As marketers and entrepreneurs we’re always looking for the next “hack”.
We all want that one insight or “cheat” that will make our lives easier, make our companies more efficient, or make ourselves and our businesses more successful.
In pursuit of this we go to conferences and take acres of notes, we watch YouTube videos of TED Talks for hours, and we read books by the founders of the world’s great companies.
But sometimes, the best hack is just to look at the data.
The Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report 2019 is freshly out – and it provides some stunning insights into how the most successful B2B companies are running their content marketing operations.
If you’re in a B2B company, this report is absolutely brimming with data and direction to help your business win using content marketing.
How the most successful businesses are content marketing
This year the Content Marketing Institute has changed the way it compiles its report. This means you can see what the most successful companies are doing and, right alongside that, you can see what the least successful companies are doing. That has created some high-quality data, with some great insights.
Let’s take a look at some of the key findings, at a glance.
Even from this, it’s easy to see some of the qualities of the businesses that have been most successful with their content marketing. You can see that these companies are:
- Committed (publishing regularly, at a high quality)
- Using a documented strategy (they have a plan in place and stick to it)
- Measuring their return on investment (so they can see what works and do more of it).
What are the most successful companies using content marketing to do?
What are they using content marketing to do for their businesses? Seventy-six per cent are using it to nurture and grow their subscribers/audience and business leads. Seventy-three per cent are using it to build loyalty with existing customers. Remember these figures relate only to companies doing this successfully.
How are they achieving this? Here are five useful insights.
The lesson here is, if you’re going to engage in content marketing activity:
- You want your audience to view you as credible (so provide them with something they want; don’t hit them with sales pitches)
- Invest in creativity and quality (it pays off)
- Believe in your strategy (and stick to it)
- Know what you want to achieve (and a huge part of that should be building your audience)
- Know who can help you achieve it (and work with them).
How do I get B2B content marketing right?
The most successful B2B companies doing content marketing have a few key things in common. They craft quality content – in the right format – and know where, how, and when to deliver it.
In other words, they have a proper, documented strategy in place and they follow it.
What kinds of content should I create for my B2B company?
Every company and every audience is different. What works really well for one brand in one industry may not work so well for another brand in another industry. But here is how the most successful B2B companies have changed their use of content across six major areas in the past year.
How effective is each type of content for B2B companies?
Again, how effective each type of content is depends on how well it is executed, who the audience is, and a whole host of other variables – all of which should be thoroughly investigated and outlined in a documented strategy.
But, it’s useful to take a look at this chart from the Content Marketing Institute, which shows which forms of content B2B companies have found most effective for particular stages of the buyer journey. In other words, these are the types of content that work best for your audience, depending on how close they are to buying your product or service.
Those are some invaluable insights. You can craft a strategy around this information.
Perhaps you create blog posts to help potential customers in the awareness stage of their buying cycle, then write white papers to give them deeper information as they consider making a purchase and then, finally, provide case studies to show clearly how your product or service has achieved wildly fantastic things for your existing clients.
The simplest B2B content marketing hack of all
Content marketing isn’t easy, but it can be incredibly effective. It’s one of those marketing methods that really rewards effort – no matter your budget.
While there is much more to consider than has been outlined here, there is one hack that has been a constant thread throughout this article: if you want to do be successful at content marketing, it’s vital to have a documented strategy.
Work with a professional content marketing strategist to discover:
- Whom your audience really is (in quite some detail)
- What kinds of content they like to consume (and you should be creating)
- Where they’re hanging out (where you need to share your content)
- What kinds of messages they want/need to hear (and don’t want to hear)
- How to engage with and grow this audience (and become a trusted brand)
- How to convert them into customers (and keep them).
If you want to know more about content marketing strategy, get in touch with Lush — The Content Agency. Our team can help you with all your content marketing needs, from strategy through to content creation and distribution. Get in touch.