The Content Marketing Report 2015 published by B2B Marketing is an excellent resource. But while it is informative, beautifully produced and useful, it is also confusing. Let me explain why, and clear up the confusion...

A list featured on the very first page tells us which are the most popular formats used in content marketing today. Take a look below and see if it makes sense to you.

list_of_formats.png

 

The problem is of course that case studies and videos could be one and the same thing. “Video” is a label that describes how the content is packaged up; “case study” describes the purpose of the content contained within it. So how can you say one is more popular than the other? Truth is you can’t.

A more meaningful comparison might work along the following lines:

Which is the most used content delivery format?

  • Videos
  • Whitepapers
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars

Which is the most used content type?

  • Case study
  • Opinion piece
  • Survey/research
  • Product info
  • How to guide
  • Etc

These lists aren’t exhaustive – but at least they compare like with like. And we have further problems with these labels. For example, when is a whitepaper not a whitepaper? Does it have to be more than two pages long? And if it includes too many diagrams, does it become some sort of infographic? Equally, an opinion piece can be based on research, or a research study can offer opinion.

I don’t think these are terribly important distinctions. But confusing the way in which content is delivered and the purpose of that content is unhelpful. So while the Content Marketing Report 2015 is full of great content (delivered as a 54-page pdf file, in case you wanted to know), it doesn’t guide me as clearly as it might.

Could I do any better? Probably not, but I would suggest that we keep this important distinction in mind when planning content. Apples and oranges are both great in their own way, but you can’t compare one with the other.