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How to Use Content Marketing in 2020

If you’re like most B2B marketers, then you most likely use content marketing to drive top-of-the-funnel goals such as educating your audience and creating brand awareness. And this is a good use of content marketing. But, according to new research, you are missing several opportunities from further down the funnel.

This and many other findings are found in the new study, 2020 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

How to Use Content Marketing in 2020

According to the study, the top three content marketing goals achieved in the previous 12 months are creating brand awareness (86 percent), educating an audience (79 percent), and building credibility or trust (75 percent). Do these goals sound familiar to you? This is how content marketing is used for most B2B marketing strategies. And while these goals were met, fewer B2B marketers delivered success with goals including building subscribed audiences (45 percent), generating revenue (53 percent), and building loyalty with existing customers (64 percent).

These last three goals have one key factor in common. They are geared towards building lasting relationships with audiences while delivering results to the bottom line. In fact, companies who do well in building lasting relationships that deliver results to the bottom line are what B2B marketers use to characterize as extremely successful content marketing.

In other words, it’s great to get attention from a target audience, but it is keeping that attention and converting it towards bottom-line results that is the true sign of accomplishment.

What are Successful Brands Doing Right?

While B2B marketers are making progress by using content marketing to nurture their existing audiences, 58 percent in 2019 to 68 percent in 2020, the new study looks at other areas that content marketing can focus on including:

  • Goals and types of highest performing content
  • Content creation concepts from fact-checking to sales funnel
  • Paid and organic content distribution channels
  • How content marketing is organized and structured
  • Outsourcing for content marketing
  • Advancements in technology
  • ROI, KPS, and other metrics

This latest research offers valuable information that you can use to measure your own content marketing efforts compared to others’ in your industry.

How to Identify Content Marketing Opportunities

Organization is a key component for efficient content marketing work. The 2020 study examined which content marketing issues played a role in identifying opportunities and how it functions within companies. Additionally, the size of content marketing teams was measured.

Results showed that while 25 percent of B2B marketers operate as a centralized content marketing team that works throughout a company, 44 percent of the best performers use a centralized team structure. It’s true that the team grows in number of personnel in relation to the organization size, however often the largest companies have only two to five team members (49 percent).

The most successful teams set a content marketing strategy, then document and maintain it. They don’t just create content for anyone in the company. Instead, they follow an established plan for creation and distribution of content that meets the brand’s mission with focus on the needs of a specific audience.

Another interesting tidbit from the study is that almost 1/3 of the respondents (32 percent) lack a dedicated full-time content marketer, however in the highest performers the number drops to 13 percent.

The study also shows that half of all respondents outsource at least a portion of their content marketing, focused primarily on content creation (84 percent) on the list of activities needed for content marketing. This is true for all companies including the top performers.

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