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  • Writer's pictureLiz Hayes

Research: Why SMBs are using content marketing & other insights (Part 1 of 3)

Recently the Meta Branded Content Project sought out the experts from Borrell Associates for new research on content marketing in the digital local media space. We were thrilled to learn that small and medium businesses are prioritizing content marketing as a way to connect meaningful content with consumers. According to the research, $80 billion will be spent on content marketing by SMBs this year, which is $20 billion more than 2021.

Borrell Associates EVP of Local Market Intelligence Corey Elliott joined us on our last Big Branded call to give us a deep dive into the minds of content marketers, based on a 2022 local advertiser survey this past spring (full deck from the call here). We've broken down his presentation into three parts: content marketers, video and the opportunities that are available for local media to take advantage of. In the first video of our series (above) we focus on content marketers.

There are four main reasons content marketers said they are using this type of advertising:

  • To connect meaningful content with customers

  • Because COVID-19 spurred a new approach

  • To stay competitive

  • More focus on digital

"You're understanding how they're looking at content marketing and what's important to them, especially post COVID. All about storytelling, all about connecting with consumers, and for some of them, growing their business," Elliott said.

The industries putting more of a focus on content marketing were found to be:

  • Finance and Insurance

  • Professional and Business Services

  • Real Estate

  • Education Services

  • Manufacturing

  • Information, Media or Advertising

  • Healthcare and Social Assistance

"These were the categories that were over indexing and spending money on content marketing," he said.

Borrell's research also pointed to other factors shared by SMBs that used content marketing. They tended to be bigger, had more marketing savvy, had bigger budgets and spent money on all kinds of media. We also learned that SMBs that use content marketing are coming up with ideas on their own and are mostly putting the content on their websites, social media pages, email newsletters and mailers.

This presents a great opportunity for local media professionals to offer additional ways to effectively advertise through content marketing and be the distribution arm advertisers need to reach a greater audience.

Next week we'll post Part 2 of our content marketing research breakdown, which is all about how SMBs are prioritizing video. Download the research here!


The Meta Branded Content Project is designed through a strategic partnership between the Meta Journalism Project, Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium to help facilitate additional growth, engagement, and revenue success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes.

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