If you thought content marketing was a passing marketing trend, think again. Research by Statista suggests that B2B marketers are taking content marketing more seriously than ever in 2022. That research shows that 66% of marketers surveyed will increase their content marketing investment over the next 12 months. Furthermore, 20% of those marketers will increase that investment by 10% or more.
So why are B2B marketers investing so much in content marketing?
Changing B2B Buying Habits
In many ways, B2B marketers are mirroring trends previously adopted in B2C marketing circles. B2B marketers have concluded that B2B buyers aren’t so different from their B2C counterparts. People buy from people they like and trust, and a great way to win that trust is to be as open and transparent about your product or service as possible.
Trust can be a significant issue when it comes to B2B sales. Many buyers simply don’t trust salespeople anymore. Many hate being sold to by people they believe are primarily motivated by sales quotas and potentially pressuring them into making a commitment that they might not be ready to make. They want to feel like they have done their own research and any interaction with a sales professional is simply in an advisory or administrative role as their orders are processed.
How Do You Buy B2B Solutions?
Most B2B buying decisions are made around solving a particular problem in your business. Unless a sales professional has personal experience with that problem (and most don’t), they may struggle to empathize with your needs. That’s where expert-led content comes into its own.
If you think about how you typically start looking for solutions to business problems, it probably begins with a quick search on Google or YouTube or a question to a group on social media. Your clients will most likely follow a similar route. If you don’t have the content readily available to find or share, your competitors will.
When clients have all the information they need to make a buying decision, price becomes less of an issue. Buyers are more interested in how a product or service helps them reach their objectives. Great content doesn’t panic and suddenly drop prices at the end of the month and instantly devalue your offering.
In any competitive market, the organization that publishes the best quality information demonstrating the value of its product/service and highlighting its thought leadership is likely to win the lion’s share of customer interest.
If you think about any product or service, there will typically be a small number of organizations that own the conversation around their industry. As a result, these companies rarely need to introduce themselves to their potential client base and can charge a premium for their products or services. Conversely, businesses that are not so active in the conversation will always appear further down in the pecking order.
It’s also worth remembering that your content (or lack of it) will not only have to compete with your competitors’ output—your content will also have to hold its own against a constant flood of professionally published and user-generated content, including product reviews, product/service comparisons, online forums, and social media posts. If you are not publishing content in a timely fashion, there’s a real chance that your content will be pushed down the major search engine results pages in favor of content that you have zero control over.
Avoid the Gatekeepers
The days of media gatekeepers such as trade magazines and newspaper publishers, local and national television and radio broadcasters, and event organizers having complete control over the way information is distributed and consumed are over.
This is good news. While any content marketing effort will require an investment in time and money, B2B marketers are no longer obliged to grease the wheels of media coverage with over-priced advertising or stroking journalists’ egos with no guarantee of success.
Every B2B marketer is now a publisher, broadcaster, and event organizer. Marketers have precisely the same access to affordable and accessible routes to market that were once the sole preserve of large media companies. You probably possess everything you need to reach a massive audience with your content in the palm of your hand on your smartphone.
If you find it challenging to regularly publish relevant, timely, and engaging content, you are probably looking for an excuse not to do it.
Content Keeps Working for You
Unlike many other marketing strategies, content keeps working for you long after its initial deployment. For example, a paid search campaign will stop delivering results when you stop spending money on it. An email campaign might have a shelf-life of a day or so—although the bulk of your engagement will happen in the hour after you send it. Similarly, the useful lifespan of a social media post might just be a few minutes—that’s if your chosen social network’s algorithm allows it to be seen by anybody.
Great content provides a perfect destination that all of your other marketing campaigns can direct prospects towards. Moreover, it remains visible and discoverable for many weeks, months, and potentially years after its initial deployment.
Compelling content will also be shared widely by your clients and prospects, who will be keen to ride on the coattails of your thought leadership.
The good news is, that it doesn’t matter how old the content is. As long as it remains relevant and engaging, it will appear fresh in the eyes of anyone who has never seen it before. This makes carefully crafted content excellent evergreen fuel for email marketing drip campaigns and marketing automation strategies.
It would be remiss in writing an article about content marketing without referring to the phenomenon known as “content shock.”
Content shock refers to the sheer volume of content being produced. This might make it difficult for your content to be seen and consumed in a crowded, competitive market.
However, there is a simple answer to the problem of content shock—the best quality content will always rise to the top of the pile. Using the Pareto principle (80/20 rule), it’s also important to remember that 80% of your traffic will come from just 20% of your content. Therefore, it’s important not to become disheartened if not all of your content creates significant traction.
You should also remember that Google loves fresh, high-quality content. So if you want your content to really resonate with your audience, you better commit to an ongoing production schedule.
Do you need help building your content marketing strategy? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.