Sometimes marketers can spot trends as they are on the rise and sometimes we are hit over the head with them (can we say ChatGPT?).
What we’ve seen so far this year has been a mix of both: trends that have been gaining steam for a long time and quick pivots as marketers adapt. The past six months alone have given us everything from AI writing to Twitter uncertainties. Everyone loves to talk about their predictions at the start of the new year, but it’s always interesting to watch reality unfold.
Are we crystal ball-gazers? Of course not! But we’ve been watching and listening and have seen some themes emerge for B2B content marketing — trends that will likely continue beyond 2023.
Content efficiency matters more than ever
Had anyone heard of Mastodon a year ago? Or how about the rise of TikTok as a social channel for B2B brands? Have the words “media company” been floated around your content team?
But as marketing teams have felt the pressure of the economic downturn, they know the task at hand: produce content on smaller budgets and with fewer resources.
That means honing in on the content strategies that are working. There isn’t much room for investing your time across multiple channels if you’re not seeing results.
More than ever, teams need to:
- Use resources wisely
- Automate (or possibly eliminate) tedious tasks
- Repurpose content to gain more mileage
“Content repurposing is about getting the maximum return from every single piece of content you create. Content repurposing can take many forms, and there are lots of different and creative ways that you can repurpose your content, but every content creator must repurpose.” – Amy Woods, Content 10X
While you may be relying on the savvy of your in-house team, if they’re stretched too thin it’ll impact their work. And if your resources are limited, be mindful of what you’re asking them to do. Very few content marketers are unicorns who excel across multiple types of content, so play to their strengths. If you need to, supplement your team with external resources for very specific tasks (like editing or an eBook).“Repurposing is about getting the maximum return from every single piece of content you create. Content repurposing can take many forms, and there are lots of different and creative ways that you can repurpose.” — Amy Woods @content10x Click To Tweet
Attribution is a tricky business
As content teams branch out more into media like video and podcasts, it becomes harder to measure the ROI of these efforts — at a time when your content team may be feeling the pressure to produce results.
We wrote about dark social back in 2021 and the black hole for attribution has only grown. Take a look at LinkedIn and Twitter: how often do you see products mentioned in posts by fans (rather than a company employee) or in comments? And as buyers feel the pressure of the economic downturn, they’ll rely even more on people they trust — friends and colleagues — for recommendations.
We’ve seen the rise in roles like community managers, brand evangelists, and B2B influencers as a direct result of dark social. People with strong personal brands showing up where potential buyers are: not with a hard sell, but with helpful insights or comments.
Can all of these efforts be directly attributed to a lead or sale? No. But can you find a way to measure success? Absolutely. You can think about the goals and metrics that make sense for each platform, as well as how these KPIs work together towards business goals.
High-quality content wins (but don’t ignore AI)
There’s no doubt that AI content is making headlines. Companies promise human-sounding content — even entire blog posts — in minutes.
While these tools may look flashy in demos or videos, the reality is much different. Google has redefined quality content for SEO. And any AI writing tools need careful prompting from a human to get decent output and strong editing so that a draft has nuance and depth. Basically, qualities that separate humans from robots!
If you rely too heavily on AI, your content will start to sound like everything else on the internet. Truly unique content will be sprinkled with interviews with subject-matter experts, proprietary data or surveys, and thought leadership.
That being said, your content team should explore how AI can make their jobs easier. Whether it is ideating more quickly or pulling insights from a long transcript, AI has a role as a vital supplement for busy content teams. You should be exploring use cases, and encouraging your team to do the same.
Maintain your focus
We’ve shared previously on ways to boost B2B marketing efforts with better focus.
In our mind, 2023 may not be the year for big new initiatives, but instead, this is a time for B2B marketers to be laser-focused on what is working and what drives impact.
“I think the biggest challenge for marketers right now is prioritization. There are too many channels to organize and keep up with. Simplifying and focusing on what reaches your audience is key.” — Nick Bennett, Airmeet“I think the biggest challenge for marketers right now is prioritization. There are too many channels to organize and keep up with. Simplifying and focusing on what reaches your audience is key.” — Nick Bennett @NickB2005 Click To Tweet
By focusing on the content you know you can produce well that creates engagement and conversion, and are able to duplicate the process and results, you will build a solid foundation to continue to build on with more creative content in the future.
There will always be ebbs and flows. Use this time to solidify your brand voice, show up consistently, and engage with your customers.
Moving further into 2023, if you are looking for a content partner who can help identify what is working, what needs to be optimized and a team that can create efficient content that builds credibility, increases engagement and gets you more customers, it may be time to connect with the TopRank Marketing team. Book a time to learn more!