Content marketing is a hot topic for both B2C and B2B marketers. What many are wondering, though, is what makes a content marketing strategy truly successful. In the 2013 "B2B Content Marketing Report" report, Holger Schulze took a look at why B2B marketers are using content marketing, what tactics they're using and the results these businesses are achieving. It becomes clear that certain trends are taking place. Here's what Schulze found and what you can take away. Related: Three Trends in B2B Lead Generation You Need to Know Getting to the Goal-den State of Mind When it comes to the goals of content marketing, different businesses have different goals. However, there are some common themes. B2B businesses are using content to generate leads (71%) (Tweet this stat!). Others use it establish themselves as thought leaders (50%), acquire new customers (45%), and boost brand awareness (41%). While understanding your goals is important, your content marketing efforts won't be successful unless you're incorporating these goals into your content development strategy. If your goal is to generate leads, focus on producing content that prompts registration or email downloads such as white papers and e-Books. In order to establish your company as a thought leader, produce high-quality blog posts on a regular basis and create content, such as reports, that establishes your business as a valuable and trusted resource. To increase brand awareness, produce engaging content such as guides, infographics and videos that are informational, yet branded. If you're unsure which type of content will best help you reach your desired goals, consider what the most effective tactics are for other marketers. Tying It Up with Tactics Understanding what has been effective for others can help you make better decisions. For businesses that have embraced the Big Data trend, taking a look at what has been successful for others can add to the data-driven decision making process you have. Respondents from the study reported the following as the most effective tactics: Customer Testimonials (89%) Case Studies (88%) In-person Events (84%) White Papers (81%) Now that you have a solid understanding of your goals, and the type of content that will help you reach them, you need to determine what elements of your content will be the focus. Related: Get started with your own whitepaper marketing campaign today! Embracing Effective Elements Content marketing strategies must embrace all elements of the online world in order to be successful. From the audience created to how each piece is distributed, your business can't ignore each element of content: conception, creation, and distribution. Conception: 71% say successful content starts with audience relevance (Tweet this stat!). We've said it before and we'll say it again; content may be king, but relevance is queen. Following audience relevance, an engaging and compelling story (56%) and a triggered response (55.7%) are indicators of successful content. Creation: 93% of B2B marketers create content from scratch and most respondents create content in-house. The most common type of content that is outsourced is video. Create the content you can, then outsource. Distribution: Over 35% of those who responded use marketing automation to generate leads. Content created is distributed automatically, a strategy more businesses are getting onboard with. And of those using social media, 85% cite LinkedIn as the top social platform in terms of content delivery effectiveness. Related: How You Can Make It or Break It with Content And, as with all marketing strategies, measurement and testing are a must. Web traffic, downloads, lead quality and lead quantity are all options for your most important metrics. To clear up the confusion of your marketing strategy, focus on your goals, tactics, buyer (of course), and the other elements needed to make a content strategy as effective as possible. Don't forget to test, measure and tweak your strategy as you gain insight into what's working and what's not.