8 Scary Stats for Content Marketers—and What You Can Do About Them

By Herbert Lui April 10th, 2014

What if you realized 30 percent of your content was never read—not even once?

Imagine all of the resources spent—and wasted—developing that content. There’s no doubt that we’re in the dawn of a new content marketing era. But while we’re creating content as fast as our fingers can type, we need to be mindful of what’s actually working and attracting eyeballs.

With that in mind, here are 10 content marketing stats that might make you rethink your strategy.

1. Thirty percent of Microsoft’s content had never been visited. And they wouldn’t have known until a content strategist conducted an audit.

Gerry McGovern discovered that 3 million of a total 10 million pieces of Microsoft’s content were going completely unread—that’s one piece of content for every resident of a small country.

This enabled the Microsoft team to start phasing out the irrelevant content. It also allowed them to determine the tasks most users were looking to complete when they came to Microsoft for help. When developing your content strategy and creating content, it’s crucial to figure our what your audience actually wants. And conduct a content audit of your own—at least an informal one.

2. According to Sirius Decisions, 60–70 percent of B2B content created goes unused.

While B2C companies naturally have an advantage in the attention economy, since their topics are more appealing to mass audiences, B2B companies sometimes struggle with spreading less sexy messages. And judging by this stat, they’re struggling with even trying to spread that content at all.

According to the Sirius study, the main culprit seems to be creating content without strategy or purpose. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said their content process was still in “the Dark Ages.”

3. According to Contents Magazine, 65 percent of 800 respondents say web content is “hit or miss” or “unreliable.”

Consistency is crucial. While viral hits can spike pageviews, it’s more important to publish at a regular pace to build an audience. Make sure your information is accurate and backed by reporting, data, and narrative anecdotes that establish your credibility and satiate your readers’ cravings.

4. According to Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, 97 percent of news errors remain uncorrected. (Imagine how that number would look for content marketing.)

If evergreen content is part of your content strategy, you’ll want these articles to be flawless. Tweak the diction to match your community’s vernacular. Update the piece with new statistics. But most importantly, fix any mistakes. We’re all human (despite what some people say about marketers), and mistakes happen. But be diligent about fixing them.

5. A notable one-third of B2B marketers did not bother tracking where their leads came from. B2Bs need to do a better job evaluating where and how they find and pursue their most valuable leads.

It seems obvious, but it’s incredibly important to determine which pieces of content are generating the greatest return on investment. The difficulty in setting up such a robust system can make a lot of digital marketers and strategists shudder, but it’s crucial to take this head-on.

The sooner you track your data, the quicker you can adapt to the behavior of your clients and audience members.

6. According to Gerry McGovern, one of the largest websites in the world had 25 percent of visitors come to its homepage in 2005, but only 10 percent in 2010.

People are increasingly coming to content from social shares. Every page needs to be as sticky as the homepage used to be; discovery widgets like Contextly can help a lot. Publishers such as Mashable and Quartz are also making every page a homepage through infinite scroll technology.

7. “In one city council website I dealt with recently, out of 22,000 pages on the site, 200 were getting 80 percent of the demand from citizens,” writes Gerry McGovern. “This is quite common. It is probably safe to say that 1 percent of government information has the potential to deliver 80 percent of the value.”

Certain pieces will naturally resonate more with readers. In the government’s case, less than 1 percent of these pages were getting 80 percent of the pageviews. Determine what your 1 percent is that delivers the bulk of the value to readers: See what these pieces have in common, and develop content with similar attributes.

8. Thirty-eight percent of Slate readers leave the page without scrolling at all.

First off, congratulations on making it to the end of this article, because according to Slate, a growing number of people who read articles online don’t make it to the end.

A well-written headline increases the overall number of readers who click through, but not the percentage of readers who stay. Follow through with your idea, create content that is consistent throughout, and make sure that your work doesn’t end up as another scary content marketing statistic.

Contently arms brands with the tools and talent to become great content creators. Learn more.

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