A survey of internet marketers reveals that businesses think branded content is key to establishing thought leadership, but it's hard to find the time to write it.

HiveFire's Content Curation Adoption Survey 2011 indicates businesses are increasingly interested in content marketing, but finding the time to write it can be challenging.

The survey, relayed by eMarketer, found that nearly half of respondents are now using content as part of their marketing strategies. HiveFire says 85 percent of those who are familiar with content marketing but aren't actively practicing it are actually performing content marketing to some degree without even realizing it.

The leading challenges to content marketing are creating original content (73.6 percent) and having the time to do so (73 percent). Finding high-quality content was the third most common challenge, cited by 43 percent of marketers. Brands may find that outsourcing their content marketing to established editorial teams will help them overcome these challenges. (In fact, Brafton has reported that a number of B2B marketers turn to journalists to write their website content.)

Brands are increasingly turning to content marketing because they view it as a way to boost their brands. More than three-quarters of respondents (78.9 percent) say establishing thought leadership is their main objective with content. Elevating brand visibility is another leading goal, cited by 76.1 percent.

Lead generation is also a common objective of content marketers, referenced by more than half (60.6 percent) of respondents. A recent survey from the Custom Content Institute suggests that high-quality, original content does, in fact, convert site visitors. The majority of consumers (61 percent) say they feel better about brands that deliver custom content, and claim they are more likely to make purchases with these companies.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.