Companies are increasingly embracing content marketing — the creation and sharing of articles, pictures, video and other publishing content in order to acquire customers — as one of the most effective forms of advertising.

A large share of companies are recalibrating their marketing strategies in 2013 to put greater emphasis on content marketing, a recent survey by content development company CopyPress found.

The percentage of companies that said content would be their primary marketing focus in 2013 nearly doubled from last year’s survey, rising from 18.9 percent to 34.8 percent, CopyPress said. The survey found that about half of marketers decided to change their marketing focus in 2013. 

"The focuses for 2013 are radically different," CopyPress said in a report detailing the survey’s findings, "2013 State of Content Marketing." 

The shift in focus appears to be manifesting itself in real estate. Online foreclosure marketplace RealtyTrac recently created a network of brokerages that it says will help it generate market-specific reports that it can pitch to media outlets.

Meanwhile, listing service Trulia just debuted its "Real Estate Lab," which it said will uncover hard-to-spot trends in the housing market. 

Within the realm of content marketing, featured articles claimed the mantle of best ROI, according to the survey, and 62.2 percent of companies said that they believed featured articles generated ROI. 

Video garnered the second-strongest ROI endorsement in the survey, with 51.9 percent saying that they thought the form of media creates ROI. But as eMarketer noted in a blog post, the report also highlighted the challenge of creating video. About half of respondents (49.8 percent) agreed that video is "difficult to create."  

The near doubling of interest in content marketing was one of several other findings in the study that reflected a striking shift in marketing focus over just the last year. 

While email was the primary marketing focus for respondents in 2012, at 25.6 percent, the 2013 study found that just 10.4 percent of respondents said they would concentrate most on email this year.

Focus on mobile more than doubled, meanwhile, rising from 3.2 percent in 2012 to 9.2 percent in 2013. While focus on social media kept pat at about 24.7 percent, focus on SEO dipped from 18.9 percent in 2012 to 14.6 percent in 2013. 

CopyPress said it administered the study to 329 marketing specialists who work in a wide range of industries. 

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