December 14, 2022
The State of Digital Content Now: What Marketers and Communicators Need to Know Heading into 2023
The extraordinary upheaval of the past three years has reshaped the world, the workplace, and the way decision-makers consume information, sending the news cycle—and content creation—into warp speed. In this crowded environment, how can marketers create content that stands out from the noise?
Greentarget’s 2022 State of Digital and Content Marketing Survey, developed in partnership with Zeughauser Group, delivers fresh insights for this new era of communication. The report is our 10th iteration of research into what makes content excel, and our first to do so since 2019.
We surveyed 200 top business executives and in-house counsel for this deep dive into how information consumption behaviors and preferences have changed—and what has stayed the same. Our report also provides practical guidance on how to utilize these findings to create the engaging, informative, and relevant content that decision-makers seek.
Here is a sampling of our key findings, along with examples of how Greentarget puts this knowledge into practice for our clients.
The Enduring Importance of Earned Media
In a volatile environment, executive decision-makers are looking for timely, practical, and trustworthy information to guide their business decisions.
Our 2022 survey found that C-suite members and in-house counsel still look to trusted editors and dependable, established outlets to tell them what matters. Respondents ranked traditional media nearly as important in 2022 as it was in 2019, with approximately 80% rating it somewhat or very valuable. Publications and websites specifically covering the respondent’s profession are also popular, particularly among C-suite executives, who ranked it as their most valuable content source.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a strong media relations strategy for reaching key audiences through the outlets they trust. Earned media is still the gold standard for credibility—and engaging with reporters can help raise your profile.
Case Study: Greentarget’s media relations strategy for Lathrop GPM earned more than 42 media results and 9 million impressions, including in key industry-specific publications, for its environmental and tort practice. The campaign led to new business inquiries, outreach from clients, and regular requests for insight from Bloomberg Law.
The Benefits of Effective Thought Leadership
When it comes to hiring outside law or professional services firms, decision-makers are finding thought leadership and credentialing activities to be increasingly important.
More than two-thirds of survey respondents cited articles and speeches from thought leaders as a critical factor in hiring outside firms, second only to recommendations from a trusted source. Nearly two-thirds of in-house counsel are also looking to thought leaders’ websites and blogs as noteworthy tools for researching outside firms, compared to just half in 2019.
A well-run owned media program can strategically deploy content creation to effectively establish your firm’s authority and expertise, attracting new business and generating additional earned media coverage. Insightful research reports, blog posts, white papers, and podcasts can help your organization stand out from the crowd.
Case Study: Greentarget leveraged the importance of thought leadership to establish Perkins Coie as the premier legal advisor in the AR/VR space. By developing the Annual AR/VR Survey Report, Greentarget secured more than 400 pieces of news coverage in leading national publications and fostered lasting relationships between partners and influential reporters.
The Accelerating Digital Shift
Executive decision-makers are more likely to visit websites, blogs, and webinars or other virtual events now than they were in 2019. When the pandemic put a sudden hold on conferences and in-person events—a key forum for gathering business intelligence—LinkedIn and virtual programming stepped in to fill the gap.
With webinar recordings available regardless of attendance or availability, the digital shift offers important advantages to increasingly busy C-suite members and in-house counsel who are looking for highly relevant, actionable content. Yet, despite the many online analytics and keyword research tools available to marketers, a lack of relevance remains the top reason why content fizzles with decision-makers.
With a nearly limitless virtual audience, create specific and tailored content personalized for the decision-makers you want to reach, rather than trying to compete with the noise in a crowded online environment.
Case Study: Greentarget worked with RBC Global Asset Management to take advantage of online distribution and engagement platforms for its Responsible Investing Survey. The campaign achieved 131 million impressions, with 5,500 views for the report; 3,500 views for the firm’s global responsible investment site, microsite, and ESG videos; and over 225,000 impressions and 2,000 click-throughs on paid and organic LinkedIn and Twitter posts.
The Need for Guidance in an Uncertain World
C-suite members and in-house counsel are also looking for more actionable guidance from law firms and professional service providers on the specific issues facing their business in this volatile period—particularly cybersecurity and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Fast-moving developments and rapidly evolving standards in these areas means that leaders need the most up to date and informed guidance.
Most of all, leaders want content with utility that explains what they should do with new information. But they also want content that’s “in-depth” and “technical,” offering granular analysis and expert recommendations that can help inform their operational decisions and outlook.
Case Study: Recognizing the growing importance of ESG to corporate decision-making, Greentarget helped Fenwick create a biotech-specific research report on how ESG reporting was affecting the industry. One Fenwick partner described the findings as “invaluable” to biotech clients, who had long sought this type of data on governance issues.
Communications in 2022 and Beyond
We found that executive decision-makers are increasingly looking to content from thought leaders to guide them—but not just anything will do. Marketing and communications professionals crafting strategies amid rapid-fire change need to understand how the past few years have shaped information trends, upended distribution channels, and altered preferences for both C-suite members and in-house counsel.
Check out the full 2022 State of Digital and Content Marketing report for more and stay tuned for our State of DEI report coming December 2022.
Still have questions, or are unsure how to break through to your target audience? We’re here to help.