Change is the only constant in life, and the B2B world is no different.
The pandemic has accelerated the ongoing digital shift, making business decision-makers realize that the way they find and attract new B2B customers is no longer what it used to be.
In 2023, a raft of progressive B2B content marketing trends will embody this understanding, as well as help form a very different digital marketing strategy from just a few years ago.
An eye-opening report from the McKinsey consultancy firm paints a clear picture of the new era that marketing teams must embrace. Over three-quarters of B2B customers now prefer digital interactions to face-to-face meetings, with 70% of them comfortable with agreeing to large purchases (i.e, over $50,000) this way. Often, this requires a digital marketing strategy that addresses B2B prospects across multiple channels and in multiple formats over at least a 3-month period, all with B2B messaging made from high-quality expert insight (such as from ideas taken from subject matter expert interviews).
It makes sense. Digital marketing provides both B2B buyers and sellers with huge advantages.
For customers, it affords them precious time to assess and digest quality information rather than feel pressured into making a face-to-face decision.
B2B brands, meanwhile, save money on in-person client visits, extend their reach, and dramatically improve sales effectiveness. Free from the shackles of the journey time and meeting that an in-person encounter demands, digital marketers have the luxury of more time, and they can design digital marketing campaigns tailored to different customer segments.
Yet, this also puts pressure on B2B sales teams to come up with the content marketing strategy that gets the best returns on their marketing budget in terms of lead generation and conversions.
In fact, creating any kind of documented strategy at all puts B2B brands ahead of 60% of rivals, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
How to step ahead of 60% of B2B marketers
Source: Content Marketing Institute
While this may sound daunting, we can assess the current market to give us clues as to how to achieve this ahead of slower-moving rivals.
As we stand on the threshold of a brand-new year, knowing which B2B content marketing trends to analyze will provide B2B companies with a launchpad for sustained growth in 2023.
Want to stay ahead of the content marketing curve in 2023 and beyond? Book a no-cost consultation with our experts who specialize in increasing brand visibility, engagement, and conversions in today’s B2B market – and stay one step in front of rivals.
5 B2B content marketing trends that will hit the mark in 2023
Whether it’s adapting to new technology or identifying new customer segments, creating a dynamic content strategy complete with effective marketing tactics is never easy.
To help, we should always stay in touch with new market developments. Looking at these through the lens of the following five B2B content marketing benchmarks will help us identify which areas we should target in 2023.
1. The growing importance of subject matter expertise
Focusing on just search-engine-friendly content doesn’t cut it anymore.
In 2023, B2B marketing needs to be customer-centric, with pieces of content that speak directly to people that are often highly educated in a specific subject, not a Google algorithm.
Yet, this poses a challenge.
B2B marketing content must satisfy and convince key decision makers, often C-level executives who are experts themselves. To provide them with value, the content has to educate them and demonstrate specific expertise (if not to say “thought leadership”).
Only then will they begin to trust the brand behind the content.
Here, journalistic techniques of the content marketer are key. The route to authority and credibility is forged through accurate and relevant research into the client’s industry. Quoting the voices of experts and linking to excellent sources are the two vehicles toward reaching this goal, both of which help to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and conversion performance along the way.
Topics might include new technology, industry trends, and opinion pieces, which may be presented in the form of white papers, business reports, blog posts and webinars.
For many brands, the time and effort involved in creating these pieces means they often choose to outsource this content creation to a specialist agency like Mint Position that knows how to deliver it most effectively.
In fact, a quarter of B2B brands say they’ll consider this in 2023, according to the Content Marketing Institute research mentioned previously.
In the creation of these strategies, the content marketing sales funnel is a tried-and-tested method. This is a process that aims to help guide the readers along a buyer journey from being a mildly interested internet user to a fully signed-up customer.
Subject matter expertise is perfect for people at the top of the funnel, where quality insights from external experts help readers become aware of a solution to industry pain points that could help improve their business.
