2024 trends for b2b content marketing

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I’m starting this one with a personal observation, turned into advice.

Here’s how to spot someone who’s faking their expertise or can’t build the service needed…

I can always spot someone who isn’t confident of their capabilities to solve a problem, or mostly knows they won’t be able to provide a given service.

Developer One:In a meeting asking about the process of integrating a feature into a website, a full-time developer went on and on about the complications and threw in a long list of technical jargon in his explanation.

To every suggested solution or maneuver he replied “There are two ways to do that, each has a different set problem to address.”

Needless to say, Developer One got his way and his employers dropped the entire upgrade.

Developer Two: A year later, a client of mine required the same feature, I asked a tech consultant how to implement it, and he asked 3 questions, explained 2 roadblocks in very brief sentences, and offered a recommended method to address each.

Can you guess who’s competent?

Now how does this translate to your business story?

Like employees, consultants, and any other individual, companies have to prove their value, foster trust, and prove their capabilities.

This is why we’re starting this newsletter with my secret equation to writing #b2b copy that’s persuasive, establishes your value, and fosters trust with your audience.

This trifecta can be found in detail in this blog post on The Business Storyteller (Subscribe here to receive all our B2B content tips and tools).

When it comes to business storytelling there’s one rule that leads all content: Your copy has one purpose to highlight your business’ value and separate you from the roaring crowd.

And here’s the equation that helps you with this goal: 1 message + proof of trust – reading effort = persuasive writing

Your business content will have persuasive power when you’re able to prove your competence in a clear and simple way, while keeping the reader engaged.

Now let’s break it down:

1- One message per content piece: The moment you try to communicate several points per copy, they will cancel each other out.  Confused people don’t easily make buying decisions and tend not to trust those who confuse them.

The only exception may be corporate reports. However, they aren’t in the same category of copy and have a clear end goal: position the business as an industry leader.

2-Proof of Trust: Why should the reader trust you? This can be achieved in a number of ways.

  • A combination of studies and expert opinion to back up your point (my favorite as an editor)
  • Case studies and success stories from your clients
  • Figures and testimonials from clients: Company XYZ saved 31% of its marketing budget after integrating with our SaaS solutions
  • Borrow from someone else’s credibility. A recommendation from a respected figure in your industry or community can go a long way to support both the point of your copy and your brand as a while
  • Highlight what hasn’t worked and what has. Transparency increases trust

3- Complexity of content = high reading effort: This is an easy trap to fall into, especially if you have a lot of experience in the matter.

This is where I recommend you follow the 111 Rule, a concept coined by Michael Hyatt, a content expert in his book “The 111 Rule: Creating Content that Connects”.

Per piece speak to one client, address one problem, and have one solution.

A few other pitfalls I see:

  • Intentionally increasing complexity and the technicality of a copy to give the impression of expertise. This is hands-down the clearest sign of a lack of expertise.
  • Using several highly-technical terms, since your primary audience is technical. You can’t guarantee the knowledge of the person making the decision. Keep it simple, leave the technicality of technical meetings.
  • This isn’t a detailed report, you don’t have to include every eventuality or exception to the point you are making, do you know how many exceptions exist to the points I wrote above? many, yet I only included one exception in this entire post.

Think you still need help nailing this? DM to request a free consultation

Is AI Changing B2B Content Priority?

Well, two studies answer this question. The first is a joint study by Ad agencies BMV and Marketing Profs who surveyed 1,000 B2B and B2C marketers about the topic.

Here are my key takeaways:

  • The majority are concerned about the negative impacts of AI in content discovery. Asking Chatbots questions dramatically reduces the need to browse the source of the information or at least check several sources
  • 58% of respondents believe that AI-generated content will be penalized by search engines in the future and show up lower in search results
  • Nearly 70% of content marketers believe AI writing tools such as ChatGPT will replace at least some of their writers over the next five years
  • Yet, 45% still plan on upping their content marketing budgets

The second source is Content Marketing Institute’s report titled: B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: Outlook for 2024

Here are my key takeaways:

  • The majority of the 894 B2B surveyees have shifted their content strategy as a result of AI’s integration with search engines
  • 27% will shift their content strategy to focus on thought leadership
  • 31% will prioritize content that answers users’ questions
  • 36% of respondents have concern over accuracy, and thus limit their reliance on AI

What goals did B2B markets achieve using content marketing?

Convince and Convert’s report listed a very interesting summary of content marketing results, here are my favorites:

  • 84% of B2B marketers say content has helped them create brand awareness, for the past 3 years, at least, 80% of respondents have achieved this goal
  • 58% achieved their sales targets through their content marketing
  • 76% reached their lead-generating goals
  • 40% increased their subscriber base, while 63% improved via content their relationship and rapport with their subscriber base
  • 50% reported an increase in customer loyalty due to their content strategy, down from 60% achieved in 2021

The above goals were achieved mostly through (in order):

  • Blog posts, which topped the list at 94% utilizing this format
  • Videos
  • Case studies of customers
  • infographics or data visualization
  • guides, reports, and whitepapers