Local businesses expect to make content marketing a bigger priority this year

Press release | Branded meta content project

The amount spent on content marketing creation and distribution has increased by nearly $20 billion over the past two years, and 42% of local businesses said they expect to make content marketing a even more important priority this year. These are the findings of a new study by the Meta Branded Content Project in collaboration with Borrell Associates, Inc.

The Meta Branded Content Project 2022 Content Marketing Study used information from 2,811 respondents to Borrell’s Local Advertisers Survey and interviewed 194 advertisers specifically about content marketing through Borrell’s SMB panel to assess their interest and thoughts. The study found that content marketing among local advertisers has gained traction since the pandemic. In 2020, a significant number of local businesses prioritized spreading their story – which often included how they were dealing with the pandemic crisis – through content marketing. Now, as businesses begin to return to pre-pandemic “normality,” content marketing has become a more cohesive way to communicate with their customer base and attract new customers.

“We expected local businesses to reduce their use of content marketing after the COVID crisis, when it was widely used, so we were pleasantly surprised to find that their interest has actually increased since 2020,” said Julia Campbell, Managing Director of Meta Branded Content. Project, an initiative of the Local Media Consortium, Local Media Association and Meta Journalism Project. “It tells us that companies really believe in the power and promise of content marketing, even though many of them hadn’t even heard of it a few years ago.”

According to the survey, the #1 reason companies are prioritizing content marketing this year is its ability to help them connect with their customers through meaningful content. The main reason companies prioritized content marketing last year was that COVID-19 demanded a new approach. Other reasons companies gave for prioritizing content marketing this year included: staying competitive and growing their business, and focusing more on digital and driving website traffic. The survey also revealed that informative videos, sponsored content/segments, and seminars/workshops are expected to see the biggest increase in marketing spend this year.

“Content marketing, or storytelling, has evolved locally over the past two years,” said Corey Elliott, executive vice president of local market intelligence, Borrell Associates. “It’s gone from something a local business has felt compelled to do during the pandemic to a necessary part of their marketing strategy, which they believe not only helps them connect with their customers, but helps them also to stay competitive and grow their business.”

Content marketing material can be found in digital and non-digital formats and is used to engage and connect with a user (reader, viewer, listener) which will ultimately lead to interest in a business. As one local business that participated in the study noted, “[Content marketing] is an effective way to keep in touch with people and give them useful information and position ourselves as an expert.

When asked how local media companies can help local businesses achieve their content marketing goals, responses included gaining a better understanding of that business and its customers and helping businesses understand how to create content , efficient design and distribution.

You can read the full results of the 2022 Content Marketing Study at this link.

About the Meta Branded Content Project:

The Meta Branded Content Project is designed through a strategic partnership between the Local Media Association, the Local Media Consortium and the Meta Journalism Project to help facilitate additional growth, engagement and success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes. Branded content uses the power of storytelling to deliver valuable benefit to advertisers while increasing audience engagement and revenue for local media publishers. This powerful revenue stream has proven successful for many media organizations.

About Borrell Associates, Inc.:

Borrell is the leading provider of local advertising data and insights. The company’s customer base includes thousands of investors, advertising agencies, and media companies seeking detailed ad spend data, fact-based consulting, and unique insights. Borrell conducts the largest survey of local advertisers in the nation and tracks and forecasts local ad spend in any US market. Its main product is Compass, which can be seen at www.adspending.com.