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Semrush Study: Content Marketing: Numbers and Facts for 2020

How is content marketing implemented and designed in today's companies?

Establishing best practices is an attractive, but rather long-term goal. If you know how content marketing works in other companies, you can immediately identify and fix weak points in your own processes.

To find out what the average content marketing team looks like and works, we have more than 1,200 marketing specialists in 39 countries questioned. Our goal was to get a comprehensive picture of today's approaches to content marketing in organizational and strategic terms.

We hope that these current facts and figures will help you to find gaps in your content strategy, to identify the weaknesses in your content during the content audit and to develop new ideas.

Bonus: we have 17,000 job advertisements for jobs in content marketing evaluated from different countries to find out which skills are most in demand among content marketing specialists.

In this overview we address the following topics:

*** These analyzes are part of the Global State of Content Marketing 2019 report. The report is intended to help content marketing specialists worldwide to better understand the industry and to use relevant conclusions to increase the accuracy of their strategies. ***

Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is unthinkable without a content strategy. With the first part of our survey, we therefore wanted to find out to what extent marketers use content marketing and plan their measures strategically. While most companies follow a strategy, some aren't sure that this will show up in results.

While 77% of respondents state that their company is pursuing a content marketing strategy, only 9% of these specialists rate their strategy as excellent. 38% rate their company's strategy as average.

Tactics and metrics

By properly measuring the impact of your actions, you can optimally adapt to the market, generate profits and ultimately scale success. Therefore, in the second part of this study, we will address the question of which success metrics and tactics today's marketers use in content marketing.

The result: the content success is most often determined by organic traffic (76%), the number of leads generated (62%), the number of sessions / page views generated (60%) and the conversion rate achieved (47%). measured.

And what measures do content marketers take to improve the performance of their content? According to our survey, SEO (67%) and updating or re-using existing content (51%) are the most effective methods. Surprisingly, only 11% consider user-generated content to be a worthwhile tactic. The content gap analysis plays an important role here!

Goals and budget

Of course, it depends entirely on the goals pursued which success metrics make sense. In this part of the study, we wanted to find out what goals the companies had set for themselves with their content marketing for 2019, how much they invested in their measures and how optimistic their budget plans for 2020 are.

The most common goals for marketers were more quality leads (75%), more website traffic (71%), improved brand reputation (56%), and better customer loyalty (45%). Only 17% of those surveyed want to increase the number of payments through content marketing.

We found that most companies were spending up to $ 10,000 in 2019 to meet their content marketing goals. In 2020, more than 62% of those surveyed want to increase their budgets in order to achieve greater success: 9% significantly, 23% moderate and 30% slightly.

Content marketing teams

A content marketing strategy can only be as good as the people who implement it. That's why we next looked at the composition of the content marketing teams in the companies surveyed. We were particularly interested in the team sizes and the composition of the teams made up of different specialists.

Most respondents (78%) said their company had a small marketing team of up to three people. This team usually included a copywriter (52%), a social media manager (36%) and an SEO specialist (34%). A common response from “other” was that a single marketing specialist would do all of the work.

Technologies and challenges

Valuable studies on challenges in content marketing are available online. In this part of the survey, we focus on the key challenges and the technologies marketers are using to address them.

The biggest challenges faced by our respondents include creating content that generates high quality leads (54%), attracts more visitors (52%), and resonates with the target audience (45%).

To achieve these goals, 85% of respondents rely on website analytics tools (85%), SEO tools (73%), social media posting (67%) and email marketing software (57%) %). It is noteworthy that only 9% of those surveyed use an integrated content marketing platform.

Content creation and distribution

Next, we wanted to know what types of content are being used the most, and how marketers are distributing these different types of content.

Only 28% of respondents say they produce video content. The most used form is still text content. The predominant text forms in our survey are blog articles (86%), emails (67%), case studies (42%) and success stories (36%). Only 19% of those questioned have made their own original studies.

To convey this content to the target groups, marketers most often use the social media (94%) and email (76%) channels.

