

In other words, when a link to your content gains traction on social media, it tends to gain more general prominence: pageviews, backlinks, brand authority, etc. This, in turn, helps the page earn more visibility in the eyes of Google.

The key is simply getting people to click through on those links, which brings us to the final point of convergence.

#4: Compelling Clicks is Crucial

Search engine optimization today isn’t so much about keyword-stuffing; Google is too smart to be gamed by it. The engine’s sole mission is to deliver the most satisfactory results for a given query, meaning it will weigh click-throughs and time on page more heavily than text arrangement. That’s why an irresistible headline and meta description are so vital to SERP success.

This is also at the heart of social media marketing. In a sea of competing ephemeral content, you’ve really gotta stand out to capture someone’s attention and compel a click. (Especially since social media networks, unlike search engines, aren’t all that interested in sending users over to your website, so the algorithms will often work against you for outbound links.)  

If you find a particular angle or message is especially resonant on social platforms (even if just for driving engagement, not clicks), you might consider adopting it for your meta descriptions to see if it improves CTRs, and vice versa.
Social and SEO: Two Keys to the Content Kingdom
These are separate tactical areas of digital marketing, but to treat them as completely independent would be a mistake. At TopRank Marketing, we view SEO and social media marketing as two complementary aspects of a fully integrated content marketing strategy, with numerous functional similarities and intersectional opportunities. Understanding how to maximize both in unison is instrumental to unleashing your brand’s full potential.

Want to learn more about how different tactics can work together harmoniously in today’s digital strategies? Check out our recent post from Caitlin on The Intersection of SEO & Influencer Marketing: What B2B Marketers Need to Know.

* Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client

The post The Relationship Between SEO and Social: It’s Complicated … and Complimentary appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Read more: toprankblog.com

Read More