Three keys to creating compelling B2B content

The most successful B2B content is useful, unpackable and uncoverable, says a new survey.

The secret to reaching buyers is creating B2B content that is well packaged, relevant and easy to find, a new survey has found.

Two in three respondents to Demand Gen Report's 2018 Content Preferences Study strongly agreed that making B2B content more accessible – whether through fewer form fields or single-click registration – helps vendor credibility. More than half (52 per cent) agreed that packaging pertinent content together helps improve the research phase.

The sixth annual survey canvassed the views of 168 US-based B2B marketing and sales professionals. It found that B2B buyers have become even more selective in the content they consume and the amount of time they spend with each piece of content. They continue to rely more on trustworthy sources, industry influencers and their peers to educate themselves.

Most (88 per cent) said content producers need to focus less on product specifics and more on the value they can bring to their business. Three in four strongly agreed that producers should use more data and research to support the claims made in their content.

The most consumed B2B content format was the blog post; 71 per cent of respondents say they reviewed a blog while on their buying journey. A surprisingly high number (64 per cent) said podcasts were valuable at the early stages of the B2B buying journey. Other formats preferred by buyers were case studies (79 per cent), infographics (76 per cent) and webinars (66 per cent). Less than half of the respondents cited video and interactive content.

The survey found that three-quarters of B2B buyers often share blog posts with peers and colleagues. Demand Gen Report said 71 per cent of buyers consumed blog posts during the purchase process – a notable year-over-year increase from 66 per cent the previous year. “This format is now tied with traditional white papers as one of the most frequently turned to forms of content during research phases of the buying journey,” it said.

The survey found that busy B2B buyers have become more discerning, spending no more than five minutes reviewing content regardless of format. Again, webinars were a stand-out performer; 37 per cent of respondents said they would be prepared to spend 30-60 minutes on this format while researching a B2B purchase. Tellingly, 75 per cent said they would share more personal information to receive webinar content.

B2B influencers are continuing to gain traction. About two-thirds of respondents said they “frequently” gave credence to peer reviews, user-generated feedback and third-party publications and analysts. “Peer-driven and analyst content continues to rank high within the B2B community as buyers demand more real-life experiences and insight from neutral parties,” the report said.

Other interesting results from the survey were:

* 84 per cent said they either frequently or occasionally read or view business-related content on their smartphones;
* 64 per cent said they prefer podcasts at the top of the funnel, while 48% said webinars were valuable to them in the mid-stage of their buying journey;
* 49 per cent of B2B buyers said they now rely more on content to research and make purchase decisions;
* 40 per cent said they consumed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson.

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Further reading: How content plays cupid for sales and marketing

Photo: Jess Watters on Unsplash