Last updated: 10th August 2019
The future is indeed looking bright for B2B Tech Content Marketing. In the latest industry reports, 47% of buyers stated they consumed between 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson.
This is a fascinating statistic, albeit a scary one.
Are you feeling overwhelmed when it comes to content marketing? I was too, when I first took a look at the Content Marketing Institute’s yearly reports. All the percentage signs bounced off the page, laughing at how I wasn’t up there with the content marketing experts!
I understand it can be daunting to sit down and figure out a strategy. Aren’t there enough tactics and objectives to overcome already?!
Please, let me get back to Slack or the latest CRM tool we are using, please.
But worry not. The information I have relayed below can help guide you through any qualms you might have about content marketing formats. We’ll also take a look at AI and how that can boost your B2B client sales down the line.
It might not be as exciting as skyrocketing to the moon, but the future of B2B tech content marketing certainly isn’t boring. As Techsperts and SaaS companies delve into this exciting world. There’s a slice of the pie for everyone.
What B2B Content Marketing is Currently Used?
The following list contains the future B2B tech content marketing formats that will continue dominating the Internet.
This list aid you in picking what best suits your audience. It will also help you diversify your content. Using various forms means reaching a wider audience, as 67% of the buyer’s journey is completed online.
- Blogs: by definition it’s a “weblog” (does not sound like a fancy NYC fashion intern’s diary at all, does it?!). For B2B tech purposes; it’s an informational website where groups of writers can share information about what is going on in the industry. There are at least 400 million blogs on the Internet. Blogs are a great way to tell a story in an informal manner. Think, tech-head nerd on their lunch break wanting some light reading!
- White Papers: these papers provide information on how a business will benefit from a proposed solution and method, without strict anecdotal evidence. They are long form and go into a lot of detail, and are more serious in tone than blog posts. They are extended details of how-to blog post guides.
- Case Studies: These studies involve using in-house evidence and feature recommendations on how the company’s product helped their client. Case studies often include information about the company and previous successes. They are used to increase employee morale or interest in a product.
- Infographics: Because the world of digital is also becoming more visual, retaining customer attention is essential. Infographics are a great way to display key points in a fun and concise manner (see Outbrain’s image above!). They are also incredibly easy to pop into blog posts, use in videos or upload to social media.
- Videos: Videos are a great way to showcase the impact your technology company has on its clients. Be it going to interview clients or to tell a story through your product, you invite viewers to experience the business. You can create cartoon-type videos to make the information memorable. Only 38% of content marketers published videos on LinkedIn last year, but it proved to be highly successful for them.
- Microsites: this is a separate page of the main business website that highlights specific topics related to the company or its events. They target a very specific audience, more so than the main website. It features rich keyword-specific content. It allows for more detail because the main website may have to stick to internal company policies.
- Email: email works wonders as it can drive old or new content posts from other channels. It also enables you to connect on a deeper level with your subscribers and clients. Because they have given you their contact permission, it is crucial you deliver valuable and succinct snippets of information.
- Webinars: the online version of a seminar! This type of content is very useful as viewers sign up knowing they will get the information in video format. They are typically made in a slide-show presentation format.
- Social Media: social media allows B2B techs to humanise content and inform the client what goes on behind the scenes. It gives the brand a voice through employee stories, helping promote events and give company opinions. Sharing various types of content on social media platforms shows you’re an active company, approachable and want to help clients in as many ways as possible. Influencers and writers are only itching to work with various companies in their niche, giving tech B2Bs the opportunity to collaborate and increase their brand awareness.
How are these B2B content types affecting the tech sector?
Technology companies are at the forefront of evolving strategies, practices and of course – tech. B2B techs are expected to be up to date with how they conduct their content marketing too.
If used well, future B2B tech content marketing can relay information to customers in an educational way and prove invaluable. Use a consistent voice when reaching out to your clients on various platforms, showing your clear and evergreen brand.
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
Tech companies need to be seen to be at the forefront of what’s current, using fun and fresh ways to get your story out there.
Future of the B2B Tech Sales Funnel
The tech sector uses varying sales cycles, and there are different personas in each cycle. A different approach to marketing needs to be used for each. I discussed this in my blog post about content strategy mistakes!
Using the appropriate strategy for each audience and guaranteeing the platform reaches the correct target client is vital.
For example, in the research stage buyers only want snippets of information at about 150 words. A simple blog post or social media post to quickly grab the audience’s attention would suffice here.
Whereas when CIOs and buyers are looking to invest, they may want detailed case studies or white papers of about 2,000 words.
One third of millennials now have a budget to spend on technology. Information needs to reach them in a quick manner. Take into account the platforms they are frequently accessing both in and outside of work.
There are a varying amount of social media platforms, but LinkedIn is looked up by 82% of buyers before replying to a selling pitch.
LinkedIn Publisher can be utilised by B2Bs looking to provide content marketing to buyers and offering help with various problems their customers may have.
