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How B2B marketers can succeed with content in 2016

88% of B2B marketers say they are producing online content, yet only a mere 30% believe their efforts are successful, according to the Content Marketing Institute's B2B Content Marketing 2016 report.

So let's address the elephant in the room – why are 70% of marketers that are producing online content unhappy with their results?

The answer – it's complicated! Content marketing itself is nothing new – brands have been producing content to capture the attention of their target audience for decades – but what has changed in recent years is the way consumers respond to content.

While many marketers have adapted to the online era – investing in articles and blogs, social media marketing, infographics and other forms of online content – a significant chunk of marketers still maintain a traditional marketing mind-set, expecting to see immediate results.

But content marketing builds a relationship with your target audience over a long period of time - because brand trust isn't something you can earn overnight.

If you're struggling to demonstrate results to the higher-ups, check out some of our tips to get more bang for your marketing buck.

Create a content marketing strategy and stick to it

Coming up with a content marketing strategy is often treated like the "Extra for Experts" section at the end of a school test. We get it, for the time it takes coming up with content ideas, you could be writing up an awesome article, but having a strategy in place is crucial. Remember, if you want to actually achieve something, you need to note down exactly what you are trying to achieve.

According to the survey, only 32% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, but the report found a clear link between marketers who have a documented strategy and those who are successful at their content marketing tactics.

Set up clear goals - then monitor and track your progress so that you don't feel as though your efforts are all in vain.

Get to know your target audience and find out how to reach them

While it is important to regularly produce online content all year long, quality over quantity is definitely a principal you want to keep in mind.

The number one struggle for B2B marketers is producing engaging content, with 72% saying they struggle to create engaging content.



Our advice: keep in mind the types of businesses or business leaders that you are trying to reach. What are they looking for? What do they need from you? What are they interested in, both professionally and personally? Once you've figured out the answers to these questions, shape your content around these points.

Once you've got a firm grip on understanding your target audience, you can start thinking about the best channels to reach them.

According to the survey, the most popular B2B content marketing technique is social media marketing, with 93% of marketers using social media, followed by case studies, blogs and e-newsletters.



The professional networking site LinkedIn is the most popular with B2B marketers, with 94% making use of the site. Is this the best place to reach your audience, or should you focus on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube?



By regularly producing engaging and high-quality content on the right channels, you are positioning your brand in the right place to succeed.

Measure your content marketing strategy's effectiveness

Content marketing is an indirect form of marketing, so measuring and reporting results aren't always straight-forward.

The most important goals for B2B marketers this year is lead generation (85%) and sales (84%), according to the report, however only 44% of B2B marketers say their organisation has a clear idea of what content marketing success or effectiveness looks like.



In previous survey's, B2B marketers have cited website traffic as the metric they most frequently used to measure success, however, this year the most important metrics are sales lead quality (87%), sales (84%), and higher conversion rates (82%), indicating that B2B marketers are more interested in being able to demonstrate ROI than previously.

However, monitoring online analytics such as website traffic and bounce rate is important. For useful online measurement tools, check out this article by Forbes.

As we mentioned earlier, content marketing required an all year round committment for it to be successful - doing content marekting half-heartedly will only end up wasting your time and budget.

So sort out an achievable strategy, get a good grip on your target audience and measure your results! If you need a little extra help, feel free to get in touch.