Looking down the barrel of a business-to-business (B2B) content marketing plan can be stressful. At a glance, there are no million click searches, no natural content funnel, and no magic conversion formula (“thanks for reading the blog, please sign a six figure contract” doesn’t exactly work.)
But when you get it right, B2B content marketing can have a huge impact on the success of your organization. Whether you’re looking to speed up the sales cycle, find new audiences, or warm leads more effectively, a content marketing strategy can help.
B2B Audience Information
Whether you’re building B2B buyer personas or just staying up to date, get to know the state of your buyers with these statistics.
Millennials make 73% of all B2B buying decisions. (Forrester)
Millennials aren’t the interns anymore. If you’re still aiming all of your B2B content at an older generation, you may not be speaking to the right people. Nearly two thirds of decision makers are in the 30-40 age range. This could be great news, because millennials are digital natives. They’re used to using the internet to seek out solutions to their problems, and they know how to recognize authority on digital platforms.
54% of decision-makers say they spend more than an hour every week reading thought-leadership pieces (LinkedIn-Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study)
Decision-makers spend a good amount of time reading thought leadership articles, but they don’t always like what they read. The same study found that 70% thought that nearly half of the thought-leadership pieces they read delivers no valuable information. While this is a split bag, what it tells us is that good thought leadership is a powerful tool—but thought leadership for the sake of thought leadership only serves your own ego. When crafting thought leadership for your B2B organization, make sure you’re adding value to a conversation.
Most B2B marketers try to differentiate from the competition with content quality (83%) and by covering untapped topics/stories (72%) (CMI).
Let “adding to the conversation” be your guide as you craft B2B content of all types in 2023. One way to ensure your content is more than repetition of already existing advice is to seek out subject matter experts as writers. Freelancers who are already well-versed in your business area will be able to add a unique perspective to a topic beyond what is already published elsewhere. When it comes to quality, remember that when it comes to content writers you often get what you pay for. You might pay more to hire subject matter experts with writing experience, but your content will stand out from the pack.
55% of B2B buyers say a piece of thought-leadership content has one minute to capture their interest. (LinkedIn-Edelmann)
Whether it’s B2B or B2C, readers’ attention spans are limited. Ideal content marketing should be a blend of useful information, a defined perspective, and thoughtful structure so your audience remains engaged and wants to learn more. On the note of attention spans: Top performing B2B content assets in 2021 and 2022 were short articles (less than 3,000 words), videos, and virtual events/webinars/online courses (CMI).
Content Marketing ROI Statistics
Is content marketing still worth it? Especially in the world of B2B marketing, it seems it is!
54% of sales agents admit that contacting prospects now is harder than five years ago. (Sales Insight Labs)
The age of the cold call (or email, or LinkedIn message) is over, the time of content marketing has come. Sales departments don’t want to bother prospects either. An engaged audience helps deals get closed without turning off prospects with constant sales pressure.
52% of buyers are more inclined to purchase from vendors after reading their content. (focus vision)
Again, sales are a dish best served warm. B2B content acts as an introduction long before shaking hands with a new client. Consider high-quality content designed with your audience in mind a smile from across the room—easy to ignore, but charming if the other party is interested.
The most effective B2B marketers spend 39% of their total budget on content. (TopRankBlog)
While a strong content strategy is anything but slapdash, statistics suggest it’s one of the more affordable channels across industries. According to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, while generating about three times more leads. There is no out-bidding the Google algorithm, just an investment in reusable assets that can continue to perform long after they’ve been created.
To blog, or not to blog, that is the question. And since the answer is yes, what to blog about? Here are some stats on different B2B content marketing strategies.
76% of B2B marketers blog, and 73% publish case studies. (CMI)
See, I told you the answer to blogging was yes. Blogs provide useful information at the beginning of the buyers’ journey. More than 67% of B2B content marketers invest most of their time and resources in top-of-the-funnel content creation, according to Databox.) Case studies provide hard proof of your businesses value and use cases, making it very helpful when your audience enters the decision stage.
87% of B2B marketers prioritize the audience’s informational needs over the organization’s sales/promotional messages (CMI).
In B2B marketing, generating “social proof” is an important aspect of establishing your authority and gaining the trust of prospects. As such, it’s important to reign in the self promotion sometimes. Instead of making every blog post about how your company is single-handedly changing the world, write about helpful topics that relate to the needs of your target demographic.
B2B marketers with a documented strategy are more likely to consider themselves effective. ( CMI)
It should come as no surprise that having a plan feels more effective than flying by the seat of your pants. Crafting a B2B-specific content strategy can help keep your content plan moving, your audience engaged and your pipeline full.
When it comes to content distribution, B2B businesses should be working overtime. It’s not just about publishing on your niche website. To get the most out of your content marketing, see what other marketers are doing:
- LinkedIn is used by 96% of B2B content marketers (CMI).
- Most B2B marketers (67%) use paid content distribution channels (CMI).
- Email marketing, social media ads and blog posts are among the top performing content for B2B marketers. The lowest performing content includes billboards, podcasts, and TV/Radio ads. (CoSchedule)
- 73% of B2B marketers use YouTube to distribute content. (TopRankBlog)
The Challenges of B2B Content Marketing
66% of B2B marketers worldwide were planning to increase their B2B content marketing spending in 2022 (HubSpot), which means competition continues to rise. As shown by the statistics, a scattershot content approach likely means your decision makers will move on to the next article without a second thought. If you’re looking to establish a strategy for your B2B organization and need to develop a content plan, ClearVoice offers help with content strategies.