Just like Kermit the frog says, “It’s not easy being green,” every marketer has said, at least once in their career, “It’s not easy being a content marketer.”
I’m not going to go into the reasons why being a content marketer is difficult, as I think you have a pretty good idea. Instead, I’m here to help my fellow content marketers out!
What if there were some incredibly valuable pieces of research out there that could actually make your job as a content marketer easier and could actually help you with your content marketing strategy?
Spoiler alert: there are.
Here are 4 sources of excellent research that every content marketer should bookmark, download, and read at their wedding in lieu of vows.*
*That last option is probably not recommended unless you are also marrying a die-hard content marketer who would think that was incredibly romantic
1. State of Inbound Report
HubSpot does the legwork for content marketers everywhere by spending countless hours surveying, calculating, and compiling reports on the global impact of the inbound methodology, and we really appreciate it. This “State of Inbound” report comes out on an annual basis and always includes data surrounding current industry trends, behaviors, and best practices. Most importantly, it also includes insights on where businesses within the industry are headed in the future.
What does this mean for content marketers and why should they bookmark and download the State of Inbound report every year?
Well, HubSpot is essentially handing you a content marketing playbook. How much easier can they make your job? They did all the work compiling the data and picking out trends for you, and all you need to do is read it and make some decisions on how you can apply it to your own business. After all, if you don’t stay ahead of the trends, you’ll get left behind.
You can download HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound report (which was just released) below:
2. B2B Content Marketing Report
Up next? The Content Marketing Institute also compiles research that marketers would be foolish not to check out.
They put together two reports: one specifically for B2B businesses, and one for B2C businesses. This is actually quite convenient since you don’t want to have to sort through tons of information if it isn’t relevant to your business. Instead, you’ll know that whichever report you’re reading will pertain to your specific interests. Unless, of course, you’re an agency like us and you care about both sides. Then, you can download both!
The reports focus on how “top” organizations (based on marketing performance) are able to achieve this status, and what they are doing to differentiate themselves from others who are also doing content marketing (and might not be doing it so well). It also goes into detail about how these organizations are structuring their content marketing, the channels and methods they are using, and so on.
Hopefully, it can give you some good nuggets that you can put to practice within your own organization. You can find the B2B Content Marketing report here.
3. B2C Content Marketing Report
As mentioned previously, the Content Marketing Institute released another 2017 report similar to the above B2B report. However, it is for B2C organizations specifically and contains data collected from other B2C organizations in the marketplace.
It follows a similar format and focuses on how top-performing B2C organizations are handling their content marketing to consumers and what techniques, internal structure, and channels they are focusing on in order to be effective with their B2C marketing.
Here is where you can find the B2C Content Marketing report.
4. How to Lead and Compete in a Digital Universe
Last, but certainly not least, “How to Lead and Compete in a Digital Universe: Growing Your Business in a Digitally Distracted World” is a necessary read. The title is pretty self-explanatory as to why this is a must-read for content marketers, no?
In true digital marketing fashion, you can download it digitally on your Kindle. But, if you want to keep it old school and mark up the pages with your own takeaways, etc. you can also get it in paperback.
This book teaches business leaders how to lead marketing and sales efforts in a way that resonates with their prospects so they can actually compete for (and win) their business over competitors in a hyper-digital and complex marketplace. Essentially, you can learn the strategies and tactics necessary to take your content marketing strategy to the next level so you can compete with the big boys. Who wouldn’t want that?
You can get your copy on Amazon here.
Where Do Content Marketers Go From Here?
Like I said, being a content marketer isn’t always easy. But, is it worth it? Absolutely.
If you can keep your marketing arsenal full of key pieces of helpful research like the ones listed above, you can spend less time trying to build a successful foundational strategy and more time taking advantage of what others have already figured out. Then, focus on executing it better than they do.
The way that we are doing business has changed. Companies can rise to the challenge and meet consumers where they are. How? Start by checking out each of the pieces listed above.
If you're looking for some additional helpful resources to check out, we also wrote a blog on the 6 best content marketing blogs on the internet.
So, what are you waiting for? Time to get started.