I just finished reading this year’s latest marketing survey results over at the Junta42 site. It’s interesting to see the popularity of different marketing content pieces as part of the overall marketing strategy. You can download the report for yourself here.

Social media marketing (with the exception of blogs) is now in the number one spot. 72% of those polled have now incorporated social media into their marketing activities. What I’d be even more curious to know though, is have they seen and improvements? More hits to the website? More inquiries? Even more sales?

The next five things on the list are what I consider to be the new marketing sweet spot. They are the heart of content marketing. When done well, they cover the full spectrum of the AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) marketing concept. Each piece can serve one or more AIDA goals, but the suite should include pieces that cover the complete AIDA spectrum.

From the 2010 Content Marketing Spending Research by Junta42

Each of these content terms mean different things to different marketers. Personally, I’ve seen each term over-used and under developed. Too many times, companies will label the content with a term below and not fully back it up with meaningful content. These are the way I see each piece

  1. E-newsletters – Publish monthly and include product and company news, customer success stories, technical “how-to’s”, and business ideas. Combination of short (100 words or less) and longer (up to 1000 words) articles.
  2. Blogs – Keep topics fresh, at least weekly, and relatively short (less than 500 words)
  3. White Papers – Don’t fall for the short attention span, 2-pager. Do your topic justice by demonstrating a business problem and how it can be solved. Typically 6-10 pages.
  4. Articles – These might be in your own publications or industry publications and are probably best as a deep dive on a topic at between 1000 and 2000 words.
  5. Case Studies – These can be as short as two pages, but make sure you provide concrete information about the customer’s initial challenge, how it was solved, and lessons learned.

Effective marketers take the time to do it right. It’s not an area you want to hand off to your already busy product managers or the new marketing coordinator you just hired. Make sure the topics are well researched, the “story” told is coherent and professional, and that you accomplish your goal of what you want them to think and do after they’ve read it.

Content marketing is not an easy task and not every company has the resources in house to get the job done well. This is probably why the Junta42 survey also shows that smaller companies are spending twice the amount (as a percentage) on content marketing as their larger counterparts. Find yourself a content marketing professional you can trust and start building your content library, making sure you get the marketing assets you need to be successful.