We hear it all the time: “Content is King.” Content marketing is become more of a focus for B2B marketers as they begin to see the transition from telling to showing. Content enables marketers to provide buyers with the information they need while still promoting themselves as a thought leader and business that adds value to others. Relevance to the content recipient as well as how the content is distributed are things businesses need to pay attention to in 2013. Each year, there are some shifts in the marketing world, whether it is the adoption of a new platform or a transition from one strategy to the next. Content marketing is experiencing some shifts in trends in the New Year. The study “B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America,” conducted by Marketing Profs and CMI (Content Marketing Institute), provides some key trend takeaways.
The number of B2B marketers creating in-house content has risen 18 percentage points. While many still use a combination of in-house and outsourced content, it is becoming more common for businesses to keep content creation in-house. This is even true for larger companies, even though CMI found that the larger the company, the more likely it is to outsource content. 91% of B2B content marketers tailor their content in at least one way, compared with 88% last year. Content creation, whether it’s in house or outsourced, needs to be relevant. Different businesses tailor content in different ways. You can focus on the profiles of decision makers, where someone is in the buying cycle, or the company and industry characteristics. A great content marketer combines all three to create relevant and personalized information to business buyers.
Marketers are beginning to see the impact of visuals in their content marketing strategies and it’s one trend you need to be on board with moving forward in 2013. One of the biggest jumps in tactics has been in the use of videos. While only 52% of B2B marketers used videos in 2011, 70% used videos in 2012 and that number is expected to grow even more in 2013. The majority (58%) of respondents in the CMI study believe that videos are an effective marketing tactic. With the increasing use of visuals, more and more marketers are using the photo-driven sharing site, Pinterest. In 2012, more than one-quarter of B2B marketers used Pinterest to distribute content. You can use videos, infographics, charts and images as visuals in your content. Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t (AnsonAlex). Infographics and visuals need to be a part of your content marketing strategy.
Over the past year, 13% more B2B marketers are using social media to distribute content. In 2012, 87% of those surveyed by CMI responded that they were distributing content via social media networks. With increased social network usage, the number of marketers using social media is bound to increase in 2013. B2B marketers use an average of 5 social media sites to distribute content. Here are some of the most popular social networks for those in the B2B arena.
- LinkedIn was used by 83% of B2B marketers in 2012.
- Twitter was used by 80% of marketers in 2012, an increase of 6% over 2011.
- Facebook was used by 80%, an increase of 10% over 2011.
- 61% of B2B marketers used YouTube in 2012.
- 39% of the respondents used Google+ to distribute content.
Content marketing is an appealing way for marketers to connect with leads and customers, no matter where they are in the buying cycle. In 2013, the distribution of content over social networks will increase, visuals will become more common and more important, and content will need to be more tailored to the person receiving it. Customers and potential customers are tired of receiving “fluff” pieces that don’t translate to their professional lives. Providing relevant, visually-appealing content that is distributed across multiple platforms is how your business can become more successful with content marketing in 2013.
What other content marketing trends have you noticed in 2013?