Remember that surge of inspiration you felt January 1st? The rush of energy and optimism as you laid out goals for all you wanted to achieve with your business in 2014?
How are you doing on those goals now?
If you’re like many well-intentioned goal setters, mid-February to early March found you losing steam on your New Year’s resolutions — or losing sight of them altogether. But there’s no better time than the present to look at some 2014 trends, revisit your goals, and assess your progress.
Towards the end of last year, Joe Pulizzi wrote an insightful article for Content Marketing Institute on the current state of B2B content marketing and some expected trends for 2014. Let’s take a look at a few of the trends he highlighted, what they mean for your own marketing goals, a few questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re keeping pace with your competitors, and a few resources that can help.
44% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy.
Your content will benefit from having a well-laid plan. Not only because having a documented strategy gives your content an organized feel and allows you to build whole campaigns around a focused, centralized message, but because having a documented strategy enables you to track the success of your content and spot gaps and areas that need improvement. Ask yourself:
- Am I creating content around overarching campaign goals (thought leadership, sales enablement, etc.)?
- Do I have a clear understanding of my reader, and the specific message each piece of content is meant to convey?
- Does everyone on my team know what role they play in creating, promoting, and distributing your content?
- Do I have an effective way to measure content success?
B2B content marketers use an average of 13 tactics.
It’s time to try new things. As the content marketplace becomes more and more crowded, content marketers now face the challenge of cutting through the noise. Over the course of 2013, B2B marketers went from using an average of 12 content marketing tactics to 13 — and this number will continue to grow as marketers are forced to get creative. Ask yourself:
- Have I looked for ways to make my content more graphic and easy-to-consume (think infographics and short animated videos)?
- Have I explored my options for creating more interactive content, using tactics such as gamification or an interactive microsite?
- Am I making my content more engaging by including a human element (webinars, podcasts, or video interviews)?
B2B marketers are now using an average of six social media platforms.
It’s not just about creating the right content anymore, it’s about distributing it effectively through the right channels. And as these channels become more crowded with content, marketers are branching out to find new outlets — and the right outlets for their audience. In 2013, B2B marketers went from using an average of five social media platforms to six. Additionally, the focus in channels continues to shift, as Pulizzi notes:
The social media platforms that have experienced the biggest surges in use, year over year, are SlideShare (40 percent vs. 23 percent), Google+ (55 percent vs. 39 percent), and Instagram (22 percent vs. 7 percent).
A few questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re distributing your content effectively:
- What new social media platforms have I explored so far in 2014?
- Do I have a thorough understanding of my audience on each channel, and how I should adjust my messaging accordingly?
- Do I have an effective method for measuring social media success, so that I can understand which channels are working and which aren’t?
What are some other prevalent B2B marketing trends that you’ve taken note of in 2014? We’d love to hear from you in our comments section!