The goal of any B2B content strategy is to create content that B2B buyers desire -- you want to be their #1 source of industry information. So how can you update your strategy to fit the needs of the modern buyer?
A recent survey conducted by Demand Gen Report and Uberflip reveals fascinating developments in the B2B buying process. Are you interested in learning more about your buyers? What makes them tick? What content formats do they want? What are their priorities?
We have taken the highlights of this report, and crafted a post that delivers the lowdown on how to effectively reach B2B buyers, and keep them coming back.
7 Trends That Will Boost Your B2B Content Strategy
1. Case Studies Are B2B Buyers’ #1 Content Choice
Case studies resonate strongest with buyers -- 78% of buyers said they accessed this format in their research. Buyers want to see first-hand accounts of what others have done to succeed. Case studies let buyers benchmark their progress against industry peers.
Encourage clients to participate in your own case study by offering incentives, such as a discount, for participation. Include information about challenges your clients faced, how your company overcame those challenges, as well as any facts or statistics that support these claims. Then you can leverage small amounts of this information on your website and social media to attract new B2B buyers. Video testimonials also offer a unique opportunity for prospective buyers to hear about your company -- after all, it’s the closest thing to an in-person recommendation that you can get.
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2. Third Party Approval Grows in Power
For a while now, we’ve seen a growing trend towards brand distrust, and even contempt for traditional marketing. Buyers are more likely to rely on outside recommendations to make purchase decisions. In fact, 87% of buyers said that they give more credence to industry influencer content. In the same vein, the study also showed that buyers leaned heavily toward peer reviews, third party publications, and user-generated feedback.
An integral part of your content strategy should be to nurture and leverage influencer relationships. Seek out those in your industry who have earned the trust of a large audience, and see if they’ll work with you on an upcoming campaign.
It can also help to involve your current customers in your B2B PR efforts. Ask for short video submissions or photos of how your customers use your products. Make it into a contest to encourage participation. Then share their submissions on your website and social media.
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3. Shorter Content Reigns Supreme
It comes as no surprise that buyers rely on content to make their purchase decisions. What does surprise many is that shorter content is emerging as a preference.
Not even B2B buyers are immune to the modern time crunch we all face. 46% of buyers strongly agreed that they are overwhelmed by the amount of content available. The same amount noted that they gravitate toward shorter content formats.
Note, however, that short content doesn’t mean you should create “fluff” content -- this should be content that gets right to the meat of the matter, and answers questions quickly. But this content shouldn’t merely be written -- B2B buyers prefer interactive and visual content, as well as audio/video content.
Longer form content still holds a valuable place in your content creation -- it helps grow your credibility, establish industry expertise, and ranks well in search engines. But you should also focus your efforts on creating short-form content that gets to the heart of an issue, and satisfies buyers who search for their information on the go.
4. Make Content Easy to Access
Want to make buyers happier? Cut down on the number of hoops they have to leap through to get your content. 71% of buyers said that they want content that is easier to access. When asked what recommendations they would make to marketers, 58% of buyers advised that related content should be bundled into special packages for download. Another suggestion included a shift to fewer forms, or content that could be accessed with a single click.
This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate gated content altogether, but it does mean you have to increase the value of your gated content. What kind of content do B2B buyers find valuable? An overwhelming majority -- 99% -- of study participants expressed a desire for content with insights from industry thought leaders and analysts. A collection of such data might be a helpful way to offer value in exchange for buyer information.
Another point to keep in mind is that B2B buyers are doing more and more research on the go -- away from the office. In fact, 52% of participants said that they prefer content that is fully optimized for a smooth, mobile experience. All of your B2B buyers should be able to easily access your content for research on their smartphone or tablet.
5. LinkedIn Remains The Top Dog of B2B Social
Social media remains one of the top means of research for buyers -- and LinkedIn is a clear preference for buyers in the B2B sector. 84% of respondents said that they occasionally or frequently share B2B content on LinkedIn. Twitter and Facebook ranked considerably lower, at 64% and 37%, respectively.
How can you effectively use this platform to reach B2B buyers in your industry? Here are a few tried and true ways that you can implement:
- Share educational content that will lead back to your website.
- Become a part of and engage in groups where you can add meaningfully to the conversation.
- Use LinkedIn’s publishing platform to create and share your own thought leadership quality material.
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6. Buyers Prefer Prescriptive and Predictive Content
For the third time in a row, buyers in this study ranked prescriptive content as their top content preference -- cited by 97% of respondents. What is prescriptive content? It is content that lays out a formulaic-style solution to a specific problem. Create content with insightful and step-by-step solutions for remedying common industry problems, such as…
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Predictive content came in 2nd place, chosen by 87% of respondents. This is content that makes a statement about the future, with titles such as “The Future of…” This calls for a bolder approach to content creation. Don’t be afraid to make statements about the future of your industry. Be among the first to report on emerging industry trends and don’t shy away from predicting how these will change the industry.
The following is an example of predictive content from my own blog:
Click here to read this predictive blog post for yourself.
7. Buyers Hesitate to Give Personal Information
Interestingly, the study showed a growing hesitation to provide personal information in exchange for content. When it came to gated content, 95% of buyers said they would share basic information, such as their name, company, and email address, but only 33% were willing to give up their phone number. This may call for a revamp of how you gate your content, and the information you request.
It is also imperative to take into consideration the kind of content that a company offers. Buyers were found to be more forthcoming with personal information when offered certain kinds of content over others. For instance, buyers were more willing to share their information in exchange for white papers, ebooks, and webinars, and less likely to share it for podcasts, videos, and infographics.
Key Points to Remember...
- Case studies are the #1 form of content preferred by B2B buyers, who want to benchmark themselves against their peers.
- Make content short and to the point.
- Buyers want content that is easily accessible, and optimized for mobile.
- Buyers prefer content that shows them how to solve a particular problem, or gives insight into the future of the industry.
A successful B2B content strategy evolves as new data emerges. These 7 new trends will help you to effectively reach your B2B buyers and give them what they want. Don’t delay in implementing them in your strategy.
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