Business-to-business buyers report they now rely more heavily on content to do their research before making purchase decisions.
Two-thirds of those B2B buyers are turning to the content of industry “influencers” for that advice, while 78 per cent admit placing a higher emphasis on the trustworthiness of the source, and 84 per cent are accessing that information on their smartphone.
That’s according to the 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report, released by Demand Gen in April, and the message for companies in the B2B space could not be clearer – if you’re not creating content, you’re probably missing out on a lot of business.
What content are B2B buyers engaging with?
We’ll answer the question posed by the headline on this blog post in just a second, but before we do, here are some key take-outs from the survey that every B2B company owner and marketer should heed.
- 74% of B2B buyers are sharing blog posts with their colleagues
- 71% said they consumed a blog during the purchase process
- Buyers want to spend no more than five minutes viewing content in most formats
- 76% of buyers said they found infographics useful in the early stages of a purchase
- 79% of buyers have used case studies in the past year.
Here are some other preferred forms of content, according to the survey.
FURTHER READING: 4 fabulous benefits to content marketing
What does the report tell us about B2B content marketing?
So, how do B2B marketers and business owners take advantage of the insights the Content Preferences Survey provides?
Lush – The Content Agency’s director of content strategy, Sarah Mitchell, has provided four key take-outs for anyone wanting to leverage the insights from the report.
1. Get back to blogging
“The report clearly proves, at least for B2B audiences, old-school marketing is alive and kicking,” she said.
“Brands should absolutely be investing in blogging because nearly three-quarters of the respondents say they rely on the information in blogs and share it with their colleagues. No other form of content performed better.”
2. Build trust with your audience
“I’m delighted more people are looking for content they can trust,” Sarah said. “It gives brands an ideal opportunity to take a ‘brand journalism’ approach to their content. I don’t know many content marketers who enjoy spin, so this report gives us permission to do better, more satisfying work. That’s exactly what Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi advise in their latest book, Killing Marketing.
Listen to Robert Rose talk to Sarah Mitchell about Kill Marketing on this special episode of the Brand Newsroom podcast.
FURTHER READING: How to build a brand newsroom
3. Peer reviews and influencers are vital
Regardless of what we say about our products and services, what other people say is super important. The report shows the rise of peer review sites continues as more B2B buyers say peer reviews are hugely important.
“This makes a great case for case studies and customer-success stories written in a feature style,” Sarah said. “Again, it’s an opportunity for brand journalism. With 79 per cent of the respondents saying they had read a case study in the past year, why wouldn’t you invest in developing more of them for your business?
“The big takeaway for me is get other people to sing your praises.”
FURTHER LISTENING: The dos and don’ts of influencer marketing
4. Have a strategy behind your content
Sarah said it was encouraging to see most B2B buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before making a purchase decision.
“It’s a fantastic indication that marketers need a strategy before they start content marketing,” she said.
“If people are looking for information on your website or social channel, they’re going to want to see quite a bit of it. And, they’re going to want to see relevant information grouped together. That’s going to take effort on the part of the business to provide a variety of thoughtful content for each product or service and at several different stages of the buyer journey.”
If you’d like to learn more about how to succeed in B2B content marketing, or want to know more about a content marketing strategy, get in touch with Sarah directly here.