In 2016 the PA based marketing services company Clutch surveyed 300+ producers of online B2B content to obtain insight into how readers find, engage with and act on digital business-themed content.
The Clutch Content Marketing Survey 2016 interviewed 300+ expert content marketing writers from across the U.S. to determine how those who produce B2B content can most effectively create, publish and promote content for their organizations. Key findings were:
- 88% of online B2B content consumers read business content at least once a week
- 45% of online B2B content consumers read content to stay current with trends in their respective industries
- 20% of online B2B content readers use content to help make decisions about whether to purchase products or services
- 45% of online B2B content consumers read about technology, 24% read about small
business and 21% read about workplace/ HR topics
- 87% of online B2B content readers visit search engines to look for business content
- 85% of online B2B content readers commonly find business content on social media
Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer at the Content Marketing Institute in New York City, emphasizes that “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable information to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience, with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” In other words, the goal of your content marketing posts, videos, podcasts and images should be to develop a relationship with your customers, using relevant content to win them over.
Furthermore, the expert content marketers surveyed advised that target audience personas are the most important attributes to consider when developing your content marketing strategy. “Most businesses have an idea about their audience and how it is segmented but, when it comes to taking those audiences into a content marketing strategy, they often flounder,” said Quinn Whissen, Marketing Director at Vertical Measures, a content marketing agency in Phoenix, AZ.
Although challenging, clearly identifying and defining target audience personas is the foundation of an effective content strategy. Understanding who will read the content determines the information to include and the best platforms for presentation.
Content marketing can be an effective tool for creating brand awareness and generating leads that convert to sales or billable hours, but realize also that it can generate benefits that go beyond a page one article ranking in Google or driving traffic to your website. Consider how content might help your organization to meet key business objectives. How can your content increase sales?”
HubSpot, a marketing services firm based near Boston, MA, found that the more marketing content a potential customer reads on the company website, the more likely s/he is to buy their software. Jeffrey Vocell, Senior Manager of Product Marketing, reports that HubSpot follows up with a customized email after a user reads three or four articles.
- Expert content marketing writers prioritize their brand story, mission statement and content types when creating their content strategy
- 49% say that brand awareness is their main goal for content marketing
- Research/original data, infographics, product reviews and blog posts are the most effective types of content
- Metrics that reflect sales (32%), content readership (29%) and lead generation (29%) are more important than content sharing metrics (10%)
- Paid advertisements outperform organic efforts when promoting and distributing content
Survey findings yield three core recommendations for content marketing:
- Tailor all marketing content to specific audiences. First identify the different reader personas, then create content that matches their needs, interests, aspirations and behaviors.
- Identify the business goals you aim to achieve and consider how your content can enable that. For example, if you want to obtain more links back to your website, be sure to generate research/original data, infographics, product reviews, videos, blog posts and case studies.
- Spend less money on content creation and more on distribution. Creating high-quality content is useless if you don’t dedicate enough effort or resources to getting it in front of your target audience. If you can’t afford paid advertising, focus on media outreach, such as traditional journalists and influencers.
Regarding the most effective content distribution methods, the survey found that expert content marketers most often use paid advertisements including pay-per-click (71%), organic social media (70%) and traditional marketing channels (69%), i.e. print media, TV, radio and direct mail.
Distribution and promotion of the content must be customized to the target audience. For example, “If content distribution and promotion is done for recent college graduates, it has completely different channels and focuses, compared to content aimed at executives,” explains Andrea Fryrear, Chief Content Officer at Fox Content of Boulder, CO.
Finally, remember that content marketing can deliver benefits to your company that go beyond achieving a page one Google listing for an article you’ve posted or driving traffic to your website. “We don’t simply want to have an impact on marketing, but rather on the entire business unit within that organization,” said Chad Pollitt, Vice President of Audience at Relevance, an online content marketing publication based in MD.
Thanks for reading,
Photograph: Vaudeville and film star W.C. Fields as a carnival sideshow barker in Two Flaming Youths (Paramount Pictures, 1927)