Years of leading content marketing in-house and in client-facing roles taught me one thing: B2B content is a creative, chaotic, always-evolving space. Each year brings new trends, formats, and technology to the table. And content marketers have to keep up — somehow.
The true superpower of a successful content marketer is knowing how to transform content into a powerful driver of revenue growth instead of just a “possible” influence on buyer decisions. For marketers eager to create winning content in 2023 and beyond, we’ve collected interesting research, professional experiences, and insights from colleagues to answer the following questions:
- What content marketing trends should B2B marketers be aware of in 2023?
- What emerging content formats are proving effective in capturing and converting leads?
- And finally, what automation tactics can help teams stay ahead of the curve and maximize ROI?
Let’s dive in!
Human-focused, data-driven storytelling
When it comes to connecting with your audience, it's all about authenticity. Consumers are more likely to remain loyal to brands they perceive as authentic, with 75% saying they'd be willing to pay more. That's why human-focused storytelling is a must for B2B marketers. Developing content that appeals to your audience's needs, motivations, and interests will help them connect with your brand on an emotional level.
But it's not just about the emotional connection. It's also about providing valuable insights. By using data-driven storytelling, you can give your audience the information they need to make smarter decisions. This type of content drives a powerful narrative that deeply resonates with buyers, and it's the type of content that will help you stand out from the competition. Content should focus on comprehensive, current, and thought-provoking topics.
Content must be original and include up-to-date data to make content stand out and provide buyers with a unique, valuable perspective. This data can come from internal sources such as surveys, customer feedback, and benchmarking or external sources such as the latest industry reports.
We've seen a lot of buzz around AI-generated content in recent years, and it's no surprise why. The ability to automate content creation and improve relevance and accuracy is certainly appealing. But here's the thing: while AI-generated content can save time and resources, it's important to remember that it's not a replacement for human creativity and emotional context.
Sure, it can be a useful tool for brainstorming outlines or product descriptions, but it's not going to be able to write a compelling narrative or create a connection with your audience. That's why it's crucial to have a team of human editors and content strategists to review and oversee the AI-generated content. They can ensure that the content aligns with the brand's voice and messaging and resonates with the target audience.
Another important point is that AI-generated content may not always be unique. It's important to ensure that the content is original and not plagiarized from other sources. This could lead to a drop in SEO rankings and damage the brand's reputation.
In addition, Google has already announced AI content is against its guidelines and that the algorithm is tracking the backend code embedded in content written by these tools. So while it's worth exploring, don't put all your eggs in the AI-generated content basket just yet.
The 'industry guru' on LinkedIn
In today's digital world, staying up-to-date with your industry's latest trends and insights is crucial for success. And what better place to do that than LinkedIn? Following top industry leaders on the platform keeps you informed on the latest news and best practices and allows you to engage and build relationships with these experts. But don't stop there.
Encourage members of your team to share their thoughts and insights on the platform, and make sure to amplify their content through your channels. Doing so establishes your company as a thought leader in your industry and a go-to source for valuable industry insights.
Product-led content marketing
We're seeing more and more B2B companies shifting their focus to product-led growth (PLG) strategies, and with good reason. By using content to drive the experience and deliver value to prospects, companies can prove their expertise, build their brand, and position themselves as industry leaders. But here's the thing: not everyone can do it correctly. If you head too far down the wrong path, you'll look back and realize that you wasted time and money.
So, what's the key to successful product-led content marketing? First and foremost, it's important to understand your audience and tailor your content to their needs and preferences. This means creating content that addresses their pain points, provides valuable insights, and educates them on industry trends and best practices.
Next, make sure that your content aligns with your PLG strategy. This means creating content that showcases your product's unique value proposition and differentiates it from the competition. It also means using data and metrics to track the effectiveness of your content and make adjustments as needed.
When implementing product-led content marketing, one important aspect is measuring the key performance indicators (KPIs) for content production. This way, you can evaluate and pivot your strategy as needed, with the same granularity used to manage ad spending.
Content attribution to revenue
Gone are the days when content was just a nice-to-have. Content is a crucial driver of revenue growth in today's digital landscape. But how do you know which content pieces are driving leads and conversions? That's where content attribution comes in.
By attributing content to revenue, you can gain insights into your content performance and optimize it for better results. This is especially important in B2B, where up to 70% of buyers have already researched the company before contacting sales. You can increase the chances of converting leads into paying customers by tailoring your content to the buyer's journey and optimizing it for various outreach channels such as social media, email, or the web.
Full-path attribution reporting is essential to understanding how content performance affects revenue. It allows you to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) for content production and make data-driven decisions to improve it. By constantly evaluating and pivoting your content strategy based on the data, you can maximize your ROI and drive operational efficiency across the board.
Content continues to be a powerful tool for B2B marketers. By providing content tailored to customer needs (and attention spans!), optimizing distribution channels, and leveraging automation and attribution tools in HubSpot, marketers can capture more demand and drive revenue in the rapidly changing landscape. However, simply knowing these insights is not enough.
Marketers need a data-driven and adaptable content marketing strategy to fully capitalize on these content trends and the benefits of long-term growth. The right strategy is indispensable for any high-growth business. Unfortunately, only 41% of B2B marketers currently have a documented content marketing strategy.
Need help? Our “Essential Guide to Demand Generation” will help set your teams up for success in 2023 and beyond.