The Future of Content Marketing

Few ideas have captured B2B marketers’ attention like content marketing. It’s one of the few ideas that has made an almost effortless transition from the consumer world. B2B marketers are realizing that they've got stories to tell, and that their audience is listening.

Nothing drives this point home more than Content Marketing World. Put on my Joe Pulizzi and his team at the Content Marketing Institute, they've managed to turn CMW into one of THE conferences to attend for any marketer. Attendance nearly doubled from 2012 to 2013, and included such high-profile marketers like Jay Baer, Lee Odden, Ann Handley, and a ton more.

Michael Stelzner gave a great recap of his experience at the event in his post What is the Future of Content Marketing? After digesting the experience and the information he heard there, he talked about four reasons why B2B marketers need to ask about the future of content marketing:

#1 – Content Marketing has arrived. And it’ll continue to grow. At CMW we saw that more marketers than ever are doing it, and using the ever-increasing number of software tools with it.

#2 – The campaign-only model is dead. B2B marketing is no longer the domain of the one-and-done campaign or promotion. To succeed in the CM environment, marketers must create “always-on”, continuous programs and strategy that drive demand–and convert.

#3 – B2B buyers are consuming more content than ever. A recent report from the CMO Council and NetLine confirms this – 94% of B2B organizations consume AND circulate content internally before making a purchase. Eccolo Media also notes this, where they previously only saw five content types in 2008, B2B marketers are now producing an average of 16 of them.

  • Pro tip: Creating a mountain of content simply to “break through the noise” shouldn't be the focus of B2B marketers. Instead, focus on the best content your prospects need to engage them. High-quality content created in the most effective format will win every time, whether that’s a case study, blog post, video interview, or webinar.

#4 – Content Marketing is customer-centric. B2B marketers have finally realized that while their customers are enterprise-sized, the initial point of contact is still a person, a human. They've taken on the mindset of “brand journalists” to create content that speaks directly to people, engaging them, and earning their trust.

Final Thought

Fully embracing content marketing in the B2B realm has led to the creation of “brand journalism” or “B2B newsrooms”. That’s because B2B marketers are producing such a variety of content today that it’s necessary to blend good writers with marketers. Marketing strategist, journalists, and copywriters are now working together. Some create content to generate leads. Others write to inform and generate brand awareness. Others write to sway and engage.

That’s a lot of different goals; however the one thread that runs through all those activities is the need to tell your story. Storytelling is not only the wave of the marketing future, but the present. How are you embracing content marketing and storytelling in your B2B marketing programs? Hit the comments and let us know.

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