The disruption caused by the current pandemic has pushed businesses to focus on content marketing. Since they can’t, in most cases, set up in-person meetings, at least 70% of B2B marketers will invest in 2021 content creation. But does the typical marketer have sufficient resources to engage in B2B content creation or are they hiring outside help?
In the 11th Annual B2B Content Marketing Report from the Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and ON24, researchers found that 70% of businesses with a formal content marketing strategy made changes as a result of the pandemic. At least 25% of business made major content marketing strategy adjustments and 66% said some changes will be long-term while other changes will be short term.
Hiring Outside Services
Businesses find it challenging to perfect B2B content creation. And at least 61% of firms use outside experts to produce content. They believe it’s difficult to locate service providers who have enough expertise in their subject matter (69%) or who can empathize with the audience they want to reach (43%). When businesses do hire outside service providers, it’s primarily for B2B content creation (86%). Around 30% need help with content distribution and 11% pay for editorial planning.
With in-person events likely to remain off limits for the next few months, marketers will be relying on the following content to position themselves properly:
- Blog posts/short articles 93%
- Email newsletters 77%
- Case studies 68%
- Videos (pre-produced) 68%
- Virtual events/webinars/courses 67%
- Infographics/charts/photos 65%
Businesses participating in this study noted that blog post/short articles and virtual events both resulted in highly effective outcomes.
Your clients have no shortage of methods to use in distributing their content. As they attempt to generate leads and establish their reputations as thought leaders, most businesses rely on social media (89%), email (87%) and their own website or blog (86%) to send out material. This year, analysts note, businesses have cut back on posting their material in third-party publications (now at 38%) and use media or influencers (now at 24%).
Some of the content also appears in the form of paid advertising. In the past year, B2B marketers used:
- Social media ads (promoted posts) 83%
- SEM/PPC 65%
- Sponsorships 60%
- Banner ads 48%
- Native advertising 35%
- Partner email promoting content 33%
The best results for paid advertising, in the formats reported above, came from SEM (33%) and social media (29%). With regard to social media and paid advertising, LinkedIn is ubiquitous with 80% of B2B operators using the site. In addition, the percentage of businesses using Instagram jumped from 17% to 26% in the past year.
Roughly half of B2B marketers with fewer than 100 employees say they haven’t used paid advertising in the past year. Only 18% of businesses with more than 1,000 employees said the same. Overall, 24% of businesses noted they have shifted paid advertising budgets to content marketing in the past while. 27% said they have not.
Most marketers (81%) measure the outcomes of their investment in content management. Website traffic (90%) and email engagement (86%) tracking rank as the top metrics being used by marketers. For many businesses, conversions such as traffic to subscribers are what matter most (80%).
While creating brand awareness has remained a key objective for over 80% of marketers in the past three years, other content marketing goals are gaining in importance. During the last three years, the number of businesses that say their content marketing is generating leads has grown from 68% to 75%.
B2B Marketers Will Invest in 2021 Content Creation
Exactly 50% of marketers expect the pandemic to impact their content marketing success in 2021. At least 70% of marketers will invest in B2B content creation and 66% will put in website enhancements. 48% will also invest in events — whether they are in-person, digital or hybrid. And 31% of businesses also want to be sure they understand their audiences. This understanding will come from the research they invest in.
We know that 70% of marketers will invest in 2021 B2B content creation. Help them achieve their objectives and understand their audiences by checking out the local account intelligence reports in AdMall by SalesFuel. These reports contain information on the type of content that specific business audiences use when making purchase decisions.
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