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The start of a new year is an ideal time to review your content strategy to see what’s working, what’s not working, and how you can improve. Here’s how you can get your 2017 marketing off to a great start…

For the past few years, B2B marketers have been testing the content waters.

According to the 2017 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, 37% of B2B companies have a documented content marketing strategy. Meanwhile, 17% plan to put one in place within the next year.

But having a strategy isn’t enough.

The report also states that the most successful B2B marketers not only have a content strategy but can quickly adjust it when things change.

The start of a new year is an ideal time to review your content strategy to see what’s working, what’s not working, and how you can improve.

To help you out, I’ve compiled the latest research on what makes B2B content a success.  

What Types of Content Should You Produce?

The B2B Technology Marketing Group surveyed more than 600 tech marketers to find out the latest content trends and best practices. According to the results, the most effective B2B content marketing tactic is case studies, with 44% of respondents saying that it helps them achieve their lead generation goals.

Most effective B2B Content Marketing Report
Source: B2B Content Marketing Report

Here’s the rest of the survey’s top 10 list:

  1. Case studies
  2. Blogging
  3. Social media
  4. Customer testimonials
  5. In-person events
  6. White papers
  7. Webinars
  8. Videos
  9. Online articles
  10. Infographics

Buzzsumo and Uberflip also researched the most successful B2B content formats for 2016. The following content formats tend to perform well:

1. Practical guides and helpful content, such as:

  • Guides
  • Tips and advice
  • How-to posts
  • Trending topics
  • Research and insights
  • Case studies
  • Infographics
  • Authoritative industry news

Case studies earned a top spot in both surveys because stories are compelling!

While prospects may not believe what your corporate marketing team is telling them, they will believe what your customers have to say. Telling your customers’ stories is a powerful way to earn their trust.

Are you ready to make your 2017 content a smashing success?

Download Your 2017 B2B Content Planning Guide: The 5 Questions You Need to Ask to Make Your Content Successful This Year and Beyond. 

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What Should You Write About?

According to the B2B Technology Marketing Group survey, the most effective content subjects are:

2016 B2B Content Marketing Report Effective Content Subjects
Source: B2B Content Marketing Report

Again, case studies are topping the charts. They are the most effective marketing tactic and subject. It’s clear that B2B marketers should make case studies a priority in 2017.

For more information on creating compelling case studies, read 5 Ways to Take Your B2B Case Studies From Blah to Brilliant.

Your 2017 Content Strategy Check Up

2017 Content Strategy Check Up

A lot can happen in a year.

Mergers … acquisitions … product launches …

All of these things can throw a wrench in your content strategy. Here are five things to consider as you plan for 2017:

1. Your content marketing goals

What are your top marketing and business goals this year? Did you have any changes in your business within the past year that will impact your goals? If so, do you need to update your content strategy to reflect your new priorities?

2. Your target audience

Do you have a clear picture of your ideal customer? Has this picture changed during the past year? For example, are you going after a new customer segment? Or do your existing customers face new challenges that you need to address?

3. Gaps in your content

Check for holes in your content strategy. For example, did you launch a new product but don’t have content to support it? Do you need to build a library of content for a new customer segment? Do you have content that answers all of the questions that prospects ask throughout every stage of your sales cycle?

4. What you want to talk about

The stats provided earlier in this post give you an idea about what topics resonate with B2B buyers. Would you like to focus on any of these areas? For example, do you want to share more of your customers’ success stories to build social proof that your product or service delivers results? Or would you like to offer customers more helpful tips and how-to articles to display your thought leadership?

5. Your resources

If you’re like most B2B marketers, you’re producing more content than ever. Do you have all of the resources that you need to support your increased production? For example, do you need more copywriters or designers? Do you want your internal subject matter experts to share their expertise on your blog?

Next Steps

Are you ready to make your 2017 content a smashing success? Download Your 2017 B2B Content Planning Guide: The 5 Questions You Need to Ask to Make Your Content Successful This Year and Beyond.

2017 b2b content planning guide