By now, you know all about content marketing. You may have even heard of content shock, too. So which is it? Is content marketing a necessary part of digital marketing success? Or is there too much content already out there for anything new to be worthwhile?

For brands and businesses, the answer is a little bit of both. Content is, and always will be, the lifeblood of digital marketing. Whether it’s blog posts or videos, content plays an integral role in the building of a digital reputation. And make no mistake: brands need to be active in the digital space to achieve in 2016 and beyond.

But it’s also true that the digital realm is overrun with content. The problem is that the more content there is, the harder it is to find something valuable and relevant. It’s no wonder brands get confused about the best way to approach content marketing!

To help you on your journey, we created an infographic with some useful stats and trends that shed light on How to Gain a Content Marketing Advantage:

infographic_01 Image

Here’s the thing, the components of the best examples of content marketing are always changing. What worked best in 2012 wasn’t top-notch in 2014. And last year’s prime content won’t win you any awards this year.

But you know what? Where there’s a will there’s a way. If you want to create content that helps you leapfrog ahead of your competitors, you can find a way. It won’t be easy and you likely won’t do it on your first try, but it’s possible.

april2016infographic_02

As Aristotle said, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” While he may not have been directly addressing the digital marketing needs of brands like yours in the 21st century, the man certainly had a point. Content marketing is more than taking pen to paper (or keyboard to screen in our case). It takes dedication. Those 60% of marketers who create content on the daily recognize that content isn’t just about talking the talk; they’re walking the walk.

So remember: worthwhile content creation is more than just talking or writing about how great you are; it’s about proving it. Every. Single. Day. Producing regular and consistent content doesn’t just showcase your industry prowess, it also reflects the same characteristics within your brand, like authority and reliability.

april2016infographic_03

Staring at web data might not be the most inspiring of activities. But truth be told, there’s heaps of value in those numbers. Those stats, though at times overwhelming, uncover anything and everything you need to know in order to produce the best kinds of content for precisely the right audience in the perfect online channels.

So if you’re one of the 43% of marketers who don’t consider online metrics a top priority, take note: ignoring the plethora of numbers at your disposal means you might as well be operating in the dark. Those numbers are your gateway to gaining an edge on your local competitors. There’s no time like the present to sit back, start measuring, and unearth new opportunities that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

april2016infographic_04

For several years now, marketers across the globe have recognized that content is king. Needless to say, it was a little surprising to find out that only a measly 44% of content marketers actually document their content strategies!

A documented plan of action proves you mean business. After all, your content strategy isn’t some fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of plan, right? It’s a strategy of precision. It’s methodical. It’s meant to produce the highest ROI as possible. A content strategy document equips your entire team with decisive steps and goals needed to keep you on track while also staying accountable to your customers.

What we’re trying to say here is, until it’s documented, it’s not a strategy. It’s just a great idea that you may or may not be focusing on.

april2016infographic_05

When people think of content, blog posts are usually the first format that jumps to mind. And there’s no denying that blogs and articles are the content types that made content marketing the darling of the digital world.

But there are many forms of content, and with each passing year, more seem to sprout up.

Visual content, like infographics and videos, are perhaps the current go-to formats for most content marketers. With apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine, social media content has gained steam as well. Technology has created many new content forms, and marketers are so skilled it doesn’t take them long to master these new apps and platforms.

But what if I told you the biggest areas of opportunity in content marketing were the ones you had to dig for? Like speaking at a conference, for example? Yes, giving a talk or a presentation is definitely content marketing!

And since 74% of people suffer from a fear of public speaking, the vast majority of businesses are completely ignoring this format. To content marketers who are worried about content shock, or are just looking for guaranteed ways to get their content noticed, speaking in public is the perfect opportunity.

april2016infographic_06

If you’re worried about content shock, pay close attention to this point. We came across a stat that found unique site traffic is 7.8x higher for content marketing leaders compared to followers.

If you could produce content that garnered 8 times more traffic than the content of your competitors, well then you’d be able to laugh at any mention of content shock. And yet that’s exactly what “content marketing leaders” are doing.

Okay, so what’s a content marketing leader? In short, it’s a content marketer who is cutting their own way through the digital marketing jungle. There’s an existing path through the jungle, but the content marketing leader wants adventure. And for this adventure they are often greatly rewarded.

————————————————–

It’s part of the graphic but it deserves to be repeated: if you want to gain an advantage – in anything – the key is to go where others won’t! So Godspeed my digital marketing friends, and good luck on your journey to where no content marketers have gone before!

 

april2016infographic_howtogainacontentmarketingadvantage_blog

About Cheryl Baldwin

Cheryl Baldwin, Director of Marketing Communications at WSI, oversees WSI’s Marketing Department. She’s an integral part of the WSI’s global brand presence and corporate identity.