What with LinkedIn now being the resume of the tech future, making connections with your company and employees on the platform can give your company a humanistic brand.
Salesforce are up there as one of the best tech companies for creating content that draws businesses in to watch their educational content.
See how that works? This is what draws customers in; they are providing value to their visitors and helping them with their everyday problems.
This builds trust in their customers. They use the basics; blogging, webinars and case studies.
The most successful B2B tech content marketers (90%) prioritise the audience’s informational needs over their sales or promotional message, compared with 56% of the least successful.
What Will Die Out in Today’s Trends?
TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read) is something we’ve been seeing a lot more of recently, hey?!
Long posts that ramble on and don’t get their point across are annoying for readers. Google is catching onto this too.
Blog posts and articles that aren’t SEO friendly, or provide content for the sake of it are being filtered out of the top searches.
Tunnel-Vision Buyer Personas
Up until now the main focus of content marketing has been on the buyer’s journey as a whole. A study carried out in business consulting, IT and manufacturing showed B2B customers now prefer infographics during the early stage, reports for mid-stage, and ROI calculators in the later stage.
Sales funnels become complex and there are different personas at varying parts of this journey. The focus has to shift from just using one platform and one person, to multiple platforms, strategies and types of content being used to capture the right target audience.
There is nothing more frustrating (and let’s admit it, kinda scary!) than going onto a website, jumping over to another tab only to find a loud, obnoxious video playing all of a sudden. You look for the speaker icon on your tabs, you can’t find it, ahhh it’s pandemonium!
Just me? Hmm, pop up videos, even if they are informative, are a thing of yesteryear. Make your visitors want to watch the video, not force it.
Intrusive marketing is not cool friends!
When promoting your products or services on Facebook, use content that not only garners likes, but also includes your audience.
Social media is no longer the place to be sales-y. You need to use live video and engagement to actually see what your audience wants and once again, how you can help them.
For future B2B tech companies and current companies alike, it doesn’t mean your company can avoid content marketing or keep it on the DL!
No more shameless self-promotion or click-bait articles here!
And lastly, the trend that must go straight to the spam folder! Emails that contain just too much information!
The average business person gets around 120 emails a day…. Let that sink in!
In order for yours to stand out, set yourself apart as a thought leader. Long emails, click-bait subject lines that don’t provide any value and email lists that have not been segmented are all a major NO for this year.
Time and data is precious, try to keep your client’s inbox free from faff.
What B2B Tech Content Marketing Trends are Forecast for The Future?
Blogging is here to stay within tech firms. Progress reading bars across the top of blog and article posts can make or break your post.
These bars provide trust and openness to your reader because they know how much time they need to spend on the page. Stick to your subject and give the valuable knowledge your readers need in order for them to stay on your website.
Webinars are still a big deal going forward. Firms will be engaging the audience and making them seem more real-life. There will be less slideshow-type webinars. Fireside chats and discussions with board members and various industry-experts will come to the fore, allowing the audience to connect with speakers on a deeper level.
Depending on your target audience, podcasts can also be a great way to connect with your audience. Podcasts allow the firm to dig deep into a topic, which is something your audience can gain a lot of knowledge from. Through the nature of recording and chatting, they are a great way to keep on top of what is topical and trending.
Artificial Intelligence might seem like a foreign object in the content marketing sphere. But with search engines becoming smarter and increasing competition, personalisation is a key factor going forward.
As well as that, future B2B tech firms will be better equipped for this type of content marketing as they will have the knowledge and understanding for AI coding. Implementing these practices won’t seem so foreign in the future as we deal with AI more and more everyday – Amazon’s Echo and the Uber app are examples.
This again links back to the buyer’s journey, where you are focussing your efforts on a certain person in the sales funnel. AI and machine learning can push forward the personalisation of your content, as it enables you to understand your customer needs.
Social Media Story settings provide real-time experiences and insight into what your company does. This brings you all to an equal level, and can instil trust in the company.
For example Buffer, a social media management platform, use Instagram stories on Thursdays to do a throwback trivia quiz! This makes Buffer stand out to other management platforms. They are connecting with their audience and showing just how well they can actually use the social media platforms themselves.
Content may not take the form of blogs, video and images in years to come. IoT devices such as smart watches, cars, speakers and bots start to emerge into the everyday market.
Therefore, buyers are engaging with information in a different way, for example with Amazon Echo or the Alexa. Strategies and content types will have to be reconsidered, in order to get content and infoation out there in different realms.
What works best for the techspert visiting your website, or social media page? All of these content types means different strategies and targets to fit your audience and brand. So take the time to create personas to allow for effective marketing.
Make sure you’re not spreading yourself too thin across these different channels.
Do the research to find what works best for your company and of course, client.
Comment below to let me know if you’ve heard of these trends, or better yet, put them into practice in your company!