By Joe Pulizzi published December 9, 2015

UK Marketers Need to Get Back to Basics [New Research]

UK-2016-content-marketing-cover

When it comes to content marketing, UK marketers are doing more:

  • Sixty-six percent of marketers say they expect their organization’s content marketing budget to increase in the next 12 months.
  • Eighty-eight percent say they will produce more content in 2016 than they did in 2015.
  • They are using more tactics in general (13 this year, compared to 12 last year), and usage of most tactics has increased year-over-year.
  • Their usage of the top social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Google Plus) has increased.

66% UK marketers expect their organization’s #contentmarketing budget to increase in the next 12/mo Click To Tweet

However, their effectiveness has dipped substantially from last year: 34% consider their organizations to be effective at content marketing this year, compared to 42% last year.

What is going on? Are UK marketers doing too much? Is it time for them to step back, get focused, and consider whether they have a strong foundation for meeting their content marketing goals?

That’s what our research team wondered as we pored over the data from our annual content marketing survey, reported today in Content Marketing in the UK 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, sponsored by Lionbridge.

Below is our analysis of this year’s results with some suggestions on what improvements UK marketers can make.

Wait … where’s the strategy? Where’s the mission statement?

One reason for the lack of effectiveness could be the lack of a road map. Only 37% have a documented content marketing strategy (versus 36% last year) and even fewer (32%) have a documented editorial mission statement.

UK-marketers-content-marketing-strategy

What UK marketers should do: Documenting the content marketing strategy and editorial mission statement are key differentiators between effective marketers and their less effective peers that we consistently see across all of our research. Without a stated plan – that can be shared across the entire team – it simply does not make sense to spend and produce more content.

Missed opportunities to build an audience?

Furthermore, while nearly three out of four UK marketers ask their audience to subscribe to an e-newsletter – and around half ask their audience to subscribe to a blog – the content offers pretty much stop there.

2016_UK_Research_Cover3

What UK marketers should do: I can’t stress how important it is for UK marketers to use content to build an audience, as this not only helps you get data around your prospects and customers so you can better serve them, but it also opens up opportunities for monetization. Remember: Building subscribers is different than generating leads. While there are several ways to get subscribers (video, print, podcasts, followers via social channels), email subscribers are often the best approach, as you have the most control over them.

email-subscribers

Are you just creating content?

It wasn’t that surprising to us that UK marketers said producing engaging content was their biggest content marketing challenge and the biggest priority for their internal content creators over the next year. Producing engaging content is a perennial challenge for all content marketers, no matter where they’re based.

What was interesting is that the UK marketers who said their firms are most effective at content marketing said measuring content effectiveness is their biggest challenge (rather than creating engaging content). This group’s top priority? Developing a better understanding of what content is effective – and what isn’t.

What UK marketers should do: The most effective UK marketers have it right: Figuring out what’s working is exactly what you should do. Not only do you want to be able to double down on what’s working, but you also want to assess your efforts to decide what not to do. Stopping less effective activities is truly essential if you want to have time to focus on what works.

Conclusion

Make no mistake: Content marketing is alive and healthy in the United Kingdom. By doing some foundational work and making a few course adjustments, many firms will find themselves taking their content marketing to the next level in 2016. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you. If you’re highly effective at content marketing, tell us why. If you have room to improve, let us know what adjustments you’re planning to make. What help do you need?

To read all the results from the UK marketing research, download  Content Marketing in the UK 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends produced by Content Marketing Institute and sponsored by Lionbridge.

To learn more about how to improve your content marketing, subscribe to CMI’s blog posts.

Cover image by Lisa Lehman/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute , Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the new book, Content Inc. Check out Joe's two podcasts. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • http://www.theidgroup.co.uk/ Mark Masters

    Always a fascinating snapshot of where we are and where we are heading over here in the UK.

    My whole take on this is that we are still chasing the lowest common denominator.

    Lets figure out how to create more (rather than understand our audience better as our top priority), lets still collect numbers (website traffic still the most important measurement metric) and be everywhere (average of 13 tactics used).

    The content we create that is present on the channels that we are part of has to be intended to make a difference, rather than pamper to a companies own self worth (and how many visits we are getting).

    It is what we do that matters, not purely what is said within the confines of a website (or on a social channel).

    It is this role of participation and presence that makes the content discipline such a fascinating area of study and more importantly work for the businesses that we are part of.

    Thanks for bringing to the attention how the content approach is continuing to develop and how things are shaping across The Atlantic.

  • Connugy

    Who’s to say there isn’t strategy?

    There are a lot of loaded questions here which you’re presuming there’s no answer for. Where’s the 32% / 42% figures from??

  • Connugy

    Also – authoritative content spans the complete (b2b at least) customer buying phase…. so how can you quantify “effectiveness” in numbers??

    Doesn’t make sense.

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Hi there…we asked the marketers on both questions. We asked “do you have a documented content marketing strategy? and they answered us. Same with effectiveness – different variations are if they are hitting their business goals. Does that help?