Before you begin to roll your eyes at another listicle which shares B2B content marketing trends, let me guess where you’re at:
You’re pouring time, effort and resources into your content marketing, but nothing’s changing. Leads? Conversions? It’s a myth to get them from your content, right?
You see, it is possible to drive high-quality, conversion-ready traffic to your site with content marketing… Even as a B2B brand with a strategy that’s remained unchanged since the glory days of 2010.
But it’s 2018, and content marketing is changing.
Gone are the days of writing, publishing and promoting a 500-word content that never drives clicks — nevermind sales. We’re in a new era; one that demands B2B brands to create better content, in return for results.
But what do you need to be doing in order to take advantage? And do you really need to plough a huge portion of your marketing budget into creating new, original content for your site?
In this guide, I’m sharing five B2B content marketing trends set to soar this year:
1. Reviews, testimonials and feedback galore
Luckily for you, one of the biggest B2B content marketing trends for 2018 allows you to take the pressure off creating your own content.
It’s great news for marketers who don’t have a natural way with words, or budget to hire a copywriter.
User Generated Content (or UGC if you’re into fancy abbreviations) is set to soar this year. Why? Because 75% of the general public believe that forms of UGC — like reviews and testimonials — makes a B2B brand feel more “human”. And we all know that the best results come from content that connects with their audience.
Conversion-worthy content should be at the forefront of your B2B brand’s strategy, and UGC can help you create it – without writing a single word.
One of the most successful forms of UGC is reviews. The chances are, common folk like you and I search for reviews of products and services all the time. Your customers are no different.
Just take a look at this data by Fan and Fuel:
You could be missing out on a whopping 92% of customers if you’re not using reviews on your B2B site.
Still not convinced? Consider these stats, too:
- Sites that used UGC on their site saw a 20% increase in return visitors
- 25% of search results for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to user created content
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
But how exactly can you get the content from your users, in the first place?
The answer is simple: Ask for it.
I’m a huge fan of the phrase, “you don’t ask, you don’t get”. The concept applies to UGC: your customers won’t be willing to create a testimonial for your B2B brand if they don’t know it’s possible – or it’s something that you want.
Send an email to your list, asking recent purchasers to give their feedback on your post-purchase pipeline.
Publish a tweet to your profile, welcoming customers to share the success they’ve had since using your products.
The chances are, your most loyal customers will jump at the chance of being an ambassador for your brand. Since we’re targeting other businesses, they’ll get exposure of their own business by penning their name to a review.
It’s a win-win for everyone involved!Reviews are gold dust for #B2B brands in 2018, says @elisedopson: Click To Tweet
2. Let’s online chat!
If you’re reading this sub-heading and rolling your eyes into 2020, stay with me… And bring your eyes back.
You see, online chat gets a bad rep. I used to despise the pinging noise that came from a webpage supporting live chat, and click the X button before you could even get a message across to me.
Yup, I was that person.
My opinion of online chats changed last year, when I was introduced to them (properly) by ConvertKit. I was switching email providers and needed urgent help. I couldn’t wait for an email – I needed help pronto.
I resisted my hatred for online chats and hopped on to speak with one of their customer service team. My problem was solved within a matter of minutes.
Now, online chats are my first port of call for getting in touch with a business – B2B ones, in particular.
I’m not the only one coming round to using online chats. (Hence why they’re listed as one of the main B2B content marketing trends for this year.)
Econsultancy found that 79% of customers use the function to get quick questions, and 31% said they were more likely to buy after using it.
That’s great… But what’s it mean for your B2B brand?
In short, you’re giving your customers a chance to speak with your business instantly. Telling customers to wait 1-3 business days for a response to their query is a risk. By the time you’ve had time to respond, your customer may have already headed to your competitors – who used online chat – and purchased from them. That’s your lead gone. Disappeared. Forever.
Prevent this from happening by offering an online chat service on your site, keeping your customers happy and leads pipin’ hot.
3. The power of the quiz
Think of the first brand that comes to name when I say the word “quiz”… It’s Buzzfeed, right?
