Content marketing is a fresh approach businesses can explore to capitalize on the way consumers make buying decisions today. 

1. To be effective, documented content marketing strategy is crucial

First, if you have a strategy, be sure to fine-tune it. A documented content marketing strategy is key to effectiveness in every segment. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) states 37 percent of for-profit marketers in Australia have a documented content marketing strategy, compared to 23 percent of North American nonprofit marketers. Search Engine Watch says five major Google algorithm changes that have occurred over 400 days prove an optimized content marketing strategy is key to ranking in organic search and being relevant in the social networks. These include Social Signals, the Panda Updates, introduction of the Google +1 Button, the Freshness Updates and Search Plus Your World.

2. Room to improve: Customer retention and evangelism

Although it's cheaper to keep customers than attract new ones, most segments are using content marketing to increase brand awareness and engagement. But content marketing designed for customer retention and evangelism can pay off. A Harvard Business School study found increasing a customer retention rate by even 5 percent can result in a 25 to 95 percent increase in profits. According to a Manta study, 61 percent of small and medium businesses owe over half their revenue to repeat customers.

3. Tracking content marketing ROI is easier said than done

Most would agree, tracking ROI is a challenge, no matter the segment. Marketo says marketers struggle to justify their investment in content because they don’t think about measurement during content creation, and they aren’t aligned on the metrics that matter to key stakeholders. So, if you have to show ROI from a white paper to a CMO, you should focus on the number of opportunities, pipeline, and revenue, rather than shares or views.

4. B2Bs have used LinkedIn most frequently, while Facebook was preferred by B2Cs and nonprofits

Although LinkedIn continues to be the platform of choice by B2B marketers, B2Cs and nonprofits are sticking with Facebook. According to Contently, Facebook drove only 6.53 percent of all traffic three years ago, but its share of overall traffic has increased by 277.25 percent, despite its user base expanding by only 60 percent over that time period. NewsCred cites data suggesting that in 2016, Facebook will experience the largest percentage share increase in the ages 65+ demographic.

5. Almost half of content marketers publish daily or weekly

Across all segments, between 42 percent and 49 percent of content marketers publish at least weekly. TrackMaven actually explored the best time to publish a blog post, analyzing more than 4,600 blogs and their combined posts for trends in posting schedule and corresponding engagement. Overall, 87 percent of blog posts are published during the workweek. So, with less competition, weekends and leisure hours can offer plenty of time for readers to reflect on the content that resonates with them most.

6. Finding trained content marketing professionals can be difficult 

Bringing skilled professionals on board is a growing concern. CMI's “2015 B2C Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” report finds that 32 percent of B2C marketers are challenged with finding trained content marketing professionals, compared to just 10 percent in 2013. Consider asking for referrals from brands that are producing highly effective content marketing. Another option? Outsourcing content needs to a third-party vendor.

7. Content marketers have plenty to juggle

In recent years, marketing has changed significantly. When presented with a list of more than two dozen initiatives, marketers across all segments said they’re working on an average of 12 to 14 now, and are planning to begin an additional eight to nine in the next year. But beware—in a CMI-Marketing Profs study, 64 percent stated their number one challenge was producing enough content, with 52 percent more focused on producing the kind of content that engages. This suggests marketers place a much higher value on quantity rather than quality.