Content marketing has been around for a while now. As we look forward to 2021, B2B marketers should also be aware that great content evolves and adapts with its audience and the world around it.
As we usher in a new year, B2B marketing teams should start thinking beyond the standard blog post and content promotion on social media.
Here are five B2B content marketing trends and ideas to help push your brand and business forward in 2021.
The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Business
Get ready for 2021 with these B2B content marketing trends
One of the most startling statistics as we head into 2021 is that 21 percent of B2B teams still don’t have a cohesive B2B content marketing strategy. They’re just publishing content when they feel like it. It seems like these businesses aren’t focused on creating value-packed content, don’t realize how impactful it can be, or aren’t using content marketing for B2B interactions.
If you’re one of these brands, that’s a lot of missed opportunities.
Meanwhile, if your business is already invested in B2B content marketing, it might not be effective if you’re not up to date on the current trends and the types of content that drive your marketing funnel.
Here’s what you need to know about B2B content marketing trends to get ready for 2021.
#1. Video content
While video’s popularity in B2C marketing is unrivaled, video content is critical in B2B content marketing campaigns.
Video content consistently drives higher engagement levels and is more likely to move potential business partners and service customers through your marketing funnel towards conversion.
A well-crafted infographic video can engage the audience more than a 50-page white paper. Video content is an opportunity for your brand to stand out and tell potential business partners more about your business culture and commitment, even while learning about your product offerings and key statistics.
Video is even more critical in B2B tech, where businesses are looking to get a lot of information quickly. The video below is a good example.
More importantly, your potential business partners are looking to work with dedicated and engaging companies since it’s what they’re looking for as well to help push their brands forward.
Podcasting is another marketing strategy we already knew was profitable and effective in the B2C space. In 2021, podcasts can offer a huge benefit for B2B marketers.
Podcasts, at their core, are informative, conversational, and informal. This is an excellent opportunity for businesses who are looking to step up their B2B marketing content. Podcasts can be relatively low investment forms of content because a great podcast doesn’t necessarily need a lot of high-quality equipment or expensive technicians to produce.
Most businesses can make a good podcast with a couple of microphones and a relatively quiet office.
Plus, publishing podcasts is incredibly easy. It’s often free to get your podcast listed on the major distribution platforms, increasing your possible exposure exponentially. Since podcasts are incredibly affordable, you can also use these marketing tools to help attract customers at any point on your marketing funnel.
An introductory podcast can increase your brand exposure and recognition, while the rest of your podcast episodes can focus on trends and thought leadership. It can increase conversion and even improve your business partnership retention.
Better yet, this is a trend you can take advantage of with minimal time investment. A quick 30-minute conversation or presentation and an hour or two of audio editing, and you’re ready to publish. Every episode is a permanent addition to your B2B marketing content, offering a quick return on investment as you head into 2021.
Since podcasts are easy to produce, they can also act as excellent supplement content to your existing B2B marketing efforts.
Not sure if podcasts are a good fit for your business model? Here’s how to use podcasts to surprise listeners and drive engagement.
#3. Co-marketing partnerships
One thing that often leaves us scratching our heads is a businesses’ tendency to focus on themselves in their B2B and B2C marketing. The problem is that marketing this way doesn’t have the extended reach an excellent marketing campaign needs.
Talking about your current business partners and developing a working partnership with their marketing team is a fantastic way to extend your marketing reach and attract new business partners.
Not only is this a great way to maintain and grow your existing business relationships, but it can also help convince other businesses that they want to work with you. Marketing partnerships prove that you care about your business partners and will work to help them grow.
#4. Personalized email marketing
Email marketing is nothing new. Everyone’s inbox is probably filled with automatic email campaigns that mostly get ignored or sent directly to the junk bin.
Personalized email marketing is something different, especially in B2B content marketing.
Truly personalized emails might take a little more time to produce, especially if you’re trying to create an email funnel or pitch for specific businesses, but they’re often worth it.
Focus on pitch emails and outreach. This is where it’s most important to nail your B2B content, and it’s where businesses are most likely to look for personalized content.
Think about it, do you like receiving the same blanket email that was sent to hundreds of other business owners and strategists? What about receiving an email customized to you that clearly understands who you are and your business goals?
You’re a lot more likely to pay attention to the email that was written for you, and so are the businesses you’re marketing to.
Even if all of your follow up content is from a generic email list or funnel, building that initial trust and investment will help keep businesses engaged and more responsive to future marketing efforts.
#5. Featured snippets
Ever notice that section at the top of your Google search page that directly answers your question? You’re looking at a featured snippet.
It directly and quickly provides the most relevant information on the page. Google doesn’t generate those on its own. Instead, they rely on content creators, like your marketing team, to provide relevant and insightful answers to common questions.
Getting a featured snippet on Google, targeted at common search terms used by the businesses you work with, is a powerful way to get more exposure.
A great featured snippet not only drives engagement with your content; it also provides a tremendous amount of authority that you are the resource businesses should be working with to solve their problems.
Landing a featured snippet requires a bit of science, and you’ll need top-notch SEO and a good writing team. Take a look at this guide to Google SEO success in 2021 to get started.
B2B marketing can seem like shooting in the dark and seeing what sticks. The truth is that B2B doesn’t have to be that different from B2C as long as you understand your audience and know what answers they’re seeking.
Staying on top of the latest content strategies and trends is one of the best ways to make the most of your B2B marketing as we head into 2021.
Which trends are you planning to work on next year?
Guest author: Kai Tomboc is the resident wordsmith for Easelly, makers of a simple infographic maker tool, and an information design service studio. When not engrossed in a book, she’s most likely taming tardigrades or trying really hard to perfect her one-handed kettlebell swing.