Here, demonstrating relevant and thoughtful content helps the user build trust in the brand, which spurs them to progress further down the funnel, where they’ll encounter more product-specific content from internal experts that ultimately pushes them toward a purchase decision.
Mint Position’s content marketing funnel where external expertise begins the buyer journey
As content marketing takes on a more customer-centric focus in 2023, proprietary reports, business guides, and white papers using subject expertise in this way will become weapons of choice for B2B marketers eager to demonstrate their worth to highly discerning target customers.
2. Exclusive interviews with industry specialists
As clients move further down the funnel they begin to want more precise information about how a B2B brand’s product or service can address their pain points. They then begin to seek the direct thoughts of fellow industry leaders.
Conducting one-on-one interviews with these influential figures is the best way of doing this, essentially taking subject matter expertise to the next level by exploring the hearts and minds of those ‘in the know’.
Doing the extra legwork here also puts a B2B brand one step ahead of its competitors, most of whom don’t extend further than Google research.
Interviews bring unique insights to the discussion, whether at the top, middle, or bottom of the funnel. External experts, like industry heavyweights, help to engage and educate the reader.
Insights from in-house specialists, meanwhile, work better as the buyer moves down the funnel and seeks more specific details about why the brand’s solution is correct for them.
Quality interviews also provide pathways to other valuable brand-related content. If the interview topic is a point of contention, then a social poll can stir up a wider discussion and generate brand awareness. They might form the basis of a white paper or report that further boosts the brand’s credibility.
As brands seek ways to stand out in a busy digital marketing sphere in 2023, interviews are the seal of quality that marks out the very best content.
3. Focus on lead generation via social media
LinkedIn is the social network of choice for the B2B crowd.
One of the main reasons behind this is the LinkedIn lead generation form, a B2B game-changer whose importance will continue to grow in 2023.
US customer engagement platform Twilio has mastered the art of capturing new leads by including expertly crafted ebooks in its marketing efforts for many years.
Ebooks are a potent tool for generating new leads very quickly: they deliver valuable and specific information to the reader (instead of a sales pitch) in return for their email address or cell number.
According to Marketing Profs, a prominent research agency, they were one of the highest-ranking B2B content assets last year, along with white papers and research reports, which we’ll come to soon.
Source: Marketing Profs
Twilio offers ebooks on many industry-related topics. It makes the use of its messaging and voice services more accessible via how-to guides, some of which are even for sale in online bookstores.
Mint Position client Reloadly experienced the powerful draw of ebooks first-hand during a 2021 social media marketing campaign.
Within just one month, they had collected nearly 1,000 fresh leads from C-suite executives following a white paper on digital mobile payment platforms, a hot topic at the time.
Reloadly and Mint Position’s ebook led to almost 1,000 new leads
By drawing on a well of niche expertise, academic research, and quality journalistic know-how, the paper built enough authority to convert many of those leads into new clients via a dedicated landing page.
But it’s not just Twilio or Reloadly who can reap the rewards of this powerful marketing tactic in 2023. Any B2B brand can take full advantage by publishing about timely hot topics most likely to attract their target audience.
By backing them up with consistent and engaging posts and frequent interaction with social media followers, ebooks will continue to be one of the most powerful catalysts of lead generation for the B2B market in 2023.
4. An omnichannel approach for a busy B2B audience
The B2B market covers a broad realm of professionals, many of whom don’t have the time or attention span to read an ebook or an in-depth interview, especially in a busy 2023 where businesses are working overtime in challenging economic conditions.
Even when down right, the average buyer journey for many B2B industries is still long — at least 3 months of interactions to gain new leads from prospects, which can include as many as 10 to 13 impressions of your brand.
The job of the content marketer, then, is to cover a range of marketing channels to connect with as much of their target audience as frequently and efficiently as possible within the first 3 months of contact.
