Effective B2B content marketing in 2016 is not just about creating the best, highest quality content.
Content Marketing Institute’s annual B2B content marketing benchmark study was recently released—and as usual, it brings some interesting insights for marketing and sales professionals. If you want to elevate your content marketing practice, the report is worth checking out.
Here are three lessons from the 2016 edition of the study that are particularly notable.
1. Be very clear about your goals.
A well documented content marketing strategy and a crystal clear mission are critical to a successful B2B content marketing in 2016, according to the study. Unfortunately, most B2B organizations aren’t there yet. Only 28% have a documented editorial mission statement.
Furthermore, according to the report: “Fewer B2B marketers have a document content marketing strategy compared with last year (32% vs 35%), even though the research consistently shows that those who document their strategy are more effective in nearly all areas of content marketing.”
Sales people will be happy to know that they are already top of mind for B2B marketers who produce content: 85% of respondents identified lead generation as the #1 goal of content marketing, while sales (84%) follows closely behind. To achieve these goals, marketers need to work more closely with sales when developing content. Perhaps just as crucially, marketers need to make sure that their sales team is empowered to use marketing content so they can move the sales process along.
2. Measure your content marketing effectiveness.
Only 30% of the marketers that completed the survey agreed that their content marketing efforts are successful. And when asked how they’re measuring the effectiveness of their content marketing programs, marketers said they look at sales lead quality, revenue and conversion rate.
It’s great to see that content marketers are looking at hard metrics to define their success. But there’s one thing missing from the metrics that marketers measure: engagement. If you don’t produce content that’s engaging, you can’t really expect to attract high quality leads and drive revenue. Many companies are using website traffic as proxy for engagement, but those two are not really the same. Traffic and pageviews show you how many people saw your content; engagement metrics identify what content is actually resonating with your audience.
3. Look into effective, but underutilized, types of content.
Social media content (other than blogs) is easily the most popular type of content being produced by companies today, but it’s not the most effective. In fact, in-person events, webinars, case studies and whitepapers bring the most ROI, according to the survey’s respondents.
In the new year, companies need to consider creating more epic content and use effective but often underutilized content types. Being data-driven—by measuring web and PDF analytics as well as engagement metrics—can help companies determine the effectiveness of these content types.
CMI’s 2016 report shows that B2B companies still have ways to go in order to become effective and efficient. To succeed in B2B content marketing in 2016, be sure to clarify your goals and leverage engagement metrics to take your content to the next level.