How do the best B2B content marketers hit home runs? What can other companies learn from them that will make them more competitive?

Content Marketing Institute (CMI) surveys B2B companies annually to gain insight into the state of content marketing and trends. The latest CMI report shines a light on three characteristics that distinguish the most successful content marketers:

  • They operate from a cohesive content strategy.
  • They invest in content specialists.
  • They customize their messages for each step in the customer buying journey.

Create a content marketing strategy

Without a content marketing strategy, any plan to reach an intended audience is incomplete. Successful marketers understand that sporadic, inconsistent content doesn’t cut it, either. “Our annual research consistently shows that a documented strategy is often a key indicator of content marketing success,” concludes the CMI report authors. Last year, 65 percent of the most successful B2B marketers used content marketing strategically, compared to 14 percent of the least successful — a stark difference.

The top three tools marketers in the study say they use to evaluate the success of their strategy and keep it on track are web analytics and dashboards, email marketing software, and social media publishing analytics. These tools, of course, require someone who can “speak analytics” and translate the data into action.

“Nearly three out of four of large companies say they use external specialists, compared to 37 percent of smaller companies. Marketing content creation is by far the most common aspect companies say they outsource.

Hire content specialists

Large companies who are top B2B marketing performers combine centralized content marketing with individual teams throughout the organization. Corporate message consistency requires central planning and oversight. Smaller teams or individuals are assigned to specific product lines or campaigns.

Compare this to small organizations with less than 100 employees, 70 percent of whom have only one content marketing person who does it all. Taking all survey respondents together, 32 percent said they do not have even one full-time employee dedicated to content marketing.

Half of all the companies included in the research outsource at least some content marketing activities. Nearly three out of four of the large companies say they use external specialists, compared to 37 percent of the smaller companies. Marketing content creation is by far the most common aspect companies say they outsource.

CMI’s advice to companies that want more successful marketing is this: “Find content creators who understand what’s unique about your company, know how to rise above the mediocre, and amaze your audience with their writing, researching, video, or audio skills.”

Customize your content

All companies, regardless of size, reported that at least half of their content is best suited to build brand awareness. But except for the most successful companies, which are more intentional about content at other parts of the sales process, “they are missing out on opportunities deeper in the funnel,” says Stephanie Stahl of CMI.

What types of content are most impactful?

The 2019 CMI report reveals that tailoring messages to fit various stages of the B2B customer buying journey is one of the most impactful ways content marketers can boost their success. Here are types of content the survey respondents said were most successful at each step of the process.

  • At the top of the funnel to build brand awareness and interest: blog posts, social media content, and in-person events.
  • At mid-funnel to secure leads: in-person and online events such as webinars, e-books, and guides. To nurture their desire to purchase: email newsletters, case studies, and short articles
  • To convert leads: in-person events, case studies, and webinars.
  • To create loyal brand advocates and repeat customers post-sale: updates, insider news, and offers.

When you contact us, we can discuss in more detail what information works well at each stage.

Don’t let your size keep you from content marketing all-star status

Whether you need help designing a comprehensive marketing strategy to get and keep your audience’s attention or you need to outsource all or part of your content creation, let’s talk about how you can use content to make some super fans.

Contact us at 720-722-2987 or click the blue button below to request a meeting with our team.