The use of custom content as a marketing tool is now a well-established practice in the B2B sector. Up to 90% of B2B companies use custom content. But not everyone agrees that the content is effective. There’s also concern that the distribution methods could be improved.

The B2B Content Marketing 2010 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends survey was based on the answers of over 1,100 B2B operators. The survey collected information on how companies are releasing custom content and whether they believe these methods are effective.

Here’s what these operators are using to distribute their custom content:

  • Social media 79%
  • Blogs 51%
  • Article posting 75%

Custom content has grown so quickly it now comprises 25% of the typical B2B operator’s budget. The problem is “custom media has turned into a real marketing practice, but there’s not a lot of education to help brands learn how to integrate content marketing with the rest of the portfolio,” says the founder of content marketing outsource site Junta42, Joe Pulizzi.  Because custom content is now so important, experts say the providers must make the information “actionable” and must ‘call readers to action’.

At the same time, B2B operators have their doubts about the effectiveness of this media format. The survey reveals that 25% believe social media and blogs are effective and 40% believe article postings are effective when it comes to custom content.

While some businesses are creating their own custom content, others are turning to B2B media firms to get the job done. Analysts expect the media companies will professionalize results by improving SEO tactics and connections with social media. One thing won’t change, though. Ian Alexander,  of We Grow Media, reminds readers that the core business of publishing content is about telling stories. The only difference is, these days, media companies are using different mediums.

Look for B2B companies to increase their custom content efforts and to use professional media firms to improve their story telling capability as they seek to increase their appeal in the crowded marketplace.

[Source:  Schwartz, Matthew. Media companies grapple with growing pains of custom media. BtoBOnline.com. 3 Aug. 2010. Web. 6 Aug. 2010]