B2B Marketing recently published its 2014 Content Benchmarking report, and summarised the key points in an infographic which sparked our imagination, so we put together our top takeaways as digestible, actionable insights.
This cool, nautical themed (naturally) infographic gives an insight into current challenges faced by B2B marketers when dealing with content marketing, and reveals the following statistics:
Given that 86% of B2B marketers have been creating more content over the past 12 months, with 71% asserting that content is ‘critical’, the trend towards providing content looks here to stay. The reason behind this is that as B2B lead generation techniques go, content marketing is a highly (cost!) effective means of reaching the maximum number of potential leads. It is an elegant way to drive information hungry prospects to your website through SEO, blogging, social media or email, and then convert them with a relevant and appealing offer they won't be able to resist.
As expected, video came out on top as the most engaging format in which to present content – particularly successful within the events industry. In the world of B2B events, marketers are fortunate enough to have access to a huge amount of footage (if you do record your sessions that is), which can be repurposed to demonstrate the quality of the event, build brand awareness, and engage an audience well before they arrive at the conference venue for following events.
37% of marketers identified their biggest challenge to be engaging their target audience. If you’re not engaging, chances are you’re using the wrong channels, or your content isn’t really relevant. You need to think as your target audience does, and hang out where they do. For example, if one of your buyer personas is an older, more senior professional, don’t try to engage with them on Facebook, or possibly even Twitter – LinkedIn might be a more viable platform.
B2B marketers are ignoring analytics
This may not be news to many of you: B2B marketers do not know their lead conversion rates, and only 22% of B2B marketers believe that analytics play a critical role in the creation of effective content. A lack of knowledge or understanding around the practicalities of evaluating analytics can sometimes scare marketers into neglecting them entirely, but without accurate and relevant use of even the most basic tool, it’s almost impossible to track how engagement leads to revenue.
Failure to demonstrate ROI may lead senior management to reduce your company’s content marketing spend (and no one wants that!).
What you need to do is start small, focus on a few key metrics either at the top of the funnel or the middle, and segment content by either buyer persona or by stage of the buyer’s journey. Once you've reviewed the impact your content is having on lead conversion you'll be well equipped to demonstrate just why content marketing is key to your organisation’s marketing strategy.
Yes, marketers are drowning in content
The pressure is on and there is a sea of content out there. Getting noticed is becoming increasingly difficult simply because there is so much noise. This can cause B2B marketers to do silly things, like basing their content strategy around churning out as much content as possible, and forgetting to pay attention to the quality in the process.
Marketers can overcome the deluge by paying close attention to these four guidelines:
1. Use buyer personas
Creating buyer personas is the most efficient, foolproof way to drive an effective marketing strategy. The content you create must have one of your buyer personas in mind. It should address their most pressing challenges and painpoints, and be delivered to them in the way they consume information - not in the format that is more convenient for you.
2. Plan effectively
Worryingly, whilst 68% of companies have a content marketing strategy, 63% don't have editorial guidelines. If you identify with the latter statement, creating a best practice content guide won’t take you very long, you just need to give a clear idea of company tone of voice, style and purpose.
3. Seek out a less crowded marketplace
Email marketing, company websites and social media came out on top as the platforms marketers most frequently use to share their content. We suggest trying to engage in conversation with your audience, rather than broadcasting en masse. Take advantage of lesser used channels such as third party blogs, mobile or tablet apps, and even direct mail.
4. Analytics, analytics, analytics
Again we return to the seemingly dreaded numbers game, but analytics shouldn’t be a daunting prospect and can be hugely influential in goal setting, gaining insight into audience interests and ultimately shaping your content type, post time and chosen channels. It will also prove invaluable when demonstrating exactly how your efforts resulted in a lead being converted, or even a new customer being secured.
Content marketing: don't go overboard
Scale back your content marketing activities if you think you’re overdoing it. The scatter gun approach will leave your audience feeling as though they are being broadcasted to, or even shouted at, which will likely result in unsubscribes, decreased engagement on social or a notable reduction in website visits. Use analytics to determine which platforms, formats and posting times work for you. Most importantly, focus on quality - create something that will really resonate with your audience, making it a memorable interaction. If that means devoting the same amount of time to that single piece of content as you might usually use for three, so be it - your audience will thank you for it and the metrics will speak for themselves.
If you'd like to find out how to generate more engagement with your content, get in touch for your free marketing assessment today.
Image: Summer Skye Photography