[SURVEY] What’s the state of content marketing in India?

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

The Content Marketing Summit Asia in 2017 released another study on content marketing in India. I care about this topic specifically for two reasons:

  • I gave a keynote and a three-hour workshop in Mumbai in 2015 and the engagement of the 600 content creators I interacted with was just fantastic.
  • About five percent of my readers on here are in India and India is No. 4 in readership volume behind the United States, United Kingdom and Canada and just ahead of No. 5 Australia.

So let’s dive into what the study found and what my thoughts are on some of the topics covered.

“The study clearly outlines the growth of the Content Marketing Ecosystem in India across all aspects of the discipline.,” said RP Singh, chairman of the Content Marketing Summit Asia. “Another rising trend is the usage of services of specialist content agencies/partners highlighting the need for expertise.”


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You can download the entire report by clicking above. I’ll discuss the increase in getting specialized content help and the large number of outsourced content work here. The survey asked 350 chief marketing officers:

Who creates content for your content marketing requirements?


The survey found that 60 percent of content is created by an outside agency. Overall:

  • 24 percent of all content is created by a specialized content agency
  • 20 percent by the creative agency
  • 16 percent by the digital agency

Just 28 percent of CMOs responded that they have an in-house team. The report goes on:

In comparison to 2015: Brands have started using services of content specialists rather than relying on their current creative & digital agencies. In the last study, only 4 percent of brands had a content agency whereas today, 24 percent of brands have outsourced their content creation to specialist agencies and partners.

This plays into two main questions that I hear all the time:

  • Do you really need content specialists to create good content?
  • Do we really need to outsource our content marketing?

Let’s discuss each further:

Question 1: Do you really need content specialists to create good content?

I’m a firm believer that anyone can and should share their own authentic stories. To a degree it’s what the concept and framework of authentic storytelling content marketing is based on. Everyone can spot stories worth sharing and many people can even share them in a way that people want to consume them. Think about conversations over dinner. We share stories. Some people share more relevant stories to the listener than others. It’s no different in organizational storytelling.

The one thing that is different in organizational storytelling is that we need to show results at some point. Our CMOs ask:

  • Is this working?
  • Should we keep going?
  • Is it showcasing our brand and bringing in more business?

And with that it’s extremely helpful to hire specialists who can help an organization share its business story better.

Related reading:

The advantages of hiring a digital agency

10 tips for choosing a content agency (healthcare focused, but applies to other industries)

There always seems to be  push for generalists – people who can do many things. Of course, in those cases they might be decent at many of those many things but aren’t the experts at any of them. But it’s a seductive idea because in theory in might save us some personnel costs. We can hire fewer people. In theory. The process sounds simple in theory: Getting unique content out of organizations, then putting it into a story format that is consumable AND will be consumed and then distribute it. 

Depending on the complexity of things and the overall workflow that process could be one or three people:

  • One person gathers the content – (aka the content gatherer – for lack of a better term. Of course, this could be multiple people as well if we take into account interviewers, photographers, video camera people, etc.)
  • Another producers it (aka the writer, video editor, etc.)
  • The next person distributes it through organic and paid channels (so that could be two people right there).

As you can see multiple people will likely be involved. Some roles can be combined in some organizations, but that’s not always possible.

Realistically, not everyone can be good at everything and expertise is either wide and shallower or specific and deeper.

Question 2: Do we really need to outsource our content marketing?

Of course not. And as I mentioned in some of the referenced articles up above, there are advantages to doing things in-house:

  • That’s where the team will spend their time – on in-house projects.
  • They know the organization.
  • They are invested.

But hiring an agency can also help with bringing additional expertise and specialization into a project. It can also help accelerate projects and get them done quickly. At least the good ones!

Related reading: Who should run our social media?

Hiring an agency (aka the specialists) can help in-house team because it means hiring experts, but be sure you are hiring an actual expert.

Here’s how to be sure you are talking to an actual expert:

Experts know things, they challenge the status quo but also listen to learn.

Today, many out there are trying to be thought leaders (aka experts). And many of them  have no clue. They repeat what others (the actual experts) are saying but then don’t update their tune when those experts update what they are saying based on new facts.

And then there’s the wide range of disagreement. One person says to do this and somebody else says the exact opposite. Keep in mind that some tactics work for some but not others. And some tactics used to work but then stopped working. The real experts know.

How do we know who the digital marketing experts are? 

Ask for results! Have you done that before and how did you get there?

Ask for how they know. I often build my opinions on many sources and research, for example. Experts don’t make things up,  but they evaluate, analyze and interpret.

Experts also can apply their general expertise to specific and unique situations. Here’s what I know overall and here’s how that applies to you, is what they say. And it works.

They also know the specifics but aren’t so specific that they can only help with one thing. I wonder how many MySpace experts there once were. Ha.

Experts also practice what they preach. For example, I help people blog and look, I blog myself. How would that hurt my credibility if I didn’t? Certainly a lot.

So work with experts, but be sure they are actual experts. The questions up top should help. Keep in mind that things in digital marketing evolve so their strategies should evolve as well.


I’m glad content marketing is growing in India and other parts of the world.  Here’s to being real and true to our authentic stories and to sharing them for long-term success.