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The Content Marketing Industry in 2022

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The Content Marketing Industry in 2022


Sponsored by Semrush

The new year is well underway. Marketing directors have laid out their plans, and their content machines are revving back into action. But what new trends might 2022 have in store for our industry?

For Semrush’s annual State of Content Marketing Global Report, we looked at the data, analyzing more than 500k blog posts and 200k tweets, interviewing experts, and surveying more than 1,500 marketing professionals from all across the world.

Ninety-seven percent of respondents say content forms part of their marketing strategy. As we dug into their additional answers and insights, we saw indications of some big changes on the horizon. Below, we look at a few of the highlights from this research and what they might mean for your content marketing initiatives in the upcoming year.

Top survey highlights

Nearly all 1,500 respondents use content as part of their strategy, but a significant number (42%) are just getting started with content marketing. In contrast, only 19% feel they have a mature content marketing system in place. With such a high concentration of content marketing newbies dipping their toes in the water, it’s clear the industry is still experiencing considerable growth.

Here are some additional points we found interesting:

There’s still progress to be made: Of our respondents, 91% said that content marketing was successful to some degree. We analyzed this to mean that content marketing is here to stay, and it’s becoming more effective and sophisticated. However, with only 19% reporting that their content efforts are extremely successful, there is still a long way to go.

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91% of marketing pros surveyed by @Semrush achieved success with their content marketing in 2021. Explore the highlights to find out what worked and what didn’t! Click To Tweet

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Content is heavily concentrated on the early stages of the customer journey: The top three goals marketers pursue with their content are:

  1. Increase brand awareness: 45%
  2. Attract more traffic to our website: 37%
  3. Generate leads: 36%

When it comes to success, 78% of respondents that achieved their goals have a documented content marketing strategy. Compare that to companies that fell short of their aims – 81% percent of them do not have a documented content strategy – and our advice here is clear: Define your goals, write your content plans down, and then activate them!

Other reported factors contributing to success include running content audits, investing in paid promotions, and growing the content team.

Quality matters: Marketers in our survey also say that content quality is the primary driver behind organic ranking success, followed by the volume of content output. The benefits of creating high-quality content hold true for other desirable content marketing outcomes, as well.

Perhaps these are not huge revelations, but they certainly underscore the importance of writing well and providing value to your audience. Of course, creating quality content means more than simply writing good copy. It’s also about considering the informational needs of your customers as you are planning your content initiatives. Ensure that each content piece answers the right questions, creates a good user experience, and provides actionable value.

Insights from content marketing experts

We also spoke to a number of content marketing industry experts who gave us their perspective on what works well, and what’s not working anymore. Here are some of the highlights from these interviews:

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Humanize your content: Henneke Duistermaat, the founder of Enchanting Marketing, says originality is super important if you want to get noticed: Do the same as everyone else and you’ll just camouflage yourself. At the same time, she says that you should weave original stories into your content and treat your output like a personal conversation with your reader. Making your content human-relatable and personally relevant to the people you want to consume it will help you stand out from the competition in 2022.

Follow the buyers: Along the same lines, Kathryn Strachan, owner and managing director at Copy House, emphasizes the importance of creating a human connection through your B2B content, as well. She points out that these customers will want different information at different stages of their buying journey. This means you should map each piece of content to the marketing funnel before you write it to ensure that you’re addressing their most pressing needs and answering the questions they have at that precise time.

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Use creativity to spark a connection: KoMarketing senior director of digital marketing Casie Gillette asserts that telling a story with your content is important across all formats and channels. Like Henneke, Casie says that good storytelling means understanding and connecting with your audience. Her major takeaway is that creativity is key, whether you’re promoting a product, creating an ad, or writing a blog post.

Measure for clicks: Andy Crestodina, co-founder and CMO at Orbit Media Studios, Inc., says ranking isn’t the most important SEO metric to track, it’s clicks and the click-through rates. And once you have people on your page, you need to be memorable and engaging – that’s what will drive brand awareness and long-term success.

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Go heavy on new video formats: Adam Connell, Founder of Blogging Wizard and Startup Bonsai, says that short-form videos are going to stay engaging throughout 2022 and could be an important way to drive growth. He mentions the wealth of video-sharing platforms available, including TikTok, Instagram Reels, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories – as well as Pinterest Idea Pins, YouTube Shorts, and more.

Keep a sharp eye on what’s working: Michael Brenner from Marketing Insider Group says it’s time to focus on content audits. These, he says, will help you discover what already delivers results. Part of this means also looking for opportunities to improve the content you already have in the bank.

