Conductor Spotlight recently asked 500 B2B marketers about their tactics and strategies for content marketing in 2016. We thought the results were worth sharing. Some of the findings were surprising, while others indicated best practices that many of our clients have been and will be using in the coming year. Overall, it seems like B2B content marketers are improving their game and getting on the right track.
1. Over half have content calendars.
Six out of 10 B2B content marketers have written, organized editorial calendars, with content planned out in advance. The most effective marketers have adocumented content strategy and a written plan for success, so this comes as no surprise. Part of what our consultants do is help businesses get organized using the latest planning software so there is a clear path forward for the year, while leaving a little bit of flexibility to accommodate late-breaking news.
2. Over a third reuse old content.
The survey found that 37% of B2B marketers “sometimes” reuse old content. Creating brand new, high-quality content is time-consuming and expensive. Beyond conserving resources, repurposing content increases retention and impact of crucial marketing messages. So we were surprised to see so few B2B content marketers regularly reusing old content in new ways. You could take an old blog post and turn it into an infographic or short video, for instance. One of our favorite tactics is to revamp old blogs into eBooks. Or you could share an older tidbit on social media again. We usually post the same link across all our social media outlets 7 times to hit all different audiences at different times.
3. Most marketers target their content to buyer personas.
B2B marketers are becoming more focused, with 28% of marketers targeting both buyer personas and buyer journeys. This is a smart practice, but it surprised us that 26% of marketers only used buyer personas and 9% only focused on the buyer’s journey. As Adele Ravella stated, “I’m concerned that so many people think that buyer personas begin and end with a description of a person.” Demographics mean little if you don’t understand how ready to buy a person may be. That’s why we teach companies how to automate life cycle nurturing using marketing technology. We recently shared how understanding the buyer’s journey helps SaaS companies convert more trial users into paying customers.
4. Technical SEO is widely understood.
Content marketers understand that a fast, mobile-optimized site is the foundation for all else. These days, 62% of B2B content marketers say they’re either “good” or “excellent” in technical SEO and optimization practices. Only 13% of those surveyed admitted their SEO capabilities were “poor” and in need of help.
5. They’re in the midst of utilizing technology to market smarter.
B2B marketers know they need to be on the ball with the right technology to market more effectively. While they all understand the need for marketing automation, they rated their use of this technology a 6 out of 10, meaning there is still a ways to go. Not surprisingly, the marketers who were best equipped with the right tools and using data for decision making were the most effective content marketers.
6. They’re keeping tabs on competitors.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world for most B2B industries and 36% of marketers know that because they’re frequently monitoring the competition. Those who checked say they did so once a month or more. Surprisingly, 26% said they don’t run reports on the competition at all. Our consultants can help you dig up insights into industry best practices, as well as missed areas of opportunity to capture greater market share, with a competitive analysis.
7. Blogs and videos are still the dominant mediums of choice.
Whitepapers recently joined blogs and video as the top types of content used by B2B content marketers. Their least favorite or least used mediums included spreadsheets and eBooks. On one hand, eBooks could be more expensive or time-consuming to create because they’re longer and more in-depth, but by the same token, eBook guides to their products could be a fantastic and useful resource for prospects in the later stages of the buyer’s journey. Many B2B customers fail to use trials or abandon them without converting, for instance, because they fail to truly understand the product and all the different ways to use it. Sure, videos and tutorials can be good for this, but an eBook is another way to hit the crowd that may want to skim through a more thorough explanation. We also use eBooks for our clients as an opt-in to expand targeted email marketing lists.
8. B2B Marketers are moving in the right direction, but could do better.
Conductor Spotlight analysts conclude that B2B marketers are moving toward adopting and using many of the best practices for content marketing. However, there are still gaps to be filled in the use of new technology and personalized content. Contact a strategic marketing partner at Mod Girl Marketing, we’ll help you discover the best tools and strategies to improve your content strategy.
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