Content marketing continues to be ubiquitous in the B2B marketing industry, with more than 9 out of 10 B2B marketers actively engaged in content marketing activity. Worryingly though, less than a quarter have achieved more than moderate success with it. So my question to all marketers is, how successful is your content marketing, really? And if you fall into that less than a quarter bracket, how can you ensure better results this year?

  1. Update Old Posts

Some things deserve to be relegated to the past: MySpace, CD’s and 2018’s already shattered New Year’s resolutions. Your old content, however, shouldn’t be forgotten and can still play a large part in this year’s content marketing strategy.

You can achieve a quick boost to the organic traffic of up to 402% month-on-month by simply updating previous blog posts because Google automatically prioritises newly published content, assuming it to be more relevant.

To ensure you get maximum ROI, look for articles that still achieve good levels of traffic, as they clearly answer common pain points for your customers. Don’t worry if they aren’t highly-converting pieces of content, update them to include up-to-date insights and newer inbound marketing tactics to ensure a higher conversion rate.

Don’t be afraid to mix things up by rewriting existing CTAs or offering newer, and more relevant downloadable content.

This has proved to be a successful tactic, with 74% of bloggers who update previous posts reporting strong results.

  1. Be Authentic

Let’s be honest, the majority of B2B buyers don’t really trust what brands say about themselves, and they certainly don’t trust anything that is explicitly an advert – in fact, less than half of consumers trust online or mobile ads.

The only sure way to solve this in the long-term is a commitment to being more authentic and transparent about your operations. The more brands that approach communications with integrity, the quicker a consumers trust will be won back – so we encourage all businesses to place authenticity at the heart of your brand in 2018.

If you’re looking for results in the short term, you can add transparency and authenticity to your marketing activity by focusing on user-generated content, such as reviews or recommendations. A substantially higher percentage (66%) of consumers trust opinions from other consumers, especially those of people they know (83%).

  1. Embrace Video Content

This is hardly revolutionary insight, but video (particularly live video) is without a doubt the future of content marketing, and the statistics almost speak for themselves:

  • Facebook video has an average of 135% more organic reach than images
  • Users watch live videos for 3x longer than regular video
  • Live video also receives 10x more comments
  • 80% of respondents to a Livestream customer survey would rather watch a live video than read a blog post
  • 82% of respondents to the same survey were more interested in watching a live video than reading social media posts

Despite it being a well-known fact that video content achieves a high level of engagement, many content marketers have found the lack of access to in-house video production to be an insurmountable stumbling block – until now.

Hubspot reports that just under half of B2B marketers are planning to add YouTube or Facebook video to their mix in 2018, meaning brands who fail to embrace video content for another year could find themselves lagging behind competitors

  1. Get better at Being Social

Once thought of as a fad or purely recreational, social media is quickly becoming a legitimate source of information, with approximately 62% of adult individuals getting their news from social networks.

The door is definitely open for B2B marketers to connect directly with their target audience because 74% of people now use social channels like Facebook for professional purposes.  But first, you’ll need to overcome your social media shortcomings.

Only 45% of B2B marketers feel their efforts on social networks are actually successful. That’s despite 92% of marketers believing it’s an important tool for their business and using an average of 6 channels to distribute content.

  1. Commit to Writing the Right Content

With content marketing becoming so widespread, perhaps it was inevitable that a deluge of subpar content flooding the B2B space would inversely affect engagement rates.  Research shows that as more content on the topic is published, the fewer shares it gets.

When you’re working in a competitive niche this can be tricky for even the most experienced marketers.

Blogging remains relevant, with 53% of marketers consider blogging their top content priority, however, research shows a drastic trend towards long-form content and since 2014 the average blog post is up 41% to a whopping 1,142 words. Whereas previously, bite-sized chunks of insight were considered valuable to consumers, B2B decision-makers now favour the convenience of having more information per piece of content.  This long-form content approach is proving to generate 9x more leads.

Your content strategy shouldn’t rely solely on blogging, and a diverse mix of content will help achieve better results, for example:

  • 78% of B2B buyers use case studies when researching purchases
  • 77% of B2B buyers read white papers before reaching a decision
  • Infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3x as often as any other content
  1. Remember the 30-Second Rule

Whether you’re developing a strategy or creating content, there’s one statistic that is vital to succeed:

The average consumer spends just 37 seconds reading a blog post or article.

This effectively means you have just over half a minute to convince your reader to take the next step in the customer journey, hence the 30-second rule. One of the biggest obstacles you’ll face is clearly communicating your message to consumers who are merely skim-reading the content.

Using data to identify popular topics and highly-converting posts can help fuel your content strategy and ensure it’s always relevant to your audience. It’s equally important your content serves consumers at every stage of the customer journey, with the next step clearly identifiable at first glance.

Setting yourself the intention of improving your B2B content marketing in 2018 is an admirable goal and feels like a no-brainer when success demonstrably delivers more leads, conversions and sales. Sadly, like most New Year’s resolutions, it’s much easier said than done.

Contact The Brand Guardian to discuss Content Marketing more.