Expect opportunities to open up: Liraz Postan, international SEO, speaker, and founder of Liraz Postan LTD, commented on signs that more small businesses are investing in content marketing, which may mean more open positions for talented content marketers in the coming year.

About Semrush

Semrush is a leading online visibility management SaaS platform that enables businesses globally to run search engine optimization, pay-per-click, content, social media, and competitive research campaigns and gets measurable results from online marketing. Semrush offers insights and solutions for companies to build, manage, and measure campaigns across various marketing channels. Semrush, with over 79,000 paying customers, is headquartered in Boston and has offices in Philadelphia, Dallas, Prague, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, and Limassol.





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MARKETING

Closing your team’s technical gap without hiring

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Closing your team's technical gap without hiring

It’s no comfort knowing you’re not the only one having trouble finding tech talent. Demand is high, supply is low. And everyone has teams and projects stuck in limbo.

What would be comforting is a solution. Well, here you go.

I’ve helped many marketing teams close the gap in their technical capabilities without writing a single job description. The reality is you have many more options than you can envision right now. All you need to do is expand your frame.

Expand Your Frame

When making a decision, framing helps you focus on the proper outcomes. The hard part may be setting the frame to the right size. Make it too small and you miss big chunks of the panorama. Too large and you lose the details. 

It’s also a fantastic way to think more strategically. While others are getting up in tactics, e.g., hiring, you can think of the outcome you’re hoping to achieve and determine the fastest way to get there. 


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The frame here is not that you need to hire someone, it’s that you need a certain set of tasks completed. Instead of hiring you should consider two other options: automation, i.e. no-code, and adjusting your team’s priorities. Looked at that way, you may already have all the skills you need.

No-Code & the New Engineers

The rise of no-code software tools is one of the most significant developments in the marketing world. No-code tools are meant to be used by non-technical folks. They have drag-and-drop interfaces and tend to be highly user-friendly. Examples include Zapier, Tray.io, and countless others.

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A huge problem for marketing teams is their technology is too complex. Doing anything significant means getting an engineer. Even sending emails requires technical help. With multiple no-code options in every category, there’s no need for this.

Instead of hiring someone to support marketing automation, find a software solution anyone can use. In practical terms, it means avoiding options like Salesforce, which requires in-house expertise, hundreds of pages of documentation and the proper alignment of the moon to make it work. Other solutions are drastically easier to use, though they may have less functionality. 

I tell my clients to prioritize the ability to connect their tools rather than just their raw capabilities. You may have the best email marketing solution, but it’s not as valuable if you can’t easily export data to a CRM. Be biased towards no-code, and you can avoid hiring.

I recently helped clients connect their Hubspot, Google Sheets, and a website using only no-code tools like Zapier. We were able to get everything done in a matter of weeks with no involvement from their engineers. In addition, the marketing team could send better-targeted emails and measure their performance better. All they needed were the right tools.

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Adjust Your Priorities

Think over how your team spent their time over the past week. Were they working on the highest impact tasks? Unfortunately, there’s a good chance the answer is no. It’s easy to fall prey to “busy work” or get stuck doing jobs that should be automated.

Bill Gates once said there’s no point hiring someone to do an inefficient process. You’re just scaling bad habits. Instead, clean up your processes before adding more bodies. You may discover plenty of time to research software tools and tackle new tasks.

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Read next: Broaden your marketing ops talent perspective

The fastest way to adjust your priorities is to run a time audit of your team. Ask each member to record how they spent their time over an average week. You can then work with them to figure out how to remove tasks from their plates. Low-hanging fruit includes manual input, work that no one sees or failure work—where tasks are redone multiple times. 

After running an audit for one team we found they spent way more time cleaning up data rather than using it. We figured out what was causing the errors and duplication, solving them through formulas and other measures. They were able to shift around 20 hours to other tasks. Many teams have similar hidden opportunities.

Digital-First Means Being Lean

Being digitally savvy isn’t about hiring as many people as possible. Digital channels offer the ability to be lean as you scale. Think of influencers who run channels with millions of views out of their parent’s basement. They have a lean but effective production. Years ago, the Instagram team had less than 100 people before being acquired by Facebook.

As you shift into digital, you have the opportunity to restructure your marketing teams and take advantage of trends like no-code. The first step is to expand your frame. After that, you might see more opportunities.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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About The Author

Ruben Ugarte is the global expert in Decisions, Strategy, and Data and author of the Data Mirage and Bulletproof Decisions. He helps executives at the most innovative medium and large enterprises find their hidden treasures and use them to dramatically boost performance, increase profitability, and make their teams world-class. He has done this across five continents and in three languages. His ideas have helped hundreds of thousands of people make better decisions.

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