The end of 2018 is rapidly approaching, and with holiday festivities and temperature drops come summaries of trends that pushed our industry forward and predictions for the year ahead.
In this spirit, we dove into Content Marketing Institute’s annual report on B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends for 2019.
We’ve cited previous versions of this report in tons of past blogs and assets, and refer to the research often in our day-to-day strategy and planning. And as content marketers, we know how important it is stay ahead of the curve, and using targeted research like this provides a great advantage.
So what did we learn from this year’s report? Here are our top three insights, which we’ve paired with actionable tips to move your content marketing efforts ahead in 2019.
Our Top Three Insights from Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2019 Research
#1: Content creation is the fastest growing area of spending for B2B marketers.
A positive sign of growth for content marketing operations—budgets are increasing. Content marketing is no longer a “nice to have” but a necessity that is driving buying decisions for large and small businesses alike.
But with increased investments into their content marketing efforts, how are businesses scaling their needs? How are they choosing which tools to use, and how are they utilizing not only their resources, but their time?
We believe that as content marketing budgets and spending increase, marketers will also have a increased need to create effective content that provides a significant return on investment.
Demonstrating ROI in the content marketing space is easier said than done, though we suggest developing key benchmarks for each project you create, which can later tell a story to executives. Get more tips from CMI here.
Here’s a Tip: Limited resources or budget for content creation? Consider creating an interactive version of a static piece that’s performed well for you in the past. By developing an interactive asset, you’re fostering audience engagement; by repurposing content or research that you’ve already produced and know people are interested in, you’re killing two birds with one stone.
#2: Marketers have significantly increased their use of visual content.
It’s no secret—visual content continues to reign supreme. Whether it’s an engaging infographic or an interactive quiz, visuals are an indispensable element when it comes to crafting your brand.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, though when you’re creating interesting graphics that tell the story of your product or solution, a picture (or many pictures) might be just what it takes to motivate your buyer along their journey to purchase.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, eye-tracking studies showed that internet readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. When images are relevant, readers even spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text.
If users are spending most of their time looking at images, then the images used should be visually interesting, support the topic at hand, and convey clear messaging.
With this in mind, the CMI study found that 64% increased their use of audio/visual content like webinars and videos, while another 56% reported an increase in their use of images, whether infographics, charts, or brand photography.
Here’s an Example: Here’s an effective example of brand photography in action. Lancôme used Visually’s network of creative professionals to develop beautiful, on-brand photography that told the Lancôme story and resonated with social media users, resulting in brand differentiation and increased engagement.
#3: Marketers have increased their use of social media for content marketing purposes.
Ah, social. The nature of what we post and where and how we post it is changing even as I’m writing this blog (farewell, Google Plus). For B2B marketers, social media can be a powerful tool for brand awareness and education—when it’s used with careful thought.
Planning for social media can be tricky, though with the advent of AI-powered technologies, planning efforts can be facilitated more easily—which is awesome, especially when managing multiple accounts on multiple platforms.
A healthy 61%, as demonstrated below, reported using social media for content marketing. As this figure will likely only increase, the use of supportive tools like AI will become even more critical to crafting a social voice that speaks to the brand—and speaks up clearly in a crowded, noisy market.
Here’s a Tip: Fifty percent of those surveyed by CMI reported using social media listening to plan their content and approach, which tells us it’s important to do our research. The key to crafting engaging content on social media is to understand the audience you are trying to reach.
What platforms are they using? What time of day? Meet your user where they are, and provide them with educational resources that get them thinking—and later talking about or sharing with others the value you provided.
Using Research Insights and Moving Ahead
So there’s our three takeaways from CMI’s 2019 B2B Report. Want more? Join us at the Demand Generation Summit on October 31st.
You’ll get tons of valuable insight on the current state and future of demand generation, which is fueled by research like you’ve seen here. Register to join us today.
Kate Mills is an Editorial Content Strategist at ScribbleLive.