Crunching the content marketing numbers

The philosophy of content marketing is simple: help, don’t sell.

And B2B buyers need help now more than ever – especially since the B2B buying journey is getting longer, with 45% of B2B buyers are doing more research before purchasing than they did last year, and 90% of execs spending over 2 hours a week reading thought leadership.

So it’s no surprise that Content Marketing is so popular – in fact, the highest performing B2B marketers are spending 40% of their budget on content marketing.

But that doesn’t mean they’re all doing it right.

Only 11% of marketers rate their organisation’s content marketing as ‘sophisticated’, which begs the question: how do you get into the 11%?

Here are some, simple data-backed changes you can make to bolster your content marketing approach:

1. Be strategic

• Define a vision: 61% of C-Suiters will spend more on brands with a clear vision, so work out what yours is before you write your next blog.

• Write it down: Only 39% of content marketers have a documented strategy, but it makes them 4x more likely to be successful – so don’t keep it in your head, write your strategy down.

• Benchmark your content:Measure your performance and ROI against industry benchmarks so you can optimise as you go. For example:

If these numbers seem unrealistic, it might be worth reconsidering your current strategy.

2. Be compelling

• Stand out: 71% of execs think branded content is boring, expected and repetitive – so surprise them by being bold, challenging and unexpected.

• Get Specific: 97% of B2B Buyers prefer ‘prescriptive content’ (e.g. ‘7 tips for better budgeting) over foundational content (e.g. ‘Digital Transformation 101) or ‘conversational content’ (e.g. ‘Executive Q&A’)

• Show relevance: 79% of execs say they’re ‘much more likely’ to engage with ‘personalised’ thought leadership, so give consideration to the market, sector and role that you’re making content for.

3. Be magnetic

• Bring people to you:3/4 marketers said inbound was better for ROI. Pushing your message out has its place, but don’t think that a bloated media budget will replace a good story well told.

• Publish more: Businesses that publish 11+ blog posts per month get 3.75x more leads than businesses that only publish 0-3 blog posts per month. Keep traffic constant by sticking to a regular publishing schedule.

• Make friends: B2B buyers are 10x more trusting of 3rd party content than vendor content, so work with content partners to boost your credibility and get your content seen and shared.


• Match content to the audience: Everyone has their preferred formats, so it’s worth knowing them so you can cater to your audiences: 

  • 58% CFOs prefer case studies
  • 43% CIOs prefer interactive data tools
  • 38% CEOs prefer blogs

• Go audio-visual: Video is expensive, but it lets you harness non-verbal cues that convey sincerity and help you to build trust with buyers.

  • 65% of executives visit a vendor after watching a video
  • 75% of late-stage prospects who receive a personalised video make a purchase.

Podcasts have gained huge traction in the consumer world, and they are now starting to appear more in B2B communications:

  • 38% of B2B marketers are making more audio-based content
  • 25% of buyers use podcasts for early-stage research 

• Length matters: In 2014 the average blog post was 808 words, and has risen to 1151 in 2018 – even though 500-1000 is the ideal range for success. So when it comes to content writing, stick to the sweet spot.

In summary

Getting into the 11% of B2B marketers who have ‘sophisticated’ content marketing isn’t easy, but these tips are a good start for getting more from your budget and being seen by your buyers as a brand that can help.

If you’d like to know more about how we might give your content marketing a bit more zing, do get in touch.

~ This post is part of the Earnest Crunching the numbers series ~


[Header photo: Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash]


[Header photo: Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash]