December 18, 2020 in Strategy by

There is no doubt about it, the global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people do just about everything. How we work, interact with others, and do our shopping are just a few activities that are completely different now than they were last year. Despite all the challenges of 2020 though, many content marketers have reported that they have had a successful year.

In a recent B2B content marketing benchmark and trends report from the Content Marketing Institute, content marketers rated the success of their content marketing strategies over the year. Most (85 percent) claim that their content marketing is moderately to extremely successful this year. They also report that the pandemic has played a moderate (45 percent) to major (25 percent) role in how they market content these days. 

The biggest contributing factor to the success content marketers are seeing in 2020 is content value, according to 83 percent of responding marketers. They said that their organization’s B2B content marketing was very or extremely successful. The same respondents believe that the impact of COVID-19 on how buyers behave, such as their increased reliance on digital content and spending more time online, is a major reason for their success.

B2B Content Marketers Adjusted Quickly to the Pandemic

Despite 2020’s challenges, content marketers of B2B organizations adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic promptly and effectively. More than eight out of ten (83 percent) of those asked said that they agreed that they made quick changes as a result of COVID-19. Additionally, 80 percent said that those changes were effective. Even more than that, 86 percent believe that some of the adjustments they made will last into the foreseeable future.

Can B2B Content Marketers Plan Effectively for 2021?

No one anywhere could’ve predicted what’s happened in 2020. So, how can we even start to predict what’s going to happen in 2021? But the new year is coming, whether COVID-19 vaccines help rid the world of the virus or not. So, B2B content marketers need to prepare for 2021 as best they can.

It’s hard to say what the year ahead will bring. But there is one sure thing – digital content will continue to play a large role in reaching your brand’s audience. The following are five content marketing trends that we think will be effective in the coming year.

Growing Content Communities to Increase Brand Awareness

Building communities around content helps B2B marketers increase their reach. This is already an effective strategy in 2020, so it’s not surprising that this trend is on the list. Focusing on personalization and creating a sense of community belonging among your audience makes them feel valued. That increases brand awareness and at the same time, improves your metrics.

Focusing on the Content Experience

If you’ve ever clicked on an interesting headline to read an article or post only to be taken to a page that was covered with ad panels and pop-ups, then you understand how that sort of thing often prompts viewers to close out of the page without reading the content.

How you provide content to your audience is just as important as what the content says. If it isn’t appealing, no one will read it. That’s why increasing the focus on content experience is likely to be a major content marketing trend and encouraging users to stay on your website is the name of the game.

Concentrating on Products and Services

A narrower focus on products and services, the bottom of the sales funnel stuff, is a trend that experts are predicting as well. You’ll need a laser-focus approach to content that is specific to buyer personas who are at that phase of the sales process. Tying your content directly to things like user integrations, product launches, and the like, will help you better understand content marketing efforts, making it easier to attribute content marketing efforts appropriately.

Stay Active with SEO

Some things don’t go away no matter what the universe throws at us. SEO is in that category. That means that content marketers will need to continue to create effective SEO strategies by drilling down into keyword research to find long-tail opportunities in 2021.

Refreshing Content for Use Across Channels

This content marketing trend emphasizes using fewer resources to create additional engaging content across various channels. It’s predicted that there will be a focus on repurposing content to use across channels rather than creating brand new content from scratch. What does that look like? It’s simply taking the content from one source, perhaps a webinar, and refreshing it to be a blog post, newsletter article, social media posts. In other words, it’s repurposing content to reach as many users as possible.

Final Thoughts

Just as the world continues to change and evolve, content marketing is constantly changing, and trends are always evolving. Right now, content marketing consists of a lot more than helpful articles, engaging blog posts, and eye-catching infographics. Advancing your B2B organization in 2021 means you have to stay flexible and be ready to roll with the punches to build an even better content marketing strategy.

Harvard Business Club of Charlotte MDP

David Zimmerman participated in the Management Development Program by the Harvard Business Club of Charlotte in 2018.

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