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  • Writer's pictureLiz Hayes

Branded Content Project and Borrell Discuss Key Takeaways From New Content Marketing Report

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

The upcoming year is expected to be a breakout year for the use of content marketing by small and medium businesses, which will lead to a large opportunity for local media outlets to create new revenue streams in 2021. This was highlighted during "New Insights on Content Marketing: Trends, Forecasts, & Spending," a webinar from Borrell Associates that took place on Thursday, November 11.

Hundreds of media industry professionals logged on to hear about the Borrell research that can be found in the report, “Sizing the Content Marketing Opportunity.” The research projects the amount spent on content marketing will be down just 1.5%, to $63 billion in 2020 and is projected to be more of a priority in 2021, despite the impact COVID-19 has had on advertising.

The decline is due almost wholly to the retraction of marketing activity in a few dozen categories that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. Travel and tourism, live entertainment, sporting events, clothing and recreation have reduced content marketing expenditures an average of 19% due to business slowdowns or shutdowns.

However, content marketing has increasingly become a popular option for business advertising with advertisers looking for ways to get their stories told.

“With covid you had a lot of local businesses figuring out, man I need to tell my story, I need to get my information out there, and that is what they focused on a lot in 2020 and found a lot of success with,” said Corey Elliott, Borrell’s executive vice president of local market intelligence.

In 2020, industries that were compelled to educate and inform the public have increased spending in this area between 5% and 9%. This includes mental health services, insurance medical doctors, colleges & universities, financial services and two of the biggest content marketing spenders: real estate agents and city, state and local governments.

Media outlets distributing content marketing for advertisers should focus on high quality content that will compel their engaged audiences.

“Absolutely quality matters,” said Julia Campbell, general manager of The Branded Content Project. “Same rules that stand for your editorial teams, stand for your content marketing team.”

The top five spending categories revolve around credit and finance, telecom, real estate and automotive. Digital platforms are the biggest magnet for content marketing for digital’s ability to go deep on content without the added expense of buying more airtime or print space. Digitally placed content marketing accounts for two-thirds of all spending. The next largest media categories are television and direct mail.

Campbell recommends media outlets focus on long-term commitments, finding a unique value proposition and quality storytelling in order to be successful in this arena. Products should be priced at a premium.

Review the Borrell Associates' full report and methodology used below.

Sizing the Content Marketing Opportunity
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To watch the recording, click here: The Branded Content Project provides turnkey branded content solutions designed for publisher partners to retail to their brand clients. To get involved, email General Manager Julia Campbell:

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