Buzzfeed rose to fame with their quiz content. It’s what they’re known for, and it’s how they built their fanbase – which includes me, after sending an entire afternoon to take a quiz that told me which type of Spice Girl I’d be. (If you’re wondering, it was Baby Spice.)
But, don’t shrug off this type of content marketing as a fad. B2B brands can cash-in on their benefits, no matter the aim of their marketing strategy.Planning to invest in #contentmarketing this year? Here are five B2B content marketing trends for 2018: Click To Tweet
If your aim is:
To boost the number of email subscribers, quizzes have helped one brand to generate 10,000+ prequalified leads.
To see a surge in social shares, the average quiz gets shared 1,900 times.
To increase the number of conversions you get through your B2B site, remember that 70% of marketers say that interactive content is effective at converting site visitors.
All of this is great stuff, but you need to create a kick-ass quiz to really get the results you want.
How can you do that? Well, the basis of a conversion-worthy quiz does one thing: resonates with your ideal audience.
It’s common sense, really. A B2B marketing brand wouldn’t wanna push out a quiz that told people which type of Disney princess they’d be. Instead, they’d pick a topic that interests their ideal customer (content marketing) and craft a quiz around that – like “which type of copywriting superhero are you?“.
Here are some great examples of B2B quizzes I really love:
- What type of marketer are you? by WayIn
- What is your brand voice style? by Kayla Hollatz
- What type of marketing should you do? by Marketing Artfully
4. Case-study the heck out of your site
Remember earlier in this guide, where we talked about the importance of UGC – particularly reviews? In 2018, your B2B brand can take that up a notch by crankin’ out awesome case studies.
Similar to reviews, this B2B content marketing trend shows off the results that your product or service has given to a customer. But, they dive deeper – and show off specific results.
“What are those results?”, I hear you ask. Well, in the case of B2B brands, the following results could be the basis of a great case study:
- ‘Our landing page plugin increased our customer’s conversions by 900% in one month’
- ‘Since our customer began using our sales software, they converted 30% more leads‘
- ‘Our marketing course allowed a content marketer to get 70% more social shares on their content’
Case studies ruling the roost, according to DemandGen’s Content Preferences Survey Report:
Your ideal customers are likely using this form of content to inform their purchase decisions, making them a great asset to your B2B content strategy.
Get ideas for your case study from your review-sourcing efforts. If you spot the basis of an awesome case study, reach out to your customer and ask for more details. Build a story around this data, and share it with the world!
5. Get rid of plain Jane
I don’t know who conjured up the idea that B2B marketing is boring. But, whoever did is wrong.
Just because we’re talking to ‘professional brands’, it doesn’t mean that our content has to bore people to tears. Guess what? The people behind these brands are in fact, people… Not bots.
Even the most “boring” of businesses can inject life into their content. (Lawyers and bankers, included.)
Do a quick Twitter search of your buyer persona, and check them out on LinkedIn. What language are they using? Do they love buzzwords like “hangry”, and use #selfie on their profile photos? Make a note of this, and our final B2B content marketing trend to inject some fun into your content.
The best example I could think of for this point is the queen of personality-filled content, Brittany Berger. Self-proclaimed “content marketing unicorn”, she helps B2B brands with their own content marketing… but isn’t shy about going out on a whim to get their attention.
Just look at her LinkedIn profile summary:
I guarantee this didn’t make you almost fall asleep in the middle of your lunch… Even though it’s written by a B2B brand.
B2B content marketing can still be personality-packed. Get rid of the complex jargon that only a handful of customers understand, and speak how you’d talk to your friends.
Granted, you’ll still need to use buzzwords that prove to your audience you know what you’re talkin’ about. But, throw words like “consumer” and “solution” into the trashcan. Nobody uses them anymore, and nobody loves boring copy – never mind get results from them.
Although giving your brand’s TOV a complete overhaul isn’t a quick job, it can do wonders for your B2B content marketing.
How are you planning to use these B2B content marketing trends for your brand, this year? Ten points to you if you’ve got one (or more) of these quick wins on your to-do list!
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