By John Egan
Most B2B consumers not only recognize content marketing when they see it and also assign value to it, but—most importantly—they act on it, according to recent findings.
In a survey of 384 people who’d recently consumed business content only, an astounding 82 percent had purchased a company’s products or services as a result of consuming content marketing. The survey, conducted by B2B research, ratings, and reviews company Clutch, also indicated that 60 percent of people recognize the most recent business content they consumed online as content marketing and 67 percent consider content marketing useful.
“Content marketing benefits businesses that produce it and business audiences that consume it,” Clutch says.
Those figures align with another Clutch survey that found more than 80 percent of the 501 digital marketers who were questioned believe their companies’ digital marketing initiatives (including content marketing) are effective at boosting revenue.
The results of these two surveys underscore an increasingly evident reality in the B2B space: Content marketing works.
However, not every B2B player makes content marketing work as well as it should. That’s why LeadsCon Connect to Convert in Boston will feature a session shining the spotlight on successful B2B content marketing pieces and strategies.
The Oct. 3 session will be presented by Liz Joyce, content strategist at Somerville, Massachusetts-based 3D printing company Formlabs, and Phil Mobley, head of research at Boston-based software developer Building Engines. On-demand B2B marketer Katie Martell, executive director of content marketing organization Boston Content, will be the moderator.
As the session undoubtedly will emphasize, high-quality content is critical if content marketing efforts are going to flourish.
According to a 2018 study published by the Content Marketing Institute, 88 percent of top-performing B2B content marketers said their organizations value creativity and craftsmanship in creation and promotion of content. Those numbers were lower for all of the marketers who were surveyed (74 percent) and for marketers identified as the least successful (59 percent).
Top-performing B2B content marketers also had markedly higher numbers in other categories, such as:
- 89 percent work in organizations that are strongly committed to content marketing.
- 62 percent have documented content marketing strategies.
- 55 percent measure the ROI of content marketing.
“Content marketing is no longer the shiny new object,” the study says. “Those who have caught on are no longer asking ‘Should we do this?’ but rather ‘How do we really dig in and get results?’”
Getting those results is not as simple as slapping a few blog posts on your website, though.
“There are no shortcuts in the practice of turning prospects into engaged buyers who become loyal customers,” Martell wrote on her website. “However, there is one concept effective B2B marketers live by to accelerate the process of generating leads: relevance.”
Just as there’s no shortcut for creating content, there’s no shortcut for determining relevance. Digital marketing expert Neil Patel says that figuring out relevance requires steps such as developing customer personas, understanding the intent of online searchers, and ensuring content is timely.
In a blog post for the Content Marketing Institute, Patel wrote that it’s critical for brands to achieve relevance, and one of the best paths to relevance is production of relevant content.
“Relevant content isn’t just about being a good content creator. It’s about the mechanics, too,” Patel wrote. “Being a stellar writer doesn’t automatically make you relevant, but it sure does help. As you pursue relevance in your content marketing, keep the foundation firmly in mind. And then unleash content that meets your users’ needs.”