A report from the Custom Content Council and ContentWise found that business using content marketing primarily do so to provide customers with more information and reach new prospects.

Twenty-seven percent of businesses using use brand journalism and other types of content marketing to improve customer education, a report from the Custom Content Council and ContentWise suggests. Moreover, the organizations expect businesses to spend more on developing branded content in 2012.

This year, businesses included in the poll dedicated an average of $3.5 million to marketing efforts, with $1.9 million of that going to the creation of branded content. Educating customers is the top priority for many content marketing efforts, as information rich content can generate demand for products and services. Additionally, more than one in 10 businesses say a leading content goal is increasing brand loyalty, which can translate into greater sales.

News content marketing is an especially popular and effective form of raising awareness of a company. While the content is branded in the sense that it is hosted on the company’s website and is conveyed from the unique perspective of a company, it is less promotional and contains information related to the business’ industry, such as breaking news and other trends.

White paper marketing may be an equally effective form of building trust and improving a company’s reputation within their industry. It provides a platform for more in-depth, expanded content, which demonstrates expertise and niche authority to prospects. White papers are also cited as effective for SEO by 40 percent of marketers, according to MarketingSherpa.

Brafton reported last week that prospects are more likely to do business with companies with engaging web presences. The web has become the primary research point for many different businesses decisions. As such, B2B buyers want to learn about an industry, while also receiving information about a specific product. The presence of compelling content often provides a strong impetus to buy. 

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.