With its unmatched effectiveness and considerable ROI it delivers, it is no wonder why content marketing is becoming more and more popular among B2B companies nowadays. In fact, the recently released annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends from Content Marketing Institute revealed that 70% of B2B marketers have a much/somewhat more success in content marketing than in 2017.
Indeed, content marketing plays an extremely crucial role in today’s digital marketing realm, especially if put into B2B marketing context where audience engagement and interaction is more complex. As with other weapons in the digital marketing arsenal, content marketing strategy should be continuously honed and fine-tuned in order for it to deliver maximum results.
To help you update your strategy and stay ahead in your competition, we’ve compiled in this infographic the top B2B content marketing trends you need to watch out for in 2019.
1. Majority of B2B Content Marketers Still Don’t Have Documented Strategy
Only 39% of surveyed B2B content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, which is quite a shock given that it’s a vital component of a successful content marketing campaign.
In fact, the report found that 65% (vs. 62% in 2018) of the most successful B2B content marketers who document their content marketing strategy outperforms 32% of those who don’t.
Those who have a documented content marketing strategy cites the following benefits for doing so:
- Aligns team around common goals
- Makes it easier to determine which type of content to develop
- Keeps the team focused on documented priorities
- Helps team allocate resources to optimize desired results
- Provides clarity on the targeted audience
- Creates accountability
- Makes it easier to identify which metrics to focus on
- Yields more accurate budgetary information
2. Video As The Top Content Format
64% of all surveyed B2B content marketers reported they increased their use of audio/visual content such as videos, live streaming, and webinars in their content marketing efforts. It is followed by written digital content such as articles and blogs (61%), and images such as infographics, photos, charts, and GIFs (56%)
However, CMI advised B2B content marketers not to assume that content types with less utilization are not important for their organization. For instance, while the usage of audio-only digital content has only increased 38%, more than half (54%) of respondents reported that their investment to such content type remained the same.
3. Email Marketing and Educational Content – Leading Methods for Lead Nurturing
77% of most successful B2B content marketers (55% all respondents) reported that they had used content marketing to successfully nurture subscribers and leads.
Of the plethora of content marketing methods available, 87% of B2B content marketers used email to nurture their audience. It is followed by educational content at 77%, and clear calls-to-action for next steps at 62%.
Meanwhile, only about a quarter (23%) of all respondents used Community Building and Audience participation to nurture their audiences. While email and informative content pieces are effective in nurturing prospects and subscribers, B2B content marketers should consider combining them with community building, since 27.3% of customers use an online community dedicated to the product or service when researching a product.
4. Sales and Analytics Feedback – Top Sources for Audience Research
When it comes to targeting the right audience, detailed audience research is always warranted. According to CMI report, sales team feedback (74%) and website analytics (73%) are the top techniques B2B marketers use when researching their target audience.
Meanwhile, only 42% reported that they talk directly with their customers to gather more intel about them – this despite the fact that first-hand knowledge from real customers are the most accurate source of audience data a business could possibly get a hand with to improve their targeting efforts.
5. Majority of B2B Marketers Use Paid Distribution Channels
66% of B2B marketers reported that they had used paid methods to distribute content in the last 12 months. Those respondents used paid content distribution channels to attract a new audience (80%) and to generate traffic when an organic search isn’t producing results (65%).
Due to the declining organic reach of most platforms, more and more B2B marketers rely on paid promotions, especially social media. In fact, 70% of the respondents that used paid content distribution invested in sponsored content on social media, followed by Search Engine Marketing (64%), and banner ads (53%)
6. Prioritizing Audience’s Informational Needs Seen as Key to Success
Another interesting insight from the CMI report are the differences in how the most and least successful B2B content marketers approach to content creation – the process in which 56% of respondents have increased spending in the last 12 months.
According to the report, 90% of the most successful B2B content marketers have prioritized their audience’s informational needs in their sales/promotional messages vs. 56% of the least successful B2B content marketers that do the same. Furthermore, only 33% of the least successful B2B content marketers take into account storytelling into their content creation process while 69% of the most successful B2B content marketers do so.
7. Changes in Search Algorithm As The Most Important Content Marketing Issue
The year 2018 was a challenging year for most B2B content marketers, and 2019 will be no different. The CMI report also detailed the top issues of importance facing B2B marketers, in which changes to SEO/search algorithm tops the chart (61%), followed by changes to social media algorithms (45%), and content marketing as revenue center (41%).
Meanwhile, a significant minority of the respondents cited AI (14%) and voice search (13%) as a concern, even though these topics have been thoroughly discussed in digital marketing realm for the past year.
Overall, content marketing is still a go-to strategy for most companies that aim to improve their brand awareness, build trust among their audience, and generate demand for their products and services.
While some companies are experiencing some growth hiccups along the way, more and more are learning to fully take advantage of content marketing by documenting their strategy and having a reliable digital marketing partner that understand their content marketing goals.
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