When it comes to content marketing, let's lay to rest any notion it's just an option if you want to run a successful B2B enterprise.
It's absolutely mandatory, and if the following stats won't convince even the most Neanderthal CEO of that...well, I don't know what else would. A Chapter 11 filing?
1. B2B marketers that blog get 67% more leads than those that don't.
If you're dishing out valuable content on a regular basis, you'll drive higher search rankings and more leads, period. The best part? That content is still working even when you're enjoying that V.I.P. week on Maui your boss gave you for all your good work in filling the pipeline. Even older blogposts will get noticed, if they're still relevant.
2. 51% of B2B buyers depend more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they than did a year ago.
A related stat: 47% of B2B buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content before ever engaging with a salesperson. So it's a lead pipe cinch you'll be squandering a huge number of potential leads and sales if you're not doing a blogging or content program of some kind, or doing a half-assed job of it. Remember, they're comparing your white papers, blogposts and case studies to those of your competition. Do you measure up?
3. The marketing software market is growing at a breakneck pace.
That segment has been projected to be worth more than $32.3 billion in sales by 2018, making it one of the fastest-growing categories in high tech, if it maintains its compound annual growth rate of 12.4%. So there'll be more platforms and tools than ever, even as the bigger fish merge or are acquired. Which means there'll be a need for more content than ever.
4. By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without ever talking to another human being.
So without talking to a sales rep or a customer service person, how will they learn about what you're selling? Through your content. Even a virtual salesbot will need good content to back up its pitch. According to one technology leader, most sales jobs will be done by AI in just ten years.
5. Posts longer than 1,500 words see 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than shorter posts.
This one comes straight from Neil Patel, but it's been reinforced time and again over recent years. I wrote about the new rules for blogpost length myself recently. It seems like the optimal length of top-ranking posts is getting longer as time goes on. Why? Because people want deeper, better content, and they're willing to share that content if it's quality.
6. White papers are the content that B2B buyers are mostly likely to share with colleagues.
There's that depth-and-breadth argument again! White papers are most likely to be shared 79% of the time, with webinars at 68% and infographics at 67%. So white papers are a crucial investment if you're serious about B2B content marketing -- but they shouldn't preclude other tactics. Give yourself every chance to be seen and shared!
7. 96% want content with more input from industry thought leaders.
If you've got a CEO, CTO or CMO who's reluctant about putting his/herself out there, make them realize how important it is, in the bigger scheme of things, to assume that "thought leadership" mantle. Developing that reputation and then attaching a thought leader's name attached to a blogpost or white paper is mightily reassuring to your prospect, as it puts a human face and perceived substance behind the message.
8. 88% of B2B marketers in North America use content marketing. But...
That said, are they using effectively? The same study found that 32% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy -- an actual decline from 35% in 2015. But companies that document that strategy are invariably more effective at content than those who don't. It may be that many marketers are jumping into the content pool as a way to keep up with the Joneses, but aren't applying the planning, discipline and integration that are just as important to content marketing as they are to any other channel.
9. Three quarters of executives watch work-related video each week
Video will be king of the hill for engaging consumers, making up nearly 70% of consumer web traffic by 2017, but it'll be nearly as important for B2B marketing. 75% of execs watch work-related videos on business-related websites at least weekly, and 52% do it on YouTube. Those videos get shared, too. But don't forget to use the audio podcast format, either, as that segment is booming.
It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.