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How B2B Content Marketing Works

Content has always played a role in B2B marketing strategy. However, it used to be devoted primarily to long form content. Now, taking a cue from what has been proven effective in the B2C space, more B2B businesses are adopting or planning to add on more short form content, including videos.

Walker Sands looked at the latest trends in its The Future of B2B Content 2019 report. And true to its own discovery about adapting video to marketing, it put out the one below. During our phone interview, Tim Morral, Vice President, Editorial Content at Walker Sands Communications, assured me it had been quite effective. He noted about videos in general, “you have to hook them in the first five second.”

The Future of B2B Content from Walker Sands on Vimeo.

I asked Morral if there were any surprises for him in the report. He said there were a few. One of them is the focus on business results. “All content is geared toward revenue results.” Though brand awareness is still part of content strategy, the survey shows that almost a third of respondents expect content to boost sales or gain customers.

In this new context, short form is gaining more importance, which Morral counts as another surprising find. He said “short form content is in line with the survey result, showing 69 percent prefer video.” He believes social video will become a major component of B2B marketing and agrees with the take presented here: Why B2B Marketers Should Embrace Social Video.

“I don’t think that marketers are walking away from long form content,” he added, only they are now branching more into these new ways of gaining attention as they become aware that they “need all channels covered,” and that they “need an integrated approach [with their] content ecosystem.”  

The reason he said he first found this surprising is because he would not have expected “short form content to convert customers.” But he then “realized that short form content like social and video is needed to drive traffic to the long form content that converts.”

His third surprise was the increasing number of B2B organization that use external partners. That percentage jumped from 55 percent to 95 percent, “a huge difference,” he noted.

He offered a couple of reasons for that shift. “I think it really underscores the idea that B2B is catching on to the need for sophistication and integration of content. In-house teams may not be equipped to excel in a really diverse range of content types, or have the ability to quickly produce really high quality.”

He explained that the external partner could “be better equipped to consider how a whitepaper may fit and then execute a strategy to multiply its impact, possibly with a video on social, or a blog, etc. So it’s not just about creating quality content but doing it in a way that allows you to amplify the impact.”

“There are all kinds of ways to get the word out and connect with audiences,” he said. The key is to offer what will pique their interest to learn more about your company. That’s not just a question of the “snackable” content form, whether it’s a blog post of short video, but of where they’re posted.”

Businesses are not limited to their own site but can post to social channels and can now not just post blogs but even video to LinkedIn. They can even reach out via a “preferred media channel outlet.” No matter what the medium, it’s important to craft “memorable content,” Morral stated.

I asked him how memorable content is achieved. “It can’t be fluff,” he said. Beyond that, though,  it’s a matter of delivering what “specifically appeals to your niche audience.” So it all comes down to “quality and relevancy.”

The question of relevancy determines whether long or short form content is the appropriate choice. He explained, “short form can appeal to those at the top of funnel who are not willing to invest that much time in content.” It can then push them further down the funnel where they are ready for longer form content. 

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