B2B Content Marketing Trends
Content marketing is a key part of any B2B marketing strategy. Before we dive into trends, let's ground ourselves as to what content marketing actually is. In short, content marketing is the creation and distribution of ANY form of content that would resonate with a company's target persona or ideal customer profile with the goal of generating brand awareness or educating the buyer.
When thinking about your content marketing strategy, you need to consider three things:
- Will the messaging of my content resonate with the target audience?
- What content format should I use?
- What channels should I distribute the content through?
Content & Messaging
It’s critical that the messaging of your content resonates with your target audience. Without clear messaging, it does not matter what format your content is or how well you distribute the content. You’ll be wasting time, money, and effort without first nailing this. The best way to get your messaging right is simple - have conversations with your target audience and decision-makers. Listen to the words they use, how they describe their current pains, and ask for feedback on the content you’re planning on creating.
There are a few ways to quickly test the messaging of your content, but it depends on your situation:
- If buyers are already aware of your brand and you have some form of a following, posting on social media is a great way to see how your content will resonate (assuming your audience is on social media).
- If your buyers are NOT on social media, and you have a large enough email database, email marketing is a great way to test your content for no cost.
- If you have a high volume of website traffic to your site already, you can do A/B testing on your messaging on specific landing pages.
- If you have none of the above, paid advertising such as LinkedIn Paid Ads or Google Search Paid Ads can give you quick insights.
There is a limit to the types of content formats you have at your disposal but choosing the right format can have major impacts. For example, short-form video typically performs 2-3x better than any other format on LinkedIn when it comes to impressions and engagement. But maybe your buyer doesn’t like video and prefers lengthy educational content- in that case, short-form may not have any material impact. So what are the forms of content you should consider? See some examples below:
- Webinar or virtual event
- Webinar recording
- Educational videos
- Product demonstrations
- Training videos
- Clip of a conversation on a webinar
- Promo videos
- “How-to” videos
- Product feature demonstrations
- Educational landing pages
- Industry reports
- Case studies
- Conversation summaries
- Clips from podcasts
You’ve nailed your messaging, and you’ve created content in what you believe to be the best format, now it's time for distribution. But how do you know where to distribute your content? If you’re continually having conversations with your target audience you should know WHERE they consume content. It’s also important to also nail down the FREQUENCY of content distribution for each of these marketing channels to avoid your marketing campaign from coming off as spammy or annoying. Below are some examples of distribution channels:
- Direct Mail
- Social Media Platforms (ex. LinkedIn)
- Paid Search
- Paid Ads
- Search Engine Results (naturally, content impacts SEO)
- Podcasts Apps
- Virtual events/webinars
- In-person events
Content Marketing Trends
Heading into 2023, some new content marketing trends are emerging in the B2B marketing space. While trends tend to come and go, some of these tactics and strategies are bearing fruit for many organizations and have a strong return on investment.
Short-Form Video Content
With the rise of Youtube Shorts and Tiktok, short-form video is beginning to dominate as the number one content format in 2023. There are many new marketing tools that have made video content creation easier than ever before- allowing B2B companies, not just B2C, to create video content at scale. Many companies are taking advantage of repurposing their long-form content into many pieces of short-form content. They’re making it more interactive, high-quality, and yield big results. If you already have a webinar or virtual event program, implementing short-form video content into your overall marketing strategy is a no-brainer.
Creating content that immediately provides value to B2B buyers is becoming more and more common- and for good reason. Today’s B2B buyer is doing a lot of research on their own before ever requesting a product demo or making a purchase decision. They have a problem and want a solution. But sometimes they don’t NEED your product, or any product, but rather just an answer or some guidance. This is where value-add content comes in. Providing potential customers with answers, guidance, strategies, and ideas is still valuable to them. Over time your buyer will associate your product or company as a trusted source and leader in the space so that when they DO have a problem your solution solves, you’ll be first on the list for them to evaluate.
Interactive content has always existed but new technologies are taking it to a whole new level. Digital marketing teams are now building hyper-engaging experiences for their target audience - interactive product demos and self-guided tours, business calculators, and moving content from a PDF to a dynamic landing page. All of these examples allow a company to tell a more robust story about its product and how it can help solve the buyer's problem. Organizations that have the resources to focus their marketing efforts here have seen many of their performance metrics improve (time on page, conversion rates, acquisition costs, etc).
There are still some marketing trends from last year that are continuing to grow, such as influencer marketing, but for 2023 interactive content, value-add content, and short-form video content will be the trends that grow the most and likely what sets apart B2B brands and organizations. As mentioned above, before trying any of these marketing strategies or trends, make sure you deeply understand who your buyer is, what they care about, and nail your messaging.