How To Use 2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends To Improve Results

2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends [Research]

With one or more devices within arm’s reach ready to deliver information it’s no surprise B2B content marketing continues to be core to business success.

If you’re a B2B marketer, I’m sure you get it because 91% of B2B respondents use content marketing according to 2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends Research conducted by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.  

Further, 63% of respondents believe their content marketing results are more successful than last year.

But here’s the kicker:

  • Only 37% of respondents have a documented content marketing strategy for 2018, the same percentage as last year.

So where’s the focus and direction B2B content marketers need to make their content marketing successful at driving profitable revenues?

It begs the question: What holds most content marketers back?

The 2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends Research underscores a core connection that only best-in-class B2B content marketers make:

Your content marketing strategy must be aligned with your metrics to yield optimal results.

Let’s take a deeper look at the results to see how you can improve your 2018 B2B content marketing.


2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends: How To Focus Your Strategy

For years, Joe Pulizzi has been banging the content marketing drum loudly for a documented strategy including a well-defined, differentiated content marketing mission.

Translation: If another business can use your mission statement then it’s not specific enough – making it effectively useless.

Your content marketing mission statement defines your content. If it’s too broad, your content will similarly lack focus.

Further, the act of documenting your content marketing mission makes it official.

But more importantly a documented content mission statement provides visible evidence your organization is aligned to create consistent content. It defines your goals, audience and context allowing you to set measurable benchmarks aligned with your financial objectives.

Without this, how do you know what content is important enough to invest resources in their creation and distribution and what you should leave undone? By focusing your scarce marketing resources, you’re free to focus on results-oriented content.


2018 B2B Content Creation Trends: 3 Key Take-aways


1. Build an audience that wants to engage with your content marketing


80% of B2B content marketers focus on building an audience.Click To Tweet


Joe Pulizzi has laser-focused on building an addressable audience for Content Marketing Institute. Year after year he consistently tracks email subscriber numbers as the leading indicator of content success.


Because your subscribers are an owned addressable audience! They’re a key element of your content marketing enabling you to communicate with them on a regular basis with non-promotional information. As a result, your house list is part of your business assets.

More importantly, tracking subscribers is the first step toward assessing content marketing ROI. Examining your housefile for growth, churn and open rates yields early indicators of its health and that of your business. Ultimately, you’re seeking to maximize customer lifetime value.

35% of respondents track content marketing ROI compared with 55% of best-in-class B2B content marketers. The fact that slightly more than half of the best content marketers measure content marketing ROI underscores that this is a difficult process.

Further, 50% of people who visit your website aren’t ready to purchase according to Gleanster. This is key for B2B marketers because you don’t want to stuff your sales pipeline with leads that aren’t ready or qualified yet.

Actionable B2B Content Marketing Tips:

  • Provide a welcome series. Don’t let your enthusiasm for qualified leads get in the way of developing relationships with new subscribers. Give readers space to get accustomed to your communications. For help, check Henneke’s welcome series tips.
  • Transform your initial email into a relationship builder. Ask new readers about their pain points or further segment them.


2. Communicate with your audience on a regular basis to become part of their regular content diet

Your goal is to become part of your readers’ content inner circle. To this end, stay on their radar to build an audience that wants to hear from you.

58% of B2B content marketers deliver information consistently.

Depending on your information offering and audience needs, your communications frequency can vary from daily to monthly. Where possible, give readers a choice of mailing frequency.

This is key because 44% of respondents reported trouble capturing audience attention. In part this is attributable to overarching trends. Facebook reach is down by 20% since January.

Get your readers used to your regular content mailings early. That said Spin Sucks’s Gini Dietrich started sending her monthly emailing supplementing her blog post notices and promotional content earlier this year. She spotlights the month’s best content and other Spin Sucks activities without being promotional.

I use my weekly emailings to send a more personal message to my readers. As a result, readers feel I’m writing to them individually. (BTW, in case you’re interested, click here to sign up.)

Actionable B2B Content Marketing Tips:

  • Create a regular email newsletter to offer your readers value. Even small one-person departments can send quality content. Check out Scott Monty and Christopher S. Penn’s weekly newsletters. They’re great examples that use curated content.
  • Include cyclical content in your editorial calendar. Without making cyclical content a priority, it doesn’t get done. More importantly having a schedule enables you to leverage the benefits.


3. Focus on your high performing content efforts to yield better results


47% of B2B content marketers stop doing things that aren’t working in favor of those that are.

Focus your content marketing efforts where they’ll get the strongest results. This advice is straight out of First Break All The Rules.

Put your efforts on those things that work for your business. Every business is different. But you can’t do this unless you measure results.

Actionable B2B Content Marketing Tips:

  • Continually test and improve your content. Focus on those things that yield the biggest change such as your headlines and conversion pages.
  • Create related content at the same time you create the major pieces of content. Include your social media shares and related blog posts and transformed content.


2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends: How Big Is Your Budget?

Like with any form of marketing, you need budget, people’s time and money, to yield quality B2B marketing results.

Best-in-class B2B marketers spend 40% of their budget on content marketing. Use this as a benchmark for your B2B content marketing spend.

By contrast, the average B2B marketer allocates 26% of their budget for content marketing.

Actionable B2B Content Marketing Tips:

If you’re a one-person department or resource-constrained tap into other resources to boost your content marketing without additional budget.

  • Work with sales, customer service and other departments to create content marketing. Use their input as your initial draft and transform boring information into useful quality content. It’s a win-win. They only need to create it once.


The 2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends Conclusion

While content marketing remains a key marketing trend for 2018 and beyond, there’s room to improve your business’s implementation to yield better results.

To this end, document your B2B content marketing strategy starting with your content marketing mission. Then align your content creation with your strategy and other business needs.

In the process, use every opportunity to build your housefile.

Further, continue to focus on the successful content you create that moves your business forward while stopping efforts that utilize more resources than they’re worth.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.


Photo Credit: cc Zero via Osman Rana

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