With 2015 well underway, it’s important to start re-assessing your organisation’s content marketing approach for the year ahead – if you haven’t already! Whether you’re using a content marketing agency or do everything in-house, some of the questions you might ask yourself are:
- Was the content marketing for our business as effective as it could have been in 2014?
- How can we track the effectiveness of our content marketing?
- Which content marketing channels should we utilise?
- How can we improve our content marketing strategy over the next 12 months?
The answers to these questions, and a look at the some of the latest B2B content marketing trends, can help you formulate your strategy. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) recently issued a report about marketing benchmarks, budgets and trends, which contains some fantastic data. While the statistics quoted below are from the B2B North American report, the Australian report indicates similar results.
Here are just 5 of the B2B content marketing trends for 2015:
1. Content is still considered to be king
In the report, 86% of B2B respondents indicated that they were using content marketing, with 70% claiming that they were creating more content than they did over the previous year. Out of these respondents, 42% are publishing content daily or multiple times per week. So it appears that this form of marketing is high on the agenda across multiple industries. GE Australia vice-president of branding and communications, Emma Rugge-Price, says developing strong content with a strong distribution is vital.
“People have infinite choices when it comes to consuming or sharing content, so marketers need to think about their audiences first and be fearless critics of their own content,” Rugge-Price says. “Also, distribution shouldn’t be an afterthought. A strong distribution strategy will go a long way in ensuring your content reaches your audience and is impactful beyond the short-term.”
2. Social media (other than blogs) is considered most important
The importance of having a two-way conversation with clients is reflected by the 92% of organisations that say social media content (other than blogs) is the most popular form of content in their content marketing strategy. Olan Ahern from the Public Relations Institute of Australia says “social media ensures that a brand’s message keeps moving, creating brand exposure and grabs the attention of key influencers in its sphere. It’s a snowball effect in the form of re-tweets and likes, essentially the bigger the snowman, the more exposure for your brand.”
Social media is brilliant for opening up a direct forum between you and your clients. While it can sometimes leave you open for criticism, the opportunity to respond and address issues publicly also gives you more credibility.
According to the report, e-newsletters are also high on the priority list for B2B organisations, being used by 83% of respondents, followed by website articles (81%). Both are methods for building your brand further and highlighting your organisation’s level of expertise.
3. LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform
If you’re going to dabble with social media, the report indicates that LinkedIn is the way to go for B2B organisations. Ninety four percent of respondents are using this platform the most often, and 63% rate it as being the most effective form of social media. Twitter is next with 88% usage (55% effectiveness) and Facebook 84% (32% effectiveness). It’s interesting to note that for the Australian report, Facebook is in second place in regards to usage, followed by Twitter. However, Twitter is actually considered to be more effective than Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant (53% vs 46%).
4. Success based on website traffic
Sixty three percent of the B2B organisations surveyed use website traffic as an indication of the success of their content marketing, followed by sales lead quality (49%) and higher conversion rates (48%). With Google Analytics and other forms of website data tracking, it appears that the number of website hits is the most measurable way to assess success.
The report highlights that B2B marketers consistently cite website traffic year-on-year as the metric they look to most often—regardless of company size, effectiveness, or whether or not they have a documented strategy.
5. Time to improve the content strategy
Long story short, if you wish to be successful with content marketing, having some sort of strategy is important. Although only 35% of B2B organisations had a documented strategy, out of those organisations, 60% considered themselves to be producing effective results in content marketing.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers who have a documented strategy are overall more effective and less challenged with every aspect of content marketing when compared with their peers, who only have a verbal strategy or no strategy at all. The lesson is clear: If you want to be more effective at content marketing, it’s vital to take the time to record your strategy and follow it closely.