Let’s just get it out there: If you’re not creating original content, it’s time to acknowledge the fact that you’re already losing. Because somewhere out there in your industry is a company that is creating content, and they’re stealing all of your potential customers.

According to research from WP Engine, 62 percent of Americans want to see original content directly from their favorite brands—and they’re not just saying that to create more work. Currently, almost half of respondents said they read blogs of their favorite brands.

And if you think sponsored posts are going to be enough, you’re mistaken.

According to the survey, two out of five consumers prefer to read content directly from a company blog instead of a news magazine or website (a stat which says volumes about the effectiveness of native/sponsored ads). This means if you’re relying on the power (and audience) of big-name news organizations to promote your name through content, it’s not going to be anywhere near as effective as managing your own blog on your own website.

But it’s not only the location of your branded content that matters. Consumers are also particular about the style and subject matter as well.

So what does the audience look for in content?

Those surveyed said that the majority of consumers want to see brands produce a variety of content, including information on important issues, research on the company’s industry, and funny stories. Specifically, they want more information about ways to use a brand’s products (think Pillsbury and its product-inspired recipes), stories from average customers like themselves (NOT celebrities), and anything else that doesn’t overtly promote products.

While this certainly isn’t anything new to seasoned content marketers, it validates the idea that content should serve consumers by either informing or entertaining them.

In addition to what you write about, brands should also pay attention to how they present it. The most beloved content styles were news articles, magazine articles, and short blogs. Interestingly enough, listicles were the least preferred style, despite the fact that’s it’s currently trending online (with no end in sight).

RELATED: Stop Making These Excuses and Start Creating Content Now

But now for the important question I know you’re asking. What’s the value?

According to the most important people in the world (your customers), brands that create original content connect with consumers, develop a brand voice in the industry, and become a source for the most up-to-date information.

For those who don’t create content… well, customers paint a bleak picture.

Brands that fail to create content lose communication with their customers, lose against the competition, become less relevant, and even look lazy. That’s right—LAZY.

So in any case, it’s better to create content than not.

If you’re not sure how to get started, here’s a helpful read to guide you. Remember, your content doesn’t only have to be an article or blog post either. Other types of content you can create include video, images, and user-generated content. The content opportunities are endless!