New B2B Content Marketing Research

A little over a week ago, Joe Pulizzi, content marketing rockstar, evangelist, & founder of the Content Marketing Institute (in other words, he’s awesome!) posted some “shocking content marketing research findings” from the 2014 Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks study.

Uh-oh. More on that in a sec.

As a content marketer with my share of B2B clients, anything on the topic usually catches my eye, but never more quickly than when the Content Marketing Institute has something to say about it. (Sidenote: I feel pretty lucky/proud to have CMI right up the road in Cleveland.)

Anyone who’s a practitioner of B2B content marketing knows it can be a tricky endeavor. Some of the relative easy successes that B2C brands see with, say, social media are hard fought battles for B2Bs. You’ll rarely find the words “easy wins” and “B2B content marketing” uttered in the same sentence. This can lead to feelings of ineffectiveness and a general lack of confidence. But there are certain things we can do (and NOT DO) to have an increased chance at success. Joe pointed out eight areas of concern, and of those, three of them really hit home for me.

Read on for his thoughts, followed by mine.

The first one (#2 on Joe’s list). He says:

CMI 1

Collyn’s take: I can’t speak to whether or not the 44% is likely inflated, but I can say that B2B content marketing is HARD. Knowing that you can’t just throw B2B content against a wall and expect it to stick, a well-constructed strategy is a must for any chance of success. As in, a planned six-month or yearly strategy of what/when/where/how B2B content should be created, distributed and measured.

With so many B2B marketers operating without a documented strategy, it’s no wonder their confidence and effectiveness numbers trail those of B2C marketers.

Next up, #6 on Joe’s list. He says:

CMI 2

Collyn’s take: As a digital marketer, most of me wants to declare print dead, forever and ever, amen. However, we have a local client who did something interesting with print that made me rethink its value. We created a very cool online tool for the client, promoted it pretty heavily via online channels, then created a targeted print companion piece that would drive users to the online tool. It worked well and proved to me that print is to the point of being TOO overlooked.

And finally, #8 on Joe’s list. He says:

CMI 3Collyn’s take: YES! …to what Joe said. Web traffic is a decent measurement, for sure. I mean, eyeballs on your site is a start, and if you don’t have eyeballs on your site, that definitely signifies some problems.

But let’s take a business blog for instance. Say you have pretty decent traffic on the site, and maybe you have optimized your blog to rank well in search engines. But say the blog also has minimal subscribers and a 70%+ bounce rate (incoming users not clicking beyond the page they landed on.) There’s a much bigger lesson to be learned from that metric – people are not staying on your site and they’re not subscribing to your content. You aren’t crafting your story in a way to engage them to stay with you and learn more.

To wrap up, B2B content marketing is a challenge, no doubt. But there are steps we can take to plan, implement and measure it more effectively. This is a start.

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