Content marketing has become everyone’s favorite buzzword, but how effective is it for B2B marketers? That’s what Curata sought to find out.
Last month Curata surveyed more than 450 marketing professionals to understand the B2B marketing landscape, asking questions about best practices, current initiatives, and the tactics they’re looking to for 2013 and beyond. The results of their survey painted a pretty interesting picture about how B2Bs are using content marketing and what they are (and are not) doing with their efforts.
Given all the interest around content marketing, it’s not surprising that 87 percent of US B2B marketers report using content marketing in 2012, up 5 percent since last year. What I did find interesting is that based on the survey, 43 percent of marketers said they do not measure the outcome of their content marketing programs and therefore don’t know if it has increased inbound leads to their business. To me, that was somewhat troubling. It seems dangerous to invest in an area you’re not tracking and will be unable to decipher whether or not it brought value to your business. Especially since tracking content spread, brand awareness, links, and tagging your conversion funnel are all tangible elements small business owners could easily identify.
Another area of the survey I found noteworthy had to deal with challenges B2B marketers face when it comes to content marketing.
Sixty-nine percent of marketers say their biggest struggle is coming up with original content ideas. Another 65 percent said it’s finding the time to create that content.
This is something that, again, small business owners can fix.
How do you do so?
By taking the time to build out a content marketing plan before you get involved to help map out your efforts, keep you stocked with ideas, and allow you to fit content marketing into your existing schedule. This is something we not only do inhouse, but we help clients create content marketing plans, as well.
What should you think about when building out your content plan?
What types of content can you realistically work into our schedule?
- On-site blogging
- Guest blogging
- Industry surveys and research
- eBooks and other long form content
- Case studies
- Infographics and data visualizations
What you know the type of content you may want to provide, do some keyword research to understand what your users are searching for, use Google Suggest to let the search engine populate ideas for you, check your analytics to see what your customers want, and then survey them to get an understanding of the resources they need or what information is important to them. Once you have this information, create a list of titles or subject ideas that you can work off from and build an editorial calendar to help you pace out your efforts.
The hardest part of coming up with unique ideas for content marketing is understanding what your content needs and what will help them achieve their goals. Once you do that, you’re putting your company on the road to success.
Overall, I think the data offered by Curata shows an interesting glimpse in how B2B marketers are using content. While they seem to grasp its importance, they’re not measuring it or finding ways to make it part of their workflow. Of course, that presents a great opportunity for the marketers who are.[hat tip eMarketer]