The Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs have provided thorough research and benchmarks for content marketing strategies in 2022. Modern Marketing Partners (MMP) would like to thank and acknowledge Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs for providing this content marketing study. We’ve broken down some of the research into categories that’ll help readers better understand the findings.
The annual study is available in versions for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). Per the title above, this blog will focus on B2B findings. If you are interested in B2C content marketing survey results, click here.
The key theme is that the pandemic opened up B2B marketers to use content marketing. Without in-person events and face-to-face selling, many who had previously paid little attention to content marketing suddenly became aware of its power.
Strategy, Opinions & Overall Success
For some, 2020 was the year of quickly adapting their content marketing strategy. For others, it was the year to finally develop one.
2022 is starting to look a little different. 77% reported that their organization has a content marketing strategy. Of those, 58% said their strategy is moderately or slightly different now versus pre-pandemic.
Most content marketers said their organizations value creativity and craft in content creation and production. Over the last year, many have been asked to do more with the same resources. Half of all respondents said it has become increasingly difficult to capture their audience’s attention. But 29% of respondents said their organization was extremely or very successful with content marketing in the last 12 months. The top contributing factor was the value their content provides.
Team Structure & Outsourcing
As we’ve found in past years, many organizations have small or one person content marketing teams serving the entire organization. Large companies (1,000+ employees) are the exception.
How does the work get done? The data suggests that many companies are both outsourcing content marketing work and asking internal staff with other responsibilities to take on more. However, those who have dedicated internal content marketing resources tend to be more successful with content marketing.
In a consistent year-over-year trend, around half of all surveyed used outsourcing. The percentage was higher for large companies and lower among the least successful. It makes sense that the least successful are doing more content marketing work in-house, as many from that group are in the early phases of content marketing maturity and may be laying the foundations internally before seeking outside help.
The challenges with outsourcing were finding partners with adequate topical expertise, finding partners who understand/can empathize with our audience, and budget issues.
Companies did whatever it took to grab content. Some lost some staff and others took on more work to make things work in their company.
Content Creation & Distribution
One thing that changed during work-from-home was collaboration.
The top technologies B2B organizations use to assist with content marketing are analytics tools (83%), social media publishing/analytics (80%), email marketing software (75%), and content creation/calendaring/collaboration/ workflow tools (73%).
As you see below, content assets have changed a little in the years. Short articles, videos, and virtual events became more popular during the pandemic and are here to stay. But the best results from content created were virtual events, research reports, and short articles.
The best video formats include virtual events, interviews with industry experts and how-to videos.
When it comes to marketing, some businesses do not like to spend a ton of money on it. Below are the top organic platforms B2B marketers used to distribute content.
The top 5 social media platforms were:
Among the respondents whose organizations used paid content distribution channels, 77% used social media advertising/promoted posts.
Metrics & Goals
Three out of four respondents (75%) said their organization measures content performance. Those who measure said website engagement (69%), conversions (67%), website traffic (65%), and email engagement (64%) provided the most insight into B2B content performance in the last 12 months.
ROI is key in a business. Among the 75% of respondents who measured content performance, 36% indicated they’re doing an excellent or very good job.
Some of the goals marketers achieved include:
- Brand awareness
- Build credibility/trust
- Educate audience(s)
- Build loyalty with existing clients/customers
- Generate leads
Looking More into 2022
The top four content marketing-related areas that marketers said would be most important to their organizations in 2021 and 2022 were:
- Changes to SEO/search algorithms (62%)
- Data management/analytics (50%)
- Content marketing as a revenue center (44%)
- Changes to social media algorithms (42%)
Algorithms have been named a top concern in our past research, but data management/analytics has overtaken that in importance.
8 Key Takeaways
- The pandemic prompted new strategies to capture audience attention.
- Small teams are still the norm.
- Outsourcing budgets appear to have freed up a big, and the biggest challenge was finding partners with topical expertise
- Virtual events and webinars produced the best results.
- Marketers spent more on paid content promotion.
- Content marketing budgets grew — and are expected to continue to grow.
- Changes to SEO/search algorithms and data management/analytics are top-of-mind issues in 2021/2022.
- In addition to spending more on events, marketers expect more investment in videos, owned-media assets, and paid media in 2022.
For more information on these findings, download the full report here.