Content is still king for B2B companies. This year, almost 90% of U.S. B2B companies will use digital content marketing to generate continuous traffic, build brand awareness and drive conversions. B2B companies are striving to stand out in a very crowded content landscape.
As more content is produced, the value of the content decreases. Simply creating and sharing content without a clear purpose isn’t enough for B2B brands to be successful. B2B buyers review many types of content when making purchasing decisions. They want content to address their specific situations. In a recent survey, B2B decision-makers revealed the two most important qualities they expect from their content:
- Speaks to their specific needs and pain points
- Practical and educational as opposed to promotional
Staying on top of the latest trends is the best way to ensure your content in unique and impactful. Here are the top content trends in 2018 to help you create quality count across all funnel stages.
Live Video Streaming
Live streaming is one of the fastest growing industries because it helps you reach a much broader audience with relatively low investment. Not only does broadcasting live provide an exciting way to showcase your company’s products, services, and abilities, but also allows you to authentically connect with your new prospects and current customers in real-time.
The number one reason people watch live streams is for the quality of the content. Provide value to your customers and extend your business brand authentically by offering unique content they can’t find anywhere else. Some popular ideas for live video streaming include:
- Question-and-answer sessions with CEO, employees, product developers
- Interviews with influencers
- Product or service launches
- Product demonstrations
- Case Study with a customer
- Breaking news (product announcements, introduce new CEO)
- Live events such as annual meetings, board meetings, user meetings, etc.
Long Form Content
While short blog posts and articles continue to attract audiences, B2B buyers want more depth and value in their content than a simple 500- word post can offer. Customers truly interested in understanding a topic or issue prefer longer, well-researched and informative content over a quick read. Whether you’re looking for immediate customer engagement or long-term sustainability, long-form content has proven to be more effective.
To increase the quality of content, B2B buyers want content to be supported with more benchmarking data and research. According to a survey from Ascend2, 50 percent of B2B marketers say that research reports generate leads with the highest customer conversion rates, compared to other forms of content marketing. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, the top content types B2B buyers want from companies include:
- Case studies
- Third-party/Analyst Reports
Customers have an inherent need to be special and appreciate when a company provides them with content relevant just to them. The average person receives about 600 messages daily, it’s not surprising customers want to receive content which isn’t sent to a general audience but to them specifically.
Personalization is the process of tailoring content to individual customer’s characteristics or preferences. It can be extremely effective in driving sales and growing your customer base. B2C brands have made bigger strides in offering personalized content but B2B are getting better at customizing content and are focusing on delivering the perfect content to right buyer at the ideal moment. In another industry survey, 80% of respondents said personalized content is more effective. The survey also listed five strategies you can use in personalizing content:
- Segment-specific: personalized by industry vertical or segment criteria
- Persona-specific: personalized for specific buyer types
- Stage-specific: personalized for a stage of the buying process
- Account-specific: personalized for a specific prospect organization
- Lead-specific: personalized for an individual lead
B2B companies focus on engaging with their prospective and current customers and anticipating their needs to earn their trust and business. However, customers can be skeptical of marketing and advertising tactics. They aren’t sure if they can trust you.
However, if you can find well-respected industry influencers in your niche market to collaborate with you and share your content, customers will be more likely to see you as authentic and trustworthy. By entering into a mutually-beneficial relationship with them, Influencers can help amplify and maximize your content and expand your brand reach with minimal investment.
While consumer brands have tended to use celebrities with millions of followers as influencers. B2B companies developing deeper relationships with “micro-influencers” who are well-known in their specific niche market, more engaged with their audience and have a vested interest in the products they endorse.
User-generated content is one of the best forms of content because, as the name implies, your users create it for you. All you need to do is publish on your website and share on your social media channels. B2C brands have been using user generated content for years to connect and engage with their customers. Now, B2B companies have discovered user-generated content as a great way to better interact and engage with target audience including prospects, customers and influencers.
The primary focus of user-generated content is to drive engagement with minimal investment as well as learn something about what interests your audience. By engaging with your audience through user-generated content, you help your audience feel welcome and demonstrate you care about them and promote your business as authentic and transparent. The audience is more likely to share user-generated content, which will help you reach a larger audience.
User-generated content is any type of content in which your audience promotes your business and can include surveys, customer reviews, testimonials, photos, videos, blog posts, etc. For example, you might encourage users to submit photos of them using your product or to submit a testimonial.
The content marketing landscape has changed considerably in the past year and there will be newer trends coming soon enough. By taking advantage of the trends in this article, you can provide your prospects and customers unique and compelling content while distinguishing your company from your competitors.