Content consumer

As any content marketer knows, the name of the game is giving your audience what they want. The problem is, sometimes that can be tricky to work out. It’s all too easy to get carried away on a wave of your own genius, penning pose that you believe engages and entertains in equal measures. But what if the only person enjoying your sparkling wit is, well, YOU? It’s essential to know your audience inside out, so B2B brands might be happy to hear that Demand Gen’s annual survey of content preferences is out. Here are a few things that buyers really want from your content in 2018…

How to stand out from the content crowd

The reason this year’s report is so darn interesting is that we’re very much in the era of content saturation. However, while there’s more dross out there than ever before, the research reveals that content still plays a key role when it comes to influencing B2B buying decisions – 49% of buyers rely more on content to make said decisions than they did last year, with 78% revealing they would check out at least three pieces of content before making contact with a sales department.

But make no mistake, buyers are feeling a tad at sea due to the sheer volume of content floating around out there. So, they’re separating the wheat from the chaff in a few marked ways.

They’re turning to industry leaders. With fake news coming at you left, right and centre, trust is more important than ever to B2B buyers. With 65% of respondents revealing they are consciously seeking out content from credible industry leaders and 78% focusing more on how trustworthy a source is than they were a year ago, it’s clear brands need to take steps to position themselves as leaders in their field, or risk their content being dismissed.

Podcasts are in. While the world and his wife have been watching video in all its various forms take the stage, podcasts sneaked in the back door and stole the show. Demand Gen revealed that 64% of B2B buyers find podcast content valuable in the early stages of the buying funnel. This placed podcasts high up in the rankings, third only to infographics (76%) and B2B news sites (65%). Additionally, 29% of buyers stated they listen to podcasts in their entirety, no matter how long they are.

Buyers love webinars. Webinars also fared well in this year’s report. Half of buyers (48%) revealed that they find webinars the number one most valuable type of content in the mid-stage of their buying journey and the form that buyers are willing to spend the most time consuming. Additionally, webinars were tied with white papers as the top form of content buyers would part with their precious personal and company data for – 75% said they would share details in return for webinar content.

But don’t neglect your blog. Blogs continue to form the bread and butter of a company’s content marketing, with 71% of B2B buyers stating they would check out blogs on their buying journey and 74% revealing they share blogs often. However, it’s more essential than ever to ensure your website and blog content is properly optimised for mobile – 84% of buyers said they either frequently or occasionally access business-related content on their smartphones. Well, you’ve got to kill that morning commute somehow.

Case studies carry clout. Finally, instead of shouting about how great you are, get your customers to do it for you… and turn it into engaging content. It appears 79% of B2B buyers are interested in case studies, seeing them as evidence of real business benefits. In fact, 42% agree it is the most valuable form of content in the late stage of the funnel.

So what can we learn…

In a nutshell, there are three key questions brands need to ask themselves when perfecting their content:

  1. Is it authentic (my favourite word at the moment!)?
  2. Does it provide genuine value?
  3. Is it served up in a format suitable for both the audience and the material you’re presenting?

Tick those boxes on a consistent basis, and you’ll position yourself in the most favourable light to buyers and be one of the trusted content sources that makes the cut.

Of course, ticking all of these quality boxes on a regular basis is easier said than done. If you’d like some help planning and creating the sort of content your audience really wants, contact M2 Bespoke today.