Content has taken a crucial position in the B2B marketer’s overall strategy. With the dissemination of technology and destruction of knowledge barriers, very often, content becomes the source for a competitive advantage. In fact, 82% of all B2B marketers plan to increase their content production over the next 12 months.
The 2013 B2B Content Marketing Trends Report by the B2B Technology Marketing Company, a LinkedIn channel partner, estimates that 71.3% of marketers publish content primarily to generate more leads; 49.9% of marketers do so to establish thought leadership or educate their customers; 45% of them do so to acquire customers outright; 41% do so to increase brand awareness; and 35.4% of them do so to nurture leads.
However, not all content works. Only good and effective content will attract attention. So, what constitutes good and effective content? Here are a few tips:
B2B marketers have traditionally relied on academic-oriented content mediums such as white papers. The popularity of this material, however, is on the decline, and people now prefer interactive and easily digestible content formats. In 2013, customer testimonials and case studies rank as the two most popular content mediums, with 89% and 88% of the marketers considering these formats as the most effective ones. White papers, which ranked very high in the past, now take sixth position, behind in-person events, online articles and videos. A sharply written blog post that promotes active discussion within the target group is now generally more effective than a white paper.
The best content is content that is relevant to the audience. 71% of marketers consider audience relevance as the most important characteristic of good and effective content. Engaging and compelling story-telling (56%), and content that triggers a response (55.7%) come next, followed by content which effectively delivers a message (40%), originality (24%), and re-usability (17.6%). The best content speaks from the customer’s point of view and focuses on how the product would solve the customer’s problem(s) rather than gloat about the product or brand itself.
Based on the trends, people now increasingly prefer simple content. The overriding preference in content style is clarity and transparency over everything else.
Photo courtesy of Philip Bitnar via Flickr.