Data-fueled research to guide blogging, marketing and webinar efforts

Whether you’re calculating year-end results or planning for 2020, benchmarks show where you stand—and which direction to go. Pluck insights from recent studies to shape your strategy.

blogging benchmarking

Industry benchmarks highlight how well we stack up against our competitors.

How are others divvying up budgets? What trends and tactics are emerging—or declining? Which metrics will matter most in the coming year?

Fortunately, plenty of fresh research can help well-rounded communication pros succeed in 2020. Let’s pluck pertinent takeaways from recent studies about content marketing, blogging and webinar trends.

1. Content marketing benchmarks

MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute published its latest B2B Marketing report with insights into benchmarks, budgets and trends. This year’s report features feedback from 679 employees at North American B2B companies. Here are key takeaways:

  • Content marketing teams remain small. Most organizations field a small content marketing team. The data reveal:
    • Thirty-two percent have no one dedicated to content marketing.
    • Twenty-four percent employ one person.
    • Thirty-five percent dedicate a team of two to five people.
    • Just 9% dedicate a team of six or more.
  • About half of businesses outsource some content marketing. Fifty percent of respondents say they outsource some aspect of content marketing. Of those, 84% say they outsource content creation. Distribution, technology, strategy and measurement are outsourced far less frequently.
  • B2B content marketers serve an average of four audiences. Large companies (defined as 1000+ employees) serve five audiences, and smaller companies (ranging from one to 99 employees) create content for three audiences, on average.
  • Most content is aimed at building awareness. Half of respondents say they create content to build awareness at the top of the funnel. Twenty-two percent develop content for interest or intent at the middle of the funnel, while 14% say they make content for the decision-making phase or late stage of the funnel. Just 11% create content for customers after the sale.
  • Most marketers use paid media to fuel owned media. Eighty-four percent of B2B marketers use paid distribution channels for content marketing purposes. Of that segment of respondents, 72% use paid social media channels, 66% use sponsorships, and 61% use pay-per-click advertising.
  • Which metrics matter most? Respondents measure email marketing performance metrics (90%); website traffic (88%); website engagement such as time on page and bounce rates (86%); social media vanity metrics such as shares, “likes” and follows (83%); and conversion metrics such as subscribers and leads (78%).
  • The average content marketing budget is $185,000. The most successful content marketers invest more, reporting an average of $272,000, while the least successful content marketers spend just $109,000 per year. Forty-six percent of respondents expect their content marketing budget will grow, 35% say it will remain flat, and just 4% say it will decrease.

Takeaways: If no one in your organization is dedicated to content marketing—or if you lack resources—how can anyone expect success? Year after year, this survey shows that successful content marketing programs are well funded, have a documented content strategy, put their audience needs first, and measure substantive business results through analytics.

s_Content marketing budgets 2020

2. Blogging benchmarks

For the last six years, Orbit Media has surveyed 1,000 bloggers for its annual blogging survey.

Here are some useful benchmarks plucked from Orbit’s most recent research:

  • How long is the average blog post? According to the survey, 1,236 words. Also:
    • Fifty-five percent of bloggers report an average post exceeds 1,000 words.
    • Twenty-eight percent say their average post is longer than 1,500 words.
  • How long does it take to write the average blog post? The respondents said three hours and 57 minutes. Furthermore:
    • Thirty-eight percent of bloggers report it takes more than four hours to write a post.
    • Nineteen percent say it takes six or more hours.
    • Of bloggers who spend four or more hours on a post, 69% report “strong results.”
  • How often do bloggers publish blog posts? Most are in the range of two to four posts per month. However:
    • Twenty-three percent publish “several” posts per month.
    • Twenty-four percent publish weekly.
    • Sixteen percent publish two to six posts per week.
    • The report also says, “Bloggers who write more (either in length or in frequency) are more likely to report strong results.”
  • Methods of successful bloggers.The survey isolates answers from bloggers who report “strong results,” including:
    • Seventy-five percent include 10 or more images per blog post.
    • Sixty-seven percent write 20 or more draft headlines for each post.
    • Sixty-seven percent publish blogs daily.
    • Fifty-five percent publish blogs with 2,000 or more words.
    • Fifty-three percent research keywords for each post.
    • Half of the respondents collaborate with influencers to develop every post.
    • Forty-nine percent check analytics for every post.

Takeaways: Quality and consistency routinely demonstrate what separates blogging winners and losers. Length doesn’t necessarily determine quality, of course, though longer posts do typically suggest a thorough examination of a topic. Longer content seems to offer SEO advantages, too.

s_How long is the average blog post

3. Webinar benchmarks

Webinars are still a staple of lead generation programs—if they’re done right.

According to the 2019 Webinar Benchmarks Report by On24—which examined 22,922 webinars held in 2018 with at least 100 attendees:

  • Fifty-seven percent of respondents who use webinars for marketing produce up to 50 webinars annually.
  • Fifty-four percent of registrations occur at least eight days prior to the webinar; 28% occur 15 days prior.
  • Sixty-five percent of respondents say they send five email touches for each webinar.
  • Most webinars are held on Thursdays (28%), Wednesdays (27%) or Tuesdays (24%).
  • Most webinars are conducted at either 11 a.m. (18%), 10 a.m. (13%), noon (11%), 9 a.m. (10%) or 8 a.m. (9%).
  • On24 says: “The best time to run a webinar is 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) as it avoids most conflicts on both coasts.”
  • Thirty-nine percent of registrants for marketing webinars converted to attendees.
  • Attendees viewed live webinars for an average of 58 minutes and recorded webinars for 47 minutes.

Takeaways: Schedule your webinar for a Thursday—preferably at 2 p.m. EST.

This report doesn’t speak to webinar frequency, but a regular cadence (every other month or every month) works best. Consistency creates expectation, and it helps your team develop a marketing rhythm around your events.

s_2019 Webinar Benchmarks Report by On24

Over to you, marketers. What trends and tactics are you banking on in 2020?

Frank Strong is founder of Sword and the Script Media. A version of this post first appeared on Sword and the Script.

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