Bellbottoms. Feathered bangs. Dance fads and internet memes. Do these old trends make you cringe? It’s easy to dismiss trends as short-lived gimmicks, but here’s the deal: Some trends represent real change. The internet, for example, might have seemed trendy when it first emerged, but now it’s transformed nearly every aspect of modern life.
As society moves forward, so too does the business world. Are your strategies keeping up with these business-to-business (B2B) content trends?1. Information Is in High Demand
We see advertisements everywhere we look, from banner ads on our computers to logos on our clothes. People are sick of advertisements. They want real information instead. If you can educate your audience on the issues that matter to them – like how to solve their current problems and avoid new ones – they’ll come to you.
Educational content can take many forms, from blog posts and white papers to infographics and webinars. Video is an increasingly popular format. According to a report from Uberflip, “in 2019, educational video content gets shorter, snappier, and serial in nature.”
⇒ B2B Content Marketing Takeaway: Keep producing a variety of great content and look for opportunities to integrate video. Your website should be updated with new fresh content weekly. If you have a great video, make it the centerpiece of a blog article, and share through your social channels.2. Trust Must Be Earned
People want information, but that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically trust the information you provide. Fake news and click bait have made people wary. Nevertheless, it is possible to gain their trust. They just want to know that the information they’re getting is reliable. If you can provide that consistently, people will come to you – but once trust is broken, it’s hard to rebuild.
According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, 96 percent of the most successful B2B content marketers say audiences see their company as a trusted resource.
People also want to trust that their information is being safeguarded. Data breaches have been a major concern for businesses and consumers alike. New regulations, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), set standards for how business can collect and use personal data. Businesses need to be clear about how they use data, and they need to respect people’s right to privacy as well as the ability to opt out.
Website security is increasingly vital. Last year, Google introduced changes to warn internet users about sites that are not secure – meaning they use HTTP instead of HTTPS. Don’t expect your audience to visit your site if Google’s warning them that it’s potentially dangerous.
⇒ B2B Content Marketing Takeaway: Make sure your content is high quality and accurate. Use current, reputable sources and hyperlink them so readers can research further. Avoid spamming and any practice that could potentially undermine your credibility.3. Personalization Matters
People have gotten used to personalization, and this is impacting B2B expectations. In fact, Uberflip identified personalization as the number one B2B marketing trend for 2019.
While the use of data can lead to very specific personalization, buyer personas offer a way to personalize marketing campaigns for different segments of your audience. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 73 percent of B2B content marketers said they planned to use personas by the end of 2018. If you’re selling to CEO’s, keep in mind that the CEO may NOT be your primary buyer persona, according to HubSpot.
A big part of the personalization trend involves Account Based Marketing (ABM). With ABM, you select a small group of high promise accounts and market to them one-to-one instead of one-to-many. To succeed with ABM, you must deeply research the targeted account and then create highly targeted messaging, offers and landing pages. ABM goes far beyond the addition of a few merge fields in your letters and emails. It’s more work but also offers higher potential for ROI.
⇒ B2B Content Marketing Takeaway: It may be time to dip your toe into ABM. Identify 20 to 50 high promise accounts and look for ways to infuse a high level of personalization into their marketing.4. Search Is Changing
Changes in the way people search the internet impacts both B2C and B2B marketing. Marketers need to keep up with two trends here: local search and voice search.
As more and more searches are conducting via voice, optimization for search is vital. Because the way we talk tends to be less formal than the way we write, this includes strategies that use natural language. It may also involve phrases in question format.
As Google personalizes results based on location, local search is taking on a new level of importance. To take advantage of this, companies need to make sure Google has the right information – for example, by creating a profile on Google My Business.
⇒ B2B Content Marketing Takeaway: Before posting a blog or other content, take a moment to use a keyword research tool to review search phrases and volume related to your topic. Once you know what people are searching for, fine-tune your article, headline and meta data to align with highly searched, but not too competitive phrases. As always, this isn’t about keyword stuffing – it’s about taking a purposeful approach to maximize the reach of every piece of content you post.5. Social Media Remains Vital
2018 was a difficult year for Facebook. A lot of people talked about abandoning the social media site, giving rise to the hashtag #DeleteFacebook. But as Aja Romano writes in an article for Vox, Facebook has become so embedded in our culture that quitting it isn’t easy. Facebook remains huge.
But Facebook is not the only social media company that matters. Other social media sites are also important. In the business world, LinkedIn cannot be ignored. LinkedIn now boasts more than 610 million users in more than 200 countries. According to Demand Gen Report, 80 percent of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
⇒ B2B Content Marketing Takeaway: Use LinkedIn to your advantage. When you post a blog on your website, also use LinkedIn publishing to post it to the subject matter expert’s LinkedIn page to expand your reach. Make sure to use hashtags for your keyword phrases so the content is searchable. Also, remember LinkedIn Groups. There are many industry groups that have 500 to 50,000 members. Each group has its own posting rules, and many allow members to share information (not promotions). Contribute social posts that link back to your site’s blog articles to exponentially expand the reach of your articles.
The Next Step
If you need quality, trust-worthy and original B2B content to power your marketing, we can help. Yes, we specialize in insurance and financial services, but we also serve other B2B industries. Don’t let “busy” be your excuse – that’s costing you countless opportunities. One easy way to get started is with a weekly blog article subscription. We work with you to customize a topic schedule, and then we deliver a fresh new blog article, written to your specifications, every single week. This simple first step keeps your website fresh, provides fuel for social and makes the marketing team look smart. Want to learn more? Email Heather for details.