Content Matters 2023:
Teams, Budgets, & Goals
How content teams are driving growth, measuring what works,
and thinking about the future
Eight in 10 marketers say the importance of using content as a revenue driver has increased. But getting the C-Suite to invest in content teams, budgets, and goals isn’t always easy. Especially when leadership takes the shortsighted view that content marketing is mere PR and salesy-type blogs.
Great, data-driven content has the real power to reach an audience, build a sales funnel, drive commerce, and retain existing customers. The secret to unlocking all this? Tracking the ROI of your content efforts—proving the value of what you publish and the teams and dollars that produce it. When you do, the content budget and headcount will come, as will the sales and monetization.
Jary Carter CRO, WordPress VIP
Why teams are still growing
Marketing teams continue to make up only a small percentage of an organization’s headcount. But those teams largely continue to grow, even despite fears over inflation, rising interest rates, and roller coaster markets. Even more promising, the number of internal content creators has grown substantially compared to 2022.
Organizations that prioritize tracking content ROI—proving the value of content and the teams that produce it—stand to be in a better position to maintain or even increase their headcount.
Good news: budgets are increasing
Last year, 42% of respondents expected their content marketing budgets to increase. Based on results from this year’s survey—they did.
Despite global economic uncertainty, marketing budgets are expected to increase again next year, proving the essential value of content marketing for organizational success, even in shaky times. For those that expect their budgets to decrease, it is almost solely due to economic factors.
As a declining economy raises concerns, the ability to tie ROI to content will only increase in importance over the next year.
expect content budgets to increase in 2023.
Percentage of marketing budget spent on content
- 11-30% 35.1%
- 5-10% 26.1%
- 31-50% 16.4%
- I don’t know 9.9%
- Less than 5% 6.1%
- More than 50% 5.8%
Contracted content creators and agencies continue to be the most popular budget item, followed by content management tools.
Tying content to ROI
As the economy and business goals shifted over the past year, the need to drive revenue through content became increasingly important. Despite brand awareness remaining the top purpose for creating content, generating revenue and sales jumped from #5 to #2 in this year’s survey.
It’s clear: when you have revenue goals tied to content, senior leadership is more likely to understand the value of your content marketing efforts. If you’re struggling to get leadership buy-in, tie your content goals back to revenue
to prove value.
Additionally, in times of economic recession, customer retention and expansion become crucial to business success. Only 33% of people use content to build loyalty with existing customers, so we expect this to increase over the next year, along with the percentage of those who use content to nurture leads as the quantity of leads decline.
Most effective content type for driving revenue
- Advertising placements 18%
- Selling content products 17%
- Drive traffic to products for sale 14%
- Content paywalls/subscriptions 14%
- Sponsored content 11%
- Drive traffic to sales team 11%
- Retain and expand existing customers 7%
- Donations 5%
- Affiliate sales 3%
9 in 10
teams with leadership buy-in have revenue goals tied to content
Advertising placements remain the #1 most effective revenue driver. With the need for revenue from content marketing increasing, we expect a larger portion of budgets to be dedicated to advertising in the next year.
say the importance of using content as a revenue driver has increased.
Purpose of content marketing
- Create brand awareness 41%
- Generate sales/revenue 38%
- Generate demand/leads 38%
- Build loyalty with existing customers 33%
- Support the launch of a new product 30%
- Educate audience 27%
- Drive traffic to ads 26%
- Build a subscriber audience 26%
- Nurture leads 22%
- Drive attendance to events 21%
More time, please!
The biggest challenge is overwhelmingly a lack of resources. The struggle for content marketing teams seems to be keeping up with demand—they need more time, more people, or both.
“Hiring talent is absolutely the biggest challenge.”Editor
Biggest content challenge
- Resources: People, talent, time, budget, and other resource limitations 44.4%
- Economy: Struggles related to a slowing economy and pandemic-related challenges 16.0%
- Analytics: Proving results, measuring ROI, and other analytics-related issues 12.3%
- Competition: Breaking into a saturated or well-established market 11.8%
- Leadership: A lack of leadership buy-in or ineffective leadership 4.0%
- Quality: Producing high-quality content 3.7%
- Engagement: Lack of audience engagement, lead generation, and revenue created by content 2.9%
- Strategy: Trouble forming an effective content strategy and follow-through 1.9%
- Videos: Generating and distributing video content 1.3%
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