Content creation outsourcing

78% of the respondents state that their content marketing team only consists of up to three specialists. Therefore, this part of the study deals with the question of how often companies outsource content production and which tasks this affects.

First of all, it is worth mentioning that 60% of those surveyed do not outsource content creation at all and often manage this on their own with content creation tools. For the others, there is a need for outsourcing mainly for copywriting (53%). But visual content is also frequently purchased: in particular graphic design (34%) as well as video design and animation (32%).

The most important skills in content marketing

Successful content marketing requires a wide range of skills. Depending on the brand, everything from storytelling to analytics and design to programming can be in demand.

The SEMrush Academy team evaluated more than 17,000 job descriptions for content marketing jobs published on Monster and Indeed (two major job search websites) worldwide between April and September 2019.

The 10 most important skills in content marketing

First, we wanted to find out what kind of expertise and professional skills content marketing teams expect from applicants.

The evaluation of 17,000 job descriptions showed that a qualified candidate in content marketing should have a wide range of knowledge and skills. Marketing (81%), social media (50%) and SEO (38%) lead the way. Other skills required to complete the picture of a typical industry workflow are research (37%) and editing (25%).

Some employers also raised a need for expertise on specific programs and platforms, e.g. B. Adobe products (12%), Microsoft Office (4%), SEMrush (2%) and Drupal (1%).

The most important soft skills in content marketing

Expertise is crucial, but often those candidates are also offered a job that fits best into the company culture. That's why we also examined the soft skills that are required in content marketing jobs.

The survey showed that leadership (21%), adherence to deadlines (16%) and written communication (8%) are the most important soft skills for an optimally qualified content marketing specialist.

Study methodology

We surveyed more than 1,200 people from 39 countries who work in digital marketing agencies, nonprofits, and other companies to learn more about the role and strategies of content marketing in their work.

The main results of the survey

There is a need for improvement in the strategy: In general, companies know how useful content marketing can be (91% of respondents use it), but not all are able to do it successfully. Only 9% are fully satisfied with their strategy, 38% rate their strategy as average.

The budgets are growing: Most companies invested up to $ 10,000 in content marketing in 2019. This is likely to be related to the fact that the majority of those questioned are employed in small and medium-sized companies. Still, more than 62% of them plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2020 to scale their achievements.

Content teams are small, some have to outsource tasks: The vast majority of content marketers (78%) work in teams of up to three people, consisting primarily of copywriters (52%), SMM managers (36%) and SEO content managers (34%). Due to a lack of resources, 40% of the teams have to outsource content creation, while the business need for content marketing measures grows.

Content marketing focuses on organic traffic: The most important metric for content success is organic traffic for 76% of respondents. 67% named SEO as the most effective tactic their companies used in 2019. In order to achieve a better placement of their content, many marketers rely on updates. This is seen as the second most effective tactic (51%).

Marketers hope for more high-quality leads through content: 75% of respondents cite the generation of high-quality leads as a primary goal of content marketing. For 54% of them, this is also the greatest challenge. In line with this, leads emerged as the second most important metric for measuring content success (62%).

Visual content is in demand: The production of videos and other visual content is one of the most efficient tactics in content marketing, according to 37% of the respondents. Infographics are the third most popular content format that marketers produce (45%). However, creating visual content requires resources. 30% of content teams have a designer, 34% outsource graphic design (34%) and video design (32%).

Blog articles remain the most popular content format: While video is a major trend in content marketing, blog articles remain the most widely used type of content. They are produced by 86% of those surveyed.

Content is primarily distributed via social media: The overwhelming majority of our respondents (94%) say they distribute content through social media. No wonder that 50% of the job descriptions analyzed require knowledge of social media marketing - the second most frequently mentioned requirement. 36% of the respondents state that a social media manager takes care of the dissemination of the content in their teams.

Conclusion: Put your content strategy on the basis of data

We hope to be able to help many content marketing experts with our data to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their work. If you're interested in more data-driven insights to fine-tune your content strategy, here are our latest research on the subject:

And here you will find the full status report Content Marketing 2019/2020.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on these results. Do the numbers match your content marketing experience? Let us know in the comments what surprises you the most!