10 Digital Trends to Inspire Your 2017 B2B Content Marketing Strategy

With the holiday season right around the corner, we all have family, friends, and good food on our minds. However, the forward thinking should not stop there. With 2017 less than two months away, it’s time to start thinking about your 2017 B2B content marketing strategy and how to get the most out of your efforts.

2017 Just Ahead Green Road Sign Against Clouds

With this in mind, we’ve pulled together a list of ten digital marketing trends that should be considered by all when thinking about next year’s content strategy.

1. Video Is Leading to ROI

Numbers behind this trend: It’s no secret that video is becoming an essential component of successful content marketing strategies. A Firebrand Group study recently discovered that about 85 percent of marketers have seen positive ROI from their video efforts.

Action content marketers should take: If you aren’t doing so already, you should be thinking about ways to incorporate video into your 2017 content efforts. Outside of ROI, video has shown to also increase brand awareness and customer loyalty. At KoMarketing, we have seen the most success when using video on Facebook.

2. Video Is Being Thoroughly Consumed

Numbers behind this trend: As digital marketers, we want to keep visitors engaged with our content and online properties for as long as we can. Much like video is a top vehicle for driving ROI, it’s also proven to be the most thoroughly consumed piece of content by customers and prospects, according to HubSpot research. Video was followed by social media posts, news articles and research content.

Action content marketers should take: Online users are seemingly skimming content more than they ever have before. Long blog posts should be digestible and the content that has the best chance to keep the audience’s attention is video, due to its interactive nature.

3. Content Management Inefficiency Abounds

Numbers behind this trend: According to a study by Seismic and Gatepoint Research, just one in five B2B marketers are currently satisfied with their content management methods. Custom requests for updated collateral, content that sales personnel doesn’t use because they can’t find it and an inability to track the success of content are the primary obstacles to success.

Action content marketers should take: With the need for content continuing to grow across industries, organizations need to make sure they have the talent, technologies, and personnel in place to keep the content process on the right track. Without managing the content process effectively, there’s a chance that time and resources could be consumed where they could otherwise be devoted to prospects and sales.

4. Inbound Marketers Are Creating More Content

Numbers behind this trend: Inbound marketers are spending an increasing amount of time creating content. In fact, according to Writtent, 93 percent of inbound marketers are now creating content on a weekly basis. More than half of the surveyed marketers say they spend more than six hours a week doing so.

Action content marketers should take: While more content does not always equate to more content success, marketers need to understand that their competition is churning it out more than ever. Whether it’s one piece or ten pieces of content a week, inbound marketers need to make sure they are keeping pace with the competition in 2017.

5. Social Media Is Critical for Content Promotion

Numbers behind this trend: Email and websites have been content distribution stalwarts for years, but research from Regalix shows that social media has solidified its spot near the top of the list, turning the big two into the big three. More than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) identified social media as an “indispensable” channel for content distribution in 2016, matching websites (26 percent) and email (28 percent).

Action content marketers should take: When it comes to distributing content, marketers need to think about what audiences they want to reach. There is no one way to effectively share content, therefore, it’s important to locate the audience (whether it be website visitors, social media followers, or email subscribers) and deliver it in those places.

6. Content Is Driving Demand

Numbers behind this trend: An August study of the 50 fastest-growing B2B companies by Mattermark and Drift revealed that 80 percent of companies maintain a blog or other form of online publication. More than half of these organizations use CTAs to direct online users to their products or services.

Action content marketers should take: Whether it be through blogging, webinar production, or another type of online content, B2B companies need to be publishing content regularly, as it serves as a valuable vehicle for educating the audience of your product and driving them to your website.

7. SEO Best Practices Are Being Ignored by Content Marketers

Numbers behind this trend: As content is being created, marketers need to make sure they are adhering to SEO best practices, including adding ALT tags and avoiding duplicate content issues. SEMrush released data back in July that showed that 50 percent of websites are faced with duplicate content issues and 45 percent have missing ALT attributes.

Action content marketers should take: These statistics show that many of today’s websites have serious SEO issues relating to their content. Adhering to SEO best practices will ensure content ranks well in organic search, avoids penalties, and allows the website to flourish as a whole. Duplicate content can result in a penalized website and a loss of trust with your users.

8. Sales Teams Are Begging for Content Accessibility

Numbers behind this trend: Valuable content assets can be a sales team’s best friend, but only if they can be easily accessed. Highspot and Heinz Marketing’s “Sales Enablement Practitioner Survey 2016” revealed that 70 percent of respondents agreed that sales reps need to have easy access to content in order to improve the quality of customer conversations.

Action content marketers should take: Content assets are certainly valuable to opening sales conversations, but marketers need to make sure they can be accessed as needed. While we discussed promoting content via social media as an important step in the content process, it’s important to also distribute content internally, whether it be through email or some other sharing channel.

9. B2B Buyers Are Demanding Personalized Content

Numbers behind this trend: According to the “2016 B2B Buyer’s Survey” conducted by Demand Gen Report, 69 percent of B2B buyers say the most influential aspect of a company’s website is content that speaks directly to their needs.

Action content marketers should take: When thinking about content development, marketers need to focus on adding content to their site’s that speak directly to buyer’s pain points. This can be done through targeted blog post development, industry news articles, webinars, product videos, and more.

10. Companies Are Investing in Content Talent

Numbers behind this trend: Back in June, Curata reported that 42 percent of companies now have an executive position devoted to content marketing. This number is expected to exceed 50 percent by the end of 2017. Further, nearly half (42 percent) of organizations plan to increase overall staffing levels in 2017.

Action content marketers should take: These statistics are promising as we head into 2017. Without staff, processes, and management, content strategies simply won’t meet their potential. Investing in talent and teams devoted to content marketing will give organizations their best chance to succeed yet.

Final Thoughts

As we head towards 2017, keep up with the latest marketing and digital trends through our industry news coverage and activity on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What trends from 2016 do you think will influence B2B content marketing strategies in 2017? Drop a comment below or connect with me on Twitter to get a conversation started! 

“KoMarketing understands how to present and execute recommendations across the organization, from the IT professional to strategic marketing leadership. They go beyond expectation in working with the client to evaluate, execute, and implement program initiatives.”

— Silvina El Baba, Senior Manager, Web Marketing, EFI

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