Kermit typewriter

As any brand analysing their content marketing strategy knows, it can be a challenge locating decent benchmark data to inform decisions on what you should be doing more of, what ought to be binned, and where best you should be investing your money.

Consequently, it was welcome news to hear that marketing data platform Beckon had released a hefty report, based on an in-depth analysis of the performance and spend of hundreds of brands – finally, some juicy, up-to-date data to sink our teeth into!

Star Trek

However, some of the findings were something of a surprise, not least the revelation that, according to the data, many brands are going about this content marketing malarkey all wrong. Beckon discovered that the most popular tactics employed in content marketing are actually those that perform the worst, while those that yielded the best performance results are just not being leveraged by a wide enough audience.

A key issue that Beckon uncovered is that, despite the fact that brands are generating more content than ever before, consumer engagement is not increasing at the same rate. The research revealed that the average number of pieces of content created and posted by brands (on paid and free channels) over the last year, had increased three times over compared to the year before. However, despite this substantial leap, total customer engagement remained flat.

Boring

How flat? Well, considering the fact that the research revealed just 5% of branded content amassed 90% of total customer engagements, we’d say pretty flat indeed. As Beckon summarised in their report, this means that 19 out of 20 content pieces get little to no engagement.

Ouch.

Although Beckon did not extend their research to analyse exactly what it was about this golden 5% that garnered the most engagement, the main theories centred around : a) the quality and b) the reach.

So how do you overcome these hurdles to put your brand in the best position to beat the odds?

Hurdles

Beckon investigated a wide array of brands, some of which controlled the quality of their content with various guidelines and creative reviews, but many more which didn’t. It’s also worth bearing in mind that a lack of content quality control leads to a lack in consistency – engagement might well be down but that isn’t the worst of it. This lack of consistent quality could actually be damaging the perception of your business which will affect your bottom line.

If you’re investing in content marketing, you may as well ensure your content reflects the image your brand wants to portray and, regardless of industry, surely this is an image of consistently high quality that resonates with the consumers it aims to target?

Animal

Of course, no matter how exceptional the content, if nobody gets to see it, it’s not going to garner much engagement. Beckon suggest that some brands’ content creation might be outstripping the budget allocated to make sure that content is seen by the masses. Ensuring your brand puts just as much thought into how it will get its content in front of people as to the content itself is vital in this day and age.

Ultimately, this report provides evidence that content marketers are often focused on the wrong target – that of producing plenty of content at the expense of how well it is performing.

Recommendations generated by Beckon’s research included:

  • Using brand guidelines and a review process to ensure quality control.
  • Switch the focus from quantity to a more outcome-focused target such as one based on engagement, traffic or reach.
  • Measure consumer-initiated brand mentions as well as total brand mentions and focus on boosting those figures.

Of course, if the news that a number of brands have been going about their content creation all wrong has thrown you, why not allocate your content strategy to a professional team who know the business inside-out? Drop M2 Bespoke a line on 01225 720099 to find out what we can do for you.

Ben Hollom

September 28, 2016