B2B Content marketing started out as a new trend, and some even wondered if it would quickly pass and burn out. But slowly, it transformed from a shiny new object to the gold standard. In fact, Seth Godin calls content marketing “the only marketing left,” because it fits so perfectly with members of the internet generation, who turn their attention online every time they want to learn more about a product or service.
Many B2B marketers are investing heavily in this type of marketing today, but still ask: What’s the best way forward and what are the essentials we need to know about content marketing? Here are 27 interesting facts to consider.
The Current Environment
- Business decision makers love content. Eighty percent of business decision makers prefer to receive company information in a series of articles versus in an advertisement.
- The buyer journey is going digital. Sixty-seven percent of the typical B2B buyer journey is now completed digitally, and nine out of 10 B2B buyers say that online content has a moderate-to-major effect on their purchasing decisions.
- Brands are creating large amounts of content. Sixty percent of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.
- The majority of marketers say they expect to produce more content next year. Seventy percent of marketers said they plan to produce more content in the following year.
- Most companies are more committed to content marketing than they were a year ago. Sixty-two percent report they are now very committed to content marketing.
- Many marketers worry that they’re not successful enough. Twenty-two percent of those surveyed reported they were “minimally successful” with their current content-marketing approach.
- Few marketers have a documented content-marketing strategy. Only 37 percent of marketers have a documented content-marketing strategy for their businesses.
Key takeaway: Most marketers are creating some types of content marketing, and they’re doing so at an increasing rate. However, more than one-third of these marketers don’t have a documented strategy in place. Consider creating one to align with your consistent efforts and to ensure that each dollar you spend is maximized.
Content Marketing Challenges
- A divide between marketing and sales still exists. According to IDC, more than 40 percent of marketing materials are not used by sales teams.
- Measuring content-marketing ROI is a top challenge for marketers. Fifty-two percent of B2B content marketers report that measuring ROI is among their top challenges, suggesting that more than half sometimes have difficulty proving that content marketing is successful.
- Marketers contend with not having enough time. Fifty-two percent of marketers say that stagnant success with content marketing is linked to “not having enough time to devote to content marketing.”
- Marketers are struggling to create content-marketing strategies. Nearly half of B2B marketers, 49 percent, say that stagnant success over the past year is due to lack of strategy or their trouble coming up with an adequate strategy.
- Some content marketers feel they aren’t making progress. Twenty-eight percent say their success is about the same as one year ago.
Key takeaway: Many marketers aren’t sure if they’re creating the right type of content or how to measure that content’s results. At the start of each new project, identify key metrics to measure success and use those metrics to guide your efforts.
Types of Content Created
- Most B2B marketers are creating ongoing blog content. Eighty percent use blogs in their content-marketing strategy.
- The majority of content marketers deploy email newsletters to connect with prospects and clients. Seventy-seven percent send email newsletters as part of their content-marketing strategy.
- Over half of marketers create infographics. Fifty-eight percent use infographics to connect with their audiences.
- Video is stealing the show. Seventy-nine percent of internet traffic will be video content by 2018.
- Many B2B marketers are not using video to connect with their customers yet. Only 60 percent of B2B marketers are using video to reach their customers.
Key takeaway: Data shows that prospects and customers want more video content, yet not all marketers are creating it. Test video content to determine whether it resonates with your target audience and then measure the results.
The Results of Content Marketing
- Content marketing is a cost-effective marketing strategy. Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
- Higher traffic is generated from this type of marketing. Content-marketing leaders produce 7.8 times more site traffic than do non-leaders.
- Content marketing generates higher conversion rates. Content-marketing adopters have conversion rates that are almost six times higher than their competitors’ conversion rates.
- Long-form content is highly effective. Content of between 3,000 and 10,000 words receives the most social shares — even though publishers are producing 16 times more short-form content than long-form content.
- Higher quality and more efficient content creation are ranked as top factors for successful companies. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said that creating high-quality content and having an efficient process for creating content increased their overall success over the past year.
Key takeaway: LinkedIn’s Senior Content Marketing Manager Jason Miller said, “Content marketing is no longer a numbers game. It’s a game of relevance.” This type of marketing can be highly effective, but it’s important to start with the customers — and an understanding of their pain points and the types of content they need most. Create the exceptional content that they crave and define key metrics for success up front. Check out our podcast episode “The Essential Organic B2B Marketing Strategies for LinkedIn in 2018” to learn more!
The Future of Content Marketing
- Content-marketing budgets are getting bigger. Ninety-three percent of brand marketers plan to maintain or increase their budget for content marketing in the coming year.
- Repurposing is on the rise. Nearly 60 percent of marketers reuse content two to five times.
- The majority of CMOs say that content marketing is the future. Seventy-eight percent of CMOs believe that custom content is the future of marketing.
- The majority of marketers expect to create more original content in the next year. Seventy percent of marketers said they expected to create more original B2B content in the next 12 months.
- Blogs and email newsletters are said to be most critical in the following year. Fifty-two percent of B2B marketers said that blog posts could be most critical to content success in the following year, and 40 percent said that email newsletters would be essential.
Key takeaway. Ann Handley, content-marketing keynote speaker and best-selling author said, “You need to create ridiculously good content — content that is useful, enjoyable, and inspired.” The future will include an increasing amount of content, but it’s most important to create the content that your audience craves most and then deliver it through the channels where they spend the most time.
A Few Final Words
The customer is always at the center of content-marketing efforts. What are your customers’ burning pain points now, and how can you position your product or service as the solution to these problems through your content-marketing efforts? Leo Burnett famously said, “What helps people, helps business.” Content marketing is intended to help your customers, so when you stay focused on that goal, the results and revenue will follow.
What is your favorite content-marketing statistic? Please share it below!