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Content Marketing Grows To $80 Billion. Here’s Why Radio Can Grow Its Share.

Motivated by a newfound priority to get their story out during the pandemic, ad spending on content marketing surged 26% since 2020 to $80 billion. Almost two out of three local advertisers polled by Borrell Associates in March 2022 engaged in some form of content marketing last year. And while business is back to normal for many, without the same need to inform as necessary in 2020, the need to carry on with content marketing didn’t go the way of mask mandates.

In fact, 42% of content marketers said this style of promotion would become more of a priority in 2022, up from 38% in 2021.

Thirty-four percent of content marketers chose “better tell story/connect consumers with meaningful content” as the main reason they are placing a higher priority on content marketing. And 24% claimed that prioritizing content marketing simply helps them “stay competitive/grow business.”

Keep in mind that content marketing isn’t focused directly on selling a product or service or promoting an upcoming sale or event. Instead, it helps a business tell its story or showcase their expertise through promotional materials with a goal of ultimately leading to interest in the company.

Among the categories with the greatest propensity to use content marketing are finance & insurance, professional & business services, real estate, educational services, manufacturing, and information, media or advertising.

The study also turned up evidence that businesses that engage in content marketing are more active advertisers and have a better handle on their media mix than non-content marketers. But they need help with content creation and distribution.

Content marketing is quickly becoming the competitive way for businesses to advertise, and local media need to capitalize on this huge opportunity, the report says.

While brochures/flyers were the favored type of content marketing in 2021, informative videos, sponsored content/segments and seminars/workshops are expected to see the biggest increases this year.

Radio captured only 3.5% of content marketing spending in 2020 and 2021. “Radio is noteworthy in 2022 and will see a shift in the percent of ad dollars they get somehow connected to content marketing,” the report says.

Corey Elliott, Borrell’s Executive VP of Local Market Intelligence, tells Inside Radio a combination of factors are coalescing that could lead to radio growing its share of content dollars. Elliott’s takeaways for radio follow –


It is pretty easy to imagine any given media company jumping onto video, but harder to imagine non-radio people “jumping into” audio. But thanks to things like podcasting, there is a general interest in all things audio. Live radio still has a place and local advertisers have cited that they wish there were more local stories about them.


There is a huge opportunity for anyone who can tell a story through video. It is easier for an audio person to get in front of a camera, than a video personality to sit behind a mic and not have the visual to rely on. And the quality of video does not matter as much now so that shouldn’t stop a radio station from experimenting.

General Interest In The Market

Any media company can ride this wave, but it is the one that understands why content marketing is popular that will have a leg up. Local businesses are slightly frustrated by the fact they might not be reaching the “right audience.” Radio, who is usually insanely connected with their audience, could certainly help expand their content marketing to the “right” people.

Radio’s Dedication To Digital

Radio’s experience watching digital transform Yellow Pages, newspapers, and TV allowed them to prepare for the inevitable day that digital swept across radio. And when I talk to radio people, more often than not, I meet people who are excited about the possibilities.

Marketing Savviness

Content marketing can fall to pieces if it is not thought out or part of a well-structured plan. There needs to be a marketing brain that understands how this piece works with the call to action in other media and how a consumer flows between them during their journey. Radio has the marketers to do this.

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