At the end of 2015 Contently asked 632 marketers 25 questions about content marketing. The participants were from agencies that identified as B2B (31 per cent), B2C (18 per cent) or both (49 per cent). What did Contently find? For a start, a massive 73 per cent of those marketers had produced more content in 2015 than they had in 2014.  

But the trend for increased production did not necessarily result in quality or profits. Contently reported that among the participants, 46% considered their content as “average or ineffective.”

Now, we know that content marketing works. When done correctly it achieves profitable action and allows companies to reach their audience. So why did so many companies struggle to gain traction with their content in 2015? Is less still more? Or is there another reason these companies aren’t seeing their desired results?

The 80:20 Rule to Marketing

Back in the early 1900’s an Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto, published a paper suggesting a rule of thumb that dictates 20 per cent input will influence 80 per cent of the outcome. His illustration of this was his homeland of Italy. He said 80 per cent of it was owned by 20 per cent of the population.

Although not perfectly accurate, marketers worldwide will agree that only a small portion of your efforts will produce a majority of your engagement. So although your total strategy might consist of blog posts, radio interviews, weekly podcasts, a few slick videos, a yearly magazine and an attractive website, only a small part of that will result in a profitable response.  

Curata illustrated an extension of this idea in 2010 with their Content Marketing Pyramid. It is a perfect portrayal of what impact different content marketing tools have on their audiences. At its base, the tools with the least impact that can be distributed more often are displayed. Those are blog comments and social media responses. As you follow the pyramid up you see tools that are more effective but should be distributed less. At the top are print books, with blog posts, website content and infographics sitting in the middle.


So that might explain the Contently marketing 2015 findings, but what does that mean for your business?

What Does This Mean?

We can conclude that just because you’re producing a larger quantity of content it does not mean you will see a larger ROI. The amount of content as a whole may play only a very small part in its effectiveness. The content marking essentials are still very, well… essential. 

Before going crazy posting blogs, and re-tweeting cat videos, make sure your content ticks these boxes:

Know Your Strategy

For a story to be good it must follow a storyline. At Lush we see the marketing strategy as that storyline, the backbone to each marketing decision, and the purpose to each post. A good strategy will define your organizational goal, segment your audience and determine your key messages.

Know Your Audience

The only value your content has is what your audience gives it. Segmenting your audience and knowing the right acronym that describes them is not enough. You must begin to profile them and understand how best to reach them, what engages them and why they would take notice of your brand.

Know Your Tools

Early in my content marketing journey, a mentor was looking at a blog I had created. He scrolled up and down the clunky template, reading through the self-indulgent articles and told me:

“Your work is only as good as your knowledge”.

A content marketer’s tools are vast. They consist of blog platforms like my bad WordPress blog, white papers, influencer amplification and the great number of social mediums. It is design, color, honesty and authenticity; they can play with SEO, photography, podcasting and video. But the tools are only as effective as how well they are used.

If you would like to build your strategy, understand your audience or discover new tools, talk to the team at Lush, where we love authentic storytelling.