By Cathy McPhillips published February 26, 2020 Est Read Time: 3 min

Most Agencies Bet on This Distribution Model [New Research]

Agencies buy into content marketing in a big way for their clients. But how do they use content marketing to promote their own businesses?

We sliced the data from our 2020 annual content marketing research to look at the 230 for-profit agency respondents. This group is directly involved in the content marketing for their agency promotion and has used content marketing for at least a year. (The 2020 research is based on surveys conducted in June and July 2019.)

One difference stands out – even jumps out – from when we first studied this segment for the 2019 research. A whopping 76% reported using paid channels to distribute content to market their firm in the previous 12 months. The previous year, only 59% reported using paid content distribution to market their business.

76% of agencies use paid content distribution channels to market their firms compared to 59% last year via @CMIContent. #research #agency Click To Tweet

That’s a 17-point increase in just one year. And it’s more evidence of the skyrocketing rent Joe Pulizzi warned all content marketers about years ago.

Let’s dig into that number and other highlights of the study of what agencies do for their own content marketing. It’s also summarized in the infographic below.

Who gets those paid content distribution dollars?

Paid social media advertising is the top paid distribution method agencies use by far (83%).

Of this group, the top two channels are Facebook (82%) and LinkedIn (58%). Over one-third (38%) of the agencies that use more than one paid social channel say LinkedIn generates the best results followed by Facebook.

Which owned channels do they use?

Almost every agency (91%) in the survey uses social media for organic content distribution. And agencies aren’t ignoring their owned channels: 86% use their company website/blog and 78% use email. And 61% take the opportunity to speak at or attend events to market their business.

Do they outsource their agency content marketing?

We know brand marketers often turn to agencies for help with content marketing. We wondered whether agencies look for outside help when they’re marketing their firms. As it turns out, most don’t. Only 33% of agency marketers say they outsource any content marketing activity. Of those who do, most (71%) outsource content creation.

Only one-third of agencies outsource any part of their firm’s #contentmarketing via @CMIContent. #research #agency Click To Tweet

Of all the verticals we examined in our annual content marketing survey, agencies were the least likely to say they outsource. For example, 64% of manufacturing marketers and 70% of enterprise marketers (1,000+ employees) outsource at least one content marketing function.

Where will they focus in 2020?

We asked agency respondents which three content marketing activities they thought their organization would prioritize in 2020 when marketing their own businesses. The most frequent answer: Focus on content quality/quantity (50%), followed by improving content distribution/promotion (47%), and improving the quality/conversion of their audiences (46%).

Half of agencies prioritize #content quality/content in 2020 for their own #contentmarketing via @CMIContent. #research Click To Tweet

Dive into the infographic for more insights, then browse the rest of our research studies to learn more about how agencies and brands are investing in and using content marketing.

Agencies and brands can do more with their content marketing dollars after expanding their skills at Content Marketing World this October. Join us and register today.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Cathy McPhillips

Cathy is the vice president of marketing at the Content Marketing Institute, leading marketing efforts for CMI, Content Marketing World, ContentTECH Summit, CMI University, CCO magazine, and other CMI properties. She works hard to get you to CMI events - online and off - and gets extra excited for opportunities to meet #CMWorld community members in person! Cathy is also a board member for The Orange Effect Foundation. You can follow her on Twitter @cmcphillips.

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