Just look at all that content you produced in 2018: a myriad of shareable, clickable, likeable stuff.
But did it actually work? Did it reach your audience — and did they actually engage with it? Did it lead to tangible, positive results for your sales and marketing teams? Did you convert prospects into customers?
Hopefully, the answer is a resounding “YES!” But, even if you find yourself looking back on a few missed opportunities from 2018, there’s still a lot to look forward to in 2019.
Here are some B2B content marketing tips to help you start the new year right.
Ask your customers.
Keyword research and website analytics can provide valuable information about content opportunities, but those tasks overlook a key part of content marketing research: asking real customers what they think.
According to the B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America report from Marketing Profs and Content Marketing Institute, “Only 42% [of B2B content marketers] say they have conversations with customers as part of their audience research.”
As you head into 2019, think about all of the ways to gather feedback from your customers. Send out a short survey via email. Add a banner on your website that asks for a few minutes of their time to share their thoughts. Implement progressive profiling into your email marketing strategy. Heck! You could even set up a short call with a handful of customers to ask what they’d like to see more of from your company in the future.
Your existing customers are treasure troves of good information. If you simply begin to ask about their content preferences, you might learn things that help you produce more effective, resonant content than ever before.
Focus on distribution.
Oftentimes, content marketers can get hung up on content production (or as some call it, the daily grind). While quantity and consistency are important to content marketing, they won’t matter if your prospects and customers never actually find the content you’re making.
It’s a heartbreaking thought, we know.
But it reveals a big opportunity. It’s essential to know where audiences prefer to engage with content most and find ways to get creative with distribution.
John Hall, co-founder of Calendar, frames it this way:
“Could you include physical copies of content with certain products? Maybe sales and marketing can work together to target specific accounts and get relevant materials directly into their hands? Or maybe a speaking engagement is the best way to share your message with your audience?”
In short, avoid the trap of simply launching the same digital and social ad runs as you did in 2018. Try something new.
Consider emerging technology.
In Is Your CRM Ready for 2020? from Martech Advisor, Nate Skinner, VP, Product Marketing at Salesforce Pardot, talks about the importance of connecting CRM with innovative technologies and evaluating engagement across every channel.
“Marketers should be evaluating campaign performance across growing and evolving digital channels (email, messaging, voice, and video conferencing) and analyzing what channels are providing the best marketing ROI across first-touch, last-touch, and multi-touch attribution. Intelligence and analytics are at the crux of effectively evaluating engagement on digital channels of yesterday, today, and the future.”
Some of these evolving channels, such as voice, may not be the most widespread right now. While only 13% of B2B content marketers said that voice was an important content marketing issue for them in 2018, that may also mean that the opportunity is wide open for pioneers in the space.
Spearheading new ways to connect with audiences, even on a trial-and-error basis, could prime your B2B company to lead the pack in the next generation of content marketing. As 2019 starts rolling full steam ahead, it can be easy to lose sight of the optimism a new year brings. To keep you honest — and inspired — check out these 7 Inspiring B2B Marketing Campaigns.