Recent B2B content marketing research reveals some of the obstacles marketers face, as well as strategies needed to overcome those challenges. Does your strategy have what it takes?
As more and more marketers develop their own content strategies, the marketing industry receives an increasing amount of feedback. This makes it easier to find out what works, what doesn’t, and how the industry will change in the coming months and years.
Recent research and statistics provide clear indications about where the industry is headed in 2015.
B2B Content Marketing: Research and Takeaways
Going forward, we’ll continue to see B2B marketing evolve to meet the changing needs of its customers.
Here is some data that gives some insight into what content marketing will look like in 2015:
- LinkedIn adds two new members every second. This professional networking platform continues to expand its advertising, search, and publication possibilities. Currently, it offers one of the most effective ways to publish content and use that content to market to other businesses.
Takeaway – Businesses that aren’t on LinkedIn should get on board and explore its evolving content publication features. This is currently the largest professional network in the world, though it will have a competitor soon…
- In 2015, expect to see more B2B content on Facebook. When Facebook at Work – a professional network with collaborative tools – launches, expect to see it grow rapidly. Currently, Facebook is an ideal content distribution outlet for B2C companies, and the social network will most likely gain significant market share by leveraging its current user base and other software assets.
Takeaway – A successful content marketing strategy is an agile one. Facebook at Work will likely become a significant competitor in the space and may have the potential to replace LinkedIn as the top professional network. B2B marketers should watch it closely.
- Social media isn’t just social. In fact, 93% of marketers use social media for business. This is yet another reason to expect even more B2B content marketing through social media channels. Currently, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are the most popular B2B content distribution networks – in that order.
Takeaway – Businesses have been on social media since they first became popular, and that will remain true in 2015. Marketers that wish to have a competitive B2B strategy will create content that can be distributed across social media, as well as blogs and other outlets.
- Marketers claim they are producing more content than ever. In a recent report, B2B marketers claimed they were creating more content than ever. Compared to a year previously, 70% of the survey’s respondents claimed they were creating “more” or “significantly more” content.
Takeaway – If you want to be heard, you’ve got to make a lot of noise. To keep up with competitors and stay visible, it will be necessary to create regular output.
- In the same report, more content marketers claim documented strategies improves success. Around 60% of marketers with documented strategies claimed their strategies were effective, versus 32% of those who didn’t document. Also, 21% of non-documenters stated that they were able to calculate ROI, versus 35% of those who did document.
Takeaway – To improve results and increase accountability, designing, developing, and documenting the strategy will begin to catch on. Only 5% of marketers stated they were “very successful” at tracking ROI, so as content marketing becomes mainstream, we should see more emphasis on tracking and calculating ROI.
- The highest-ranking content is long. According to Neil Patel, longer content is king. A serpIQ analysis of 20,000 keywords revealed that the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has over 2,000 words. The top 3 results had around 2,500 words a piece.
Takeaway – Longer content is, almost by definition, more in-depth than shorter content. Moving forward into 2015, content marketers will begin to realize that quality, value-adding content is what builds brand awareness, thought leadership, and trust.
- B2B marketers will keep putting more money into mobile in 2015. While mobile-first is the mantra for the B2C world, the B2B world is quickly catching on. Although there are still challenges to face, such as a lack of understanding of mobile marketing, mobile is clearly the frontier for B2B content marketing.
Takeaway – Fortunately, many of the content delivery systems, such as Facebook or websites, can be readily adapted to mobile devices. Reconciling, however, the need for quality content, the short-form nature of mobile content, and the on-the-go B2B customer, will remain a challenge. Perhaps the biggest potential lies in apps that push B2B content through a multi-device marketing funnel, including desktops, smartphones, and even wearable technology.
The future of content marketing will depend greatly on the prevailing technology and the way that businesses use software to communicate and collaborate.
In 2015, social media such as LinkedIn – and perhaps Facebook at Work – will stay on center stage as content distribution platforms, followed closely by email, blogs, and other standard channels. The biggest change we will see will be in the strategies that content marketers use: there will be more documentation, more quantity, more quality, and more effective strategies.