The omnichannel approach mentioned at the start of this article is the perfect example of this, and a 2023 version might include all of the following instruments:
- Short video marketing on of YouTube, especially showing tutorial and case studies
- Website blogs and articles with short-form video content, promoted on social media platforms
- Audio content, such as radio ads, interviews, and podcasts that can also be embedded in blogs
- Infographics and illustrations, especially within ebooks and white papers
- Live chat. Real-time digital interactions have leaped by 69% since the pandemic, according to the above McKinsey report, compared to a sustained drop in face-to-face meetings.
Playing all these instruments at the same time is one thing, but if they don’t unify as part of an orchestra then their power gets lost. This is where a coherent content strategy comes in, playing the part of the conductor in bringing them together as a whole.
For busy B2B brands, achieving such a feat is a big ask, which is why a good content marketing agency is worth its weight in gold. Not only do these agencies excel in the role of a marketing conductor, but they also have the expertise and dedication to nail the message-market fit that leads to an upward curve in conversions.
Producing many types of content in this way is also great for SEO. Engaging multi-channel content acts as a passive lead magnet that attracts potential customers and keeps them engaged on web pages for longer, a powerful signal to Google that the content provides value.
5. Publish more proprietary statistics
In a demanding 2023 B2B market, statistics can be an invaluable vehicle in revealing the truth about a brand that might get lost in all the hype of its marketing campaign.
Providing high-quality in-house data isn’t just a boon for other executives in a target industry, but it also solidifies a B2B brand’s position as an expert in their niche.
Companies want valuable insights from other successful brands, a phenomenon that’s reflected in the rise of influencers in the B2C market. Educating viewers demonstrates extremely strong brand value.
Take the example of NOW Money, a UAE-based fintech that specializes in providing flexible payroll solutions to GCC-based businesses. Their report on migrant spending data shed light on a blue-collar worker market that had remained largely unexplored by their clients.
By providing a rich stream of original statistics and data, they presented current spending trends within this important demographic, including a rise in staycations, personal spending, and remittances.
The report struck a chord with NOW’s data-starved B2B clients and contributed to a 6.5x rise in organic traffic just a month after teaming up with Mint Position.
A summary of B2B content marketing trends in 2023
The world of B2B content marketing is very different from the one we had just a few years ago.
The digital shift accelerated by the pandemic is not only leading to more remote interactions, but it’s also making content marketing much more sophisticated.
Online consumers, particularly B2B, are not attracted by clickbait material designed to produce the most impressions. They want high-quality expert content that scores so highly with Google’s Algorithm Ranking Factors in 2023.
The five trends in this article reflect this paradigm shift which is so integral to Mint Position’s cutting-edge B2B marketing strategy.
1. Content marketing funnel
Providing a B2B target audience with subject matter expertise and interviews with industry leaders helps guide them through the all-important content funnel – a process that builds awareness of product-specific solutions and maximizes conversions.
2. Quality journalistic content
Whether researching proprietary statistics, sharing the thoughts of industry experts, and presenting the two as part of a case study, B2B brands need access to top-quality journalistic skills to rank highly these days.
Diligent and well-written reporting not only resonates with well-educated C-level executives, but they satisfy modern search engines who now know valuable content when they see it.
3. SEO writing
Infusing this content with high-ranking keywords and lead magnets (like ebooks and in-house case studies) across multiple channels is part of a clever SEO strategy. It helps maximize what is called ‘search intent’, which is when we understand the motives behind our target customers’ searches.
Once we have this, we can then structure quality content around it.
Hitting the sweet spot where these three vital factors meet is what we specialize in. In fact, it’s how we got our name: Mint Position.
Embracing the latest content marketing trends, whether via an omnichannel approach or niche content creation, is vital for B2B brands to stay in the mint position for 2023 and beyond.
Ready to embrace the opportunities 2023 has to offer? Get in touch with us and we’ll show you how our unique content marketing plan will increase your desired organic traffic, generate conversions, and mark you stick out as a leader in your industry.