A majority of businesses using content marketing campaigns have found them to be competitive necessities, according to HubSpot, with one-quarter of respondents calling blogs "critical."

Companies using blog content marketing consider it a competitive necessity, according to HubSpot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing report.

According to the study, 25 percent of businesses with a company blog consider it “critical” to their lead generation and sales efforts, while 34 percent of respondents said it was at least “important.” In general, these organizations have been able to expand their web presence with content marketing, which has helped them generate more sales.

Content helps companies become more visible on a number of other new media marketing channels, such as search and social media. These have become primary communication and research platforms for consumers and B2B buyers alike.

For businesses using content marketing, linking to articles and blog posts through these channels generates greater website traffic, leads and, eventually, conversions. But having a blog at the core of online marketing is essential to marketers. Blogs outranked all other forms of inbound marketing as a “critical” component of outreach, cited as such by one-quarter of respondents compared to 18 percent who referred to LinkedIn marketing as critical, 15 percent who say Facebook is critical, 12 percent for YouTube and 11 percent for Twitter.

While newsletter marketing was not included in the study, content marketing has also become a good way to bolster email marketing campaigns. Brafton recently reported that users respond to and share email marketing messages most frequently when they contain new, relevant content.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.