How Should Benchmarks Fit into Your Content Marketing Strategy?
As digital marketers, and particularly as content marketers, benchmarks are a necessary strategic tool. There are two main reasons why this is the case. Without knowing what people and organizations have been capable of achieving before you, there’s really no way to detect if the work you’re doing is on the mark. For example, take the question of whether social media marketing should be a priority or a ‘nice to have’. By getting information on what others have done in similar industries, you’ll get ideas on what might work for your company.
The second reason for keeping up with industry benchmarks is to see - once you have put time into marketing efforts – what to expect for results. Ideally one is looking for marketing benchmarks BEFORE you do your marketing plans – however if you’ve dropped the ball on that – benchmarks can still be useful after marketing campaigns are over. Explanations of why something has done well or has bombed are much more credible when you can quote statistics.
For the purposes of this article I am going to focus on content marketing benchmarks, but the same ideas above are true for any sort of endeavor. Benchmark statistics in business are a great foundation on which to grow innovation, because when others have answered crucial questions before you, there’s no need to waste time on reinventing the wheel.
Content marketing benchmarks are difficult to find. You might think that they would be bountiful, as the world’s been doing “content marketing” for a while. But in fact, most marketers have not been able to measure their content marketing effectively, even multimillion dollar corporations. 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing, but only eight percent of marketers consider themselves “very successful” or “extremely successful” at tracking content marketing ROI. With these statistics in mind it’s not surprising that there aren’t a lot of examples out there.
Marketing agencies often have some great benchmarking stats, but unfortunately those statistics are often based on campaigns that market to marketers - who are a completely different type of consumer than say a CIO of a tech company or a CEO of a logistics firm.
What I have done for my own content and social media marketing campaigns is to piece together benchmarks – all related to content marketing - to try to get a good idea of what my goals and expectations should be, and what sort of marketing mix I should use. These benchmarks have helped me innovate and create some very successful content marketing and engagement over the past couple of years. They can be applied to any sort of B2B content marketing, from software to product sponsorships.
How long should my blog posts be? Depending on the topic of course 2500 words is recommended. No complex analysis needed here. If it’s relevant, people will read it – even 3500 words if those words are necessary and relevant. And my own experience backs up SerpIQ’s data.
When someone comes to my blog, should I expect them to behave the same way as when they come to my ecommerce site? Definitely not, the average bounce rates for blogs are – 70-98%. (Hubspot explains)
What channels should my site traffic be coming from? Check out these B2B Traffic sources (note this is for B2B websites, not blogs) (Hubspot)
How many visitors should I expect to my B2B blog? You can get an idea of how many site visitors to expect from Network Intellect (these stats aren’t for blogs unfortunately, and they’re based on fairly small companies):
B2B companies with
11-25 employees should generate approximately 270 visitors per week (1080 per month)
26-50 - 510 visitors per week
51-200 - 710 visitors per week
Over 200 employees - 1650 visitors per week
How many people should I expect to convert at my site? Marketing Sherpa has a great chart showing average website conversions rates per industry. (Note this is for B2B websites, NOT content/Blogs.)
How many people should I expect to convert from my company’s blog? In-content links pointing to a signup page convert at about 1%-2%. This does not mean 1-2% of people will buy, it means 1-2% of people will click and sign up for - typically – an email list or whatever you have on offer. Here are more specific stats at Grow and Convert.
How are my competitors doing with their digital marketing and website traffic? You can type in any competitor and check out their stats here: https://www.similarweb.com/
Note: While some B2B companies have their blog as a section of their site, others have them as a completely separate site. So one needs to take that factor into consideration when using these stats.