What Type of Content Works in 2022?

By C&EN Media Group

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Should you write blogs, create videos, or start a podcast? Maybe invest more in paid advertising? Or perhaps your company wants to try its hand at TikTok?

These questions regularly run through the mind of any discerning marketer, and we get it.

If you’re planning to deploy effective content marketing strategies, it’s essential to learn what the effective content channels are, which types of content are worth creating in terms of a return on investment (ROI), and where there is an opportunity waiting for you to stake your claim.

In this post, we’re sharing the latest data and content marketing facts–including the importance of a thought leadership strategy– that can guide you to develop your company’s overall science marketing efforts.   

Content Distribution Channels

It’s not enough to create the content, it is equally important to have an idea of where to distribute it.

In a 2020 survey of 1,500 participants from marketing agencies, B2B companies, B2C companies, and non-profit organizations, 89% of correspondents said organic search was the content distribution channel they used most in their business.

Social media and email marketing came in second and third, respectively.

Content Marketing ChannelPercentage of Marketers Using The Channel
Organic search89%
Social media87%
Email marketing72%
Pay-per-click/paid advertising47%
External publications/guest posting24%
Influencer marketing16%
Content syndication15%

Source: Statista

Why This is Important

Organic search works, and the data suggests so.

While several content distribution channels work well, if you are not investing in organic search, social media marketing, or email marketing, this is an excellent time to consider doing so. 

Secondly, a lot of companies– especially newer companies that may have the first round of funding– may want to accelerate their marketing efforts by putting money into paid advertising. While paid advertising is a well-proven marketing strategy (coming in at number four in the survey), it gets pricier each year.

On the other hand, optimizing web pages and articles on a company website for search engines can be a powerful long-term content marketing strategy that doesn’t require the ongoing high costs associated with paid advertising.

Is Blogging Dead?

If you’ve heard that blogging is dead, stop right there. 

A thought leadership strategy can help curate content that showcases your company’s expertise within the science industry through a reputable source, all the while establishing more of a human connection. Francis deSouza, CEO of Illumina, is known for the compelling and educational LinkedIn articles he authors regarding the company’s work within the genome sequencing industry.  Crafting strategic thought leadership blogs are great ways to establish credibility within the science industry, while educating consumers on the latest and greatest within the industry. 

As we mentioned above, organic search is a top content marketing channel for most businesses, including those within the life science industry. 

Furthermore, a study by Edelman and LinkedIn showed that 54% of decision-makers spend more than one hour per week reading thought leadership content.

However, while consumption is high, the same study showed that 71% of those readers say they didn’t learn anything new or valuable from consuming the content.

This is good news for your business. While marketers are creating a lot of blog content, there is very little excellent content. 

Thus, if you plan on leveraging blogging and using organic search, then it is important to create content that is either better than what is out there or that provides a unique angle. If you can do this, you and your business can win with blogging.

Here are some more blogging numbers for you.

Content Marketing and Mobile Device Usage

According to a 2020 Statista report, mobile devices, excluding tablets, generated about half of all website traffic globally, a number which has been consistent since 2017. Furthermore, the average American household has access to more than ten connected mobile devices in their homes.

Why This Is Important

If your website is not well-optimized for mobile users, you might lose a lot of opportunities to work with decision-makers and buyers who may navigate your life science website using a mobile device. Thus, it is important to not assume that most people visit your website through a desktop or laptop device. 

Content Types

For the second year in a row, a Hubspot survey found that video is the number one content type companies use as part of their content marketing strategy.

Blog posts come in a close second, followed by infographics. (See graphic below.)

Video has seen exponential growth since the beginning of the pandemic. The data is clear on the fact that the pandemic accelerated video adoption and consumption for businesses–regardless of the industry. Your current and potential customers are hungry for video content, and it’s time to give them what they want.Thermo Fisher is a well-known player in the video content game and recently curated an educational video series, shedding light on the medical condition pre-eclampsia for Pre-Eclampsia Awareness Month. This series encompassed a human element of storytelling as it featured Thermo Fisher employees who shared stories of their own experience with the medical condition. 

Source: Hubspot

Short-form vs. Long-form

Short-form videos (a minute or less) on platforms like TikTok and Instagram have skyrocketed both personal and corporate brands, allowing them to grow their followings by hundreds or even thousands in months. Biotechnology company, Agilent Technologies, uses short-form videos to give their followers an inside-look at their commitment to producing top-quality products.  

Long-form video (between 3 to 15 minutes) also has its place as a thought-leadership driving and brand-building content type for businesses. So, while you create punchy short-form videos, don’t forget to create the long-form versions that show off your company’s expertise and dive deeper within the science industry.

Live Video

Don’t have the time or bandwidth to create recorded videos consistently? You might want to consider live video. Live videos are a great way to show off your expertise in real-time while adding a more humanistic and authentic approach, since most live videos are not perfectly scripted or produced. 

And here’s one last piece of data on video marketing for you: calls-to-action placed at the beginning of a video convert at a 12.7% rate.

Here are three more video marketing statistics to pay attention to.

Audio Content

So far, most surveys show that video and written content are used widely by customers.

But what about audio content? Although it seems like a lesser-used medium, should we dismiss this content type?

Absolutely not.

The podcast and audio content markets are unsaturated, and therefore it can be an excellent place for businesses to establish their presence in the minds of their audiences.

Infinite Dial (from Edison Research) recently shared these statistics about audio content.

  • 73% of the US population over the age of 12 years listens to online audio content at least monthly
  • In 2021, the average listener spent around 16 hours a week listening to online audio
  • On average, those who listen to podcasts listen to eight podcasts per week.

Bio-Rad Laboratories is a great example of a company taking advantage of the podcast industry. The company’s Bio Podcast Series interviews experts and discusses the challenges of real-world research informatics.  

Conclusion: Measuring the Return on Investment of Content Marketing

The most important way marketers report measuring the success of content marketing is through sales.

And we agree.

What is the point of spending hours and money creating content if there is no plan to make sales?

While we don’t recommend that every single piece of content your company creates should be promotional, it is vital to strategically include calls to action that invite consumers of your content to check out your products and services.While consumers may not buy on the first touchpoint, continuing to deliver valuable content that inspires, educates, and establishes a thought leadership strategy will guide them on the buyer’s journey that can ultimately lead to a sale.

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