How has B2B content marketing changed since the start of the pandemic? What challenges do content marketers face? What do successful content marketers do that set them apart from others? Answers to these questions and more can be gleaned from a new report on content marketing trends.
This report, The B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, is a yearly survey that sheds light on the state of content marketing. It sheds light on what content strategies are the most effective and what trends to follow for the best results.
Let's look at a few of the biggest trends that are now impacting content marketing for B2B and how you can use this information.
5 B2B Content Marketing Trends That You Should Know
1. COVID Impacts Content Marketing
This, of course, comes as no surprise. The pandemic has changed a lot of business models. When it comes to content marketing, 94% of respondents reported that they had to adapt their content marketing strategy because of the pandemic.
But this report does not paint a gloomy picture of content marketing during COVID-19. On the contrary, 86% reported that they were able to pivot their content strategy during the pandemic -- and 80% of those found that this helped them to succeed. Another 70% of those who had a content strategy reported making moderate to major adjustments to their strategy due to the pandemic.
When asked what changes they have made to their B2B content marketing strategy since the start of the pandemic, the top three responses in the study were...
- Changes in targeting / messaging (70%)
- Adjusted editorial calendar (64%)
- Changed content distribution / promotion strategy (53%)
This is something that all of us have been worried about. In a recent post, I delved deeper into how brands can specifically win at content marketing during a pandemic.
2. Successful Content Provides Value to Your Audience
When asked what attributed to their success in content marketing, 83% of those surveyed said it was due to the value that their content provided.
What does "valuable" content mean? This is value in the eyes of the audience. Valuable content helps an audience, whether it answers questions, keeps people abreast of the latest industry trends, or helps to solve a particular problem.
Content should never be created simply to fill a website archive. Create your content with purpose. Learn what questions your audience is asking and the problems impacting your audience. Social media, industry forums, and your own customer service department are all helpful sources to discover what content your audience wants to see.
Once you know what subjects will resonate with your audience, you need to choose a content format. Research what content formats your audience prefers, whether blog posts, videos, or podcasts. Then create content that engages.
3. Content Creation Proves to Be a Hurdle
Content marketing isn't all roses and sunshine. There are difficulties that organizations run into -- and this survey asked what the biggest challenges were. In response, 63% said that the biggest factor in their lack of success was the challenge of content creation. Whether it's writing a blog, creating a video, or crafting an infographic, it can take a lot of work to create.
How can you overcome this challenge? Invest in reliable tools to help you create the best content. With video and image creation tools such as Canva and Lumen5 you can create top notch content that showcases your industry expertise.
What about written content such as blog posts, ebooks, or white papers? If writing isn't your thing, consider handing this role over to someone else on your team who is proficient with the written word. Or invest in a good content writer or editor who can maintain the high quality of content you need.
4. The Social Media Channels That Work
Every year there seems to be new social media channels that pop onto the scene. Which ones do you choose? This latest survey noted that the top three social media channels that B2B organizations use to distribute their content include LinkedIn (96%), Facebook (82%), and Twitter (82%).
Are you on these networks? If not, it's time to seriously consider these as part of your content marketing arsenal. Each one has specific things that it brings to the table. LinkedIn is a great not only to network but also to share content and join relevant industry conversations. Facebook's reach and engagement vastly outpace other networks. And Twitter has a unique and passionate audience base that you can use to your advantage.
Let's look at a few ways that you can use each network to its fullest potential.
- LinkedIn -- Beef up your profile to best represent you and your brand and participate in industry-related groups where your skills can shine.
- Facebook -- Ensure all your information is up to date and use as many features like Facebook Live possible.
- Twitter -- Engage with your audience and share content regularly.
5. Paid Content Distribution Pays Off
We all like free stuff, but sometimes it pays to reach for your wallet. And many agree, with 72% of organizations who reported using paid content distribution channels as part of their strategy.
While there are a lot of free distribution channels, such as social media or your website, skillful use of paid distribution can help to boost your content strategy in ways that organic methods simply can't.
But not all channels are created equal. To get the best bang for your buck, do your research. Find out what paid channels and methods your target audience pays attention to and determine the paid options available on your audience's preferred channels.
What paid content channels are favored by content marketers? Here are the top 3 channels, according to the survey:
- Social media advertising / promoted posts (83%)
- Search engine marketing / pay per click (65%)
- Sponsorships, such as events, booths, and workshops (60%)
Determine how you can include these channels in your strategy. Social media and search engine marketing in particular have several effective options for targeting and reaching your audience.
Content marketing isn't going anywhere -- not even during this pandemic. We hope these B2B content marketing trends help you to make wise decisions and carve out a successful path forrward.
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