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New Research: Content Marketing Gains Traction in Private Equity

June 18, 2018

BackBay Communications’ study finds that 63% of the top 100 global private equity firms are leveraging content to differentiate their brand in a crowded market

Boston – BackBay Communications, a leading financial-services public relations and integrated marketing firm, today announced the publication of a new study assessing the adoption of content marketing and social media among the top 100 global private equity firms. The study revealed that more than six out of every 10 (63%) of the largest firms are producing content regularly, though at varying degrees of sophistication and frequency. The results reflect growing recognition of the importance of thought leadership to demonstrate and clearly articulate a firm’s unique value proposition to multiple audiences and constituencies in a competitive market.

The study showed that among those private equity firms that produce content, most favor video (71%), as well as market commentaries, byline articles, and case studies (70%) as their mediums of choice. This marks notable traction for an industry that has historically shied away from overt promotional activities. However, in contrasting the findings with earlier research on the larger asset management industry, PE firms in this study produced content far less frequently than the largest asset managers, with less than half of the content producers publishing new pieces on even a quarterly basis (49%). In BackBay’s 2017 study looking at the broader asset management universe, 77% published new thought leadership on a monthly or weekly cadence.

When it comes to the dissemination of content, LinkedIn was the clear favorite with 96% of private equity firms having a presence on the platform versus just 52% for Twitter.

“The results of our study show the tide is turning for private equity as it relates to their communication strategy,” said Bill Haynes, BackBay Communications President and CEO. “As competition increases, private equity firms are seeking ways to stand out from the crowd. Underscoring their firm’s expertise through writing thought leadership articles and shooting videos helps private equity firms stay top of mind, which can ultimately help them raise capital, source investments, and attract talent. With the largest industry players leading the way, content and social media are proving to be important levers to articulate and showcase an organization’s approach, focus and expertise.”

Among the highlights from the study:

  • Of those that regularly produce thought leadership, nearly 40% are utilizing three or more mediums and content types.
  • While about half (49%) are producing content on a quarterly basis, only 24% are publishing new pieces monthly or weekly compared to 77% of asset managers.
  • Anecdotally, many firms amplify their content marketing efforts by leveraging existing thought leadership – such as Investor Relations materials – to extend the shelf life and frequency of content published.

The BackBay whitepaper, released today, also shares best practices for creating and sharing content, as well as strategies to bridge investor relations activities to thought leadership and public relations goals.

“In many ways, PE firms’ approach to content reflects the role of the asset class as ‘patient capital’; there is also less of a need to produce thought leadership as frequently as asset managers that cater to a retail audience,” said Ken MacFadyen, Head of Content Development at BackBay Communications. “But the growing adoption of content marketing in PE reflects the need to be more transparent and help both limited partners and business owners understand and appreciate the value proposition a firm offers.”

Please click here for access to the full results and white paper, “Private Equity Gets its Arm Around Content Marketing”.

To conduct the study, BackBay Communications used the 100 firms ranked in Private Equity International’s PEI 300 report. Through analyzing what is publicly available on firm websites and through social media, we were able to quantify how many of the largest private equity firms produce content regularly, the types of content being created across various channels, and the frequency at which firms are publishing new content. We also tracked the social media adoption of the top 100 private equity firms, and then cut the data to identify best practices across the industry.

About BackBay Communications
BackBay Communications is a public relations and integrated marketing firm focused on the financial services sector including private equity and venture capital firms, wealth managers, family offices, and financial technology companies. BackBay takes a brand-centric approach to developing messaging and building integrated communications programs. BackBay’s services include public relations, thought leadership content creation, branding, website development, marketing plans and materials, videos, advertising and social media. BackBay is highly regarded for thought leadership initiatives and relationships with the major business media. For more information, please visit

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