Imagine being in a race and choosing to start 10 seconds later than it actually begins, giving everyone else a head start. Why would you ever do that? If you’re not currently gathering data on your target audience to better understand content trends and how to capture your audience members’ attention, you’re already behind the competition.
NetLine, the leading B2B buyer engagement platform, has gained insights into the minds of buyers from a year’s worth of data, which has resulted in the identification of compelling content marketing trends, best practices, and themes every content marketer can use to better inform their strategies. The 2019 State of B2B Content Consumption and Demand Report analyzes over 4 million content downloads generated by B2B buyers spanning hundreds of industries as they actively researched various business-related topics.
This can either sound fascinating or exhausting depending on your relationship with data. We get it. Plenty of reports throw stats at you without much context, leaving you with endless questions, uncertainty about the accuracy of the information, and no actionable insight. Just like not all content is created equal, neither is data.
That’s why we’re sharing specific key takeaways from this report to help better inform your content creation process.
Demand for high-quality content is increasing, and so is the reward. Professionals across almost all job levels are requesting content less frequently but are quicker to consume the content they do request.
So, what does this mean? Don’t create content for the sake of creating content. Create content to deliver a meaningful and valuable message that will transform a site visit into a meaningful and valuable relationship.
This shift also indicates that professionals are more satisfied with less engagement. While they are quicker to engage with requested content, they are only downloading content they believe will expeditiously solve a problem or answer a question. Long story short: value over vapor, people.
The time between the moment content is requested and the moment it’s opened for consumption is a phenomenon we’ve coined “the consumption gap.” This gap in time is an often overlooked aspect of content marketing, wherein sales engages prematurely with a lead who has yet to consume the requested content. The conversation lacks value for both parties, and the lead goes to waste. Fluctuations in this data reveal insights on content resonance, buyer readiness, and targeting opportunities.
Crafting content related to specific job areas sometimes gets short shrift. To provide the most quality, it’s more relevant than ever to deliver content that is statistically more likely to be consumed by your target audience.
Of the total audience the data was pulled from, 64% are at the managerial level and up. If you’re targeting larger companies and focusing on only the C-suite, you are putting all of your eggs into one, very exclusive basket of folks who rarely have time to research products or solutions. The larger buying committee has collective influence, and its members are the most active with their content consumption. Looking at how quickly they consume content according to job level puts you in the position to cater content directly to these individuals.
Pro tip: Expand your reach to the people who have time to consume your content and still impact buying decisions. Leveraging this data for your targeting strategy improves your ability to tailor content to meet the needs of specific job areas.
Maximizing engagement is not only on the top of every content strategy to-do list, but it’s often a top pain point. “How can I get through to my audience better?” is a question whose answer continuously evolves based on new trends.
Use thought-provoking questions to help you think outside of the box and achieve engaging content creation:
The most downloaded content types include e-books, whitepapers, and guides. Because they’re longer-form, these content assets tend to share more in-depth tips and provide education that audience members can continuously use and gather insight from. Our findings show us that people also prefer content like “X Tips to Improve ...” and “How to Do X ...” Titles like these are straightforward and promise value upfront. It also doesn’t hurt to create a bit of urgency and need: Another top-performing title type is “X Secrets for ...”
Marketers and their audiences have come to prefer the well-known structure of such pieces, which are simpler to create than essay-style content and provide a quick, compelling read for busy professionals. As for the themes that garnered the most engagement, productivity, work-life balance, and leadership are a few consistent top performers.
Maximizing engagement is all about breaking through the noise, right? Enhancing content resonance requires more than creating content directly related to business or technical topics. Piggybacking off the revelation that content themes such as work-life balance rank high in interest, you can capture your buyers’ eyes while still being informative by incorporating lifestyle topics into your content.
Put yourself in your buyers’ shoes. What are they drawn to? Some lifestyle interest areas to explore include:
While every business has its own goals and objectives, a holistic view of buyer-engagement activity at this scale sets up content marketing campaigns for success. Regardless of what part of your content strategy needs optimizing, leveraging fully permissioned data to create compelling content that will help generate leads gives your message the competitive edge it’s been looking for.