B2B Content Marketing Stats: What’s Effective in 2021

b2b content marketing stats

There are more than 24 new blog posts published every second. Given how inundated your industry likely is with online content, how do you ensure your content is seen?

Below, we’ve curated stats that show (a) how effective B2B content marketing is in 2021 and (b) how to produce content that engages your prospective customers.

B2B Content Marketing – Is it Effective?

Content saturation today means that your article will only be seen if it’s really good. Google’s algorithm was built to make that happen. Therefore, as a marketer, creating a decent piece of content is like whispering in a crowd. To wit:

  • 90% of B2B firms use content marketing in some way1https://www.demandmetric.com/content/content-marketing-infographic?utm_campaign=NAM+HSCM+-+The+Modern+Marketer%27s+Guide+to+Hiring+a+Freelancer+-+Upwork&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=25650561
  • 81% of B2B companies use blogging as a strategy2https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics

If you’re in an industry that’s crowded with content from competitors, you’re likely wasting money producing content that no one sees (unless you pay to promote it). 

Not only is creating “just okay” content ineffective for ranking on Google; your prospective customers wouldn’t want to read it even if it were put onto a projector right in front of them. We’ve become accustomed to articles that have a certain familiar cadence and use certain industry cliches. That’s why only truly interesting articles truly make a cognitive impact on your audience, causing them to convert into customers. Some stats on this subject:

  • The average time spent reading an article is 37 seconds3https://insights.newscred.com/data-from-10000-articles-prove-that-content-marketing-really-does-work/
  • 43% of people skim blog posts rather than read them.4https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics

Why Thought Leadership Matters

What we’ve found from being in this business for over 10 years is that, rather than producing standard content marketing, you need to be producing a higher quality form of content: thought leadership.

Publishing thought leadership content on a regular basis establishes your brand as a thought leader. It helps you cut through the noise of content saturation by positioning you as the ultimate authority on a topic within your industry. It’s not an aggressive hard sell that makes consumers uncomfortable. It’s a means of offering consumers value in the form of free information they can actually use. This establishes trust and grows relationships into customer-brand relationships that last a lifetime. And, it makes you stand out as a leader among your industry peers. 

Here are some of the B2B content marketing stats that demonstrate what we mean: 

  • Thought leadership gets C-level attention. 47% of C-suite executives surveyed said they’ve given marketers their contact information after reading thought leadership content5https://www.edelman.com/research/2019-b2b-thought-leadership-impact-study?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=b2b_launch&utm_content=price_blog
  • More decision makers are reading thought leadership content than ever before. 58% of decision makers surveyed had read at least one hour of thought leadership content per week, or more, which is up by 8% than in the previous year.6https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/linkedin-news/2018/7-surprising-stats-about-the-underappreciated-power-of-thought-l
  • It’s read often. According to one study, it may be as much as one to three hours per week.7https://artplusmarketing.com/edelman-just-released-a-thought-leadership-impact-study-heres-what-you-need-to-know-cfaf937bbc5f
  • It’s used in decision making. 55% of business leaders surveyed said that they vet potential partners by reading their thought leadership content.8https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/linkedin-news/2018/7-surprising-stats-about-the-underappreciated-power-of-thought-l
  • It leads to sales. Nearly 60% of business decision makers said thought leadership content influenced their choice when selecting a business to work with.9https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/linkedin-news/2018/7-surprising-stats-about-the-underappreciated-power-of-thought-l
  • It influences purchasing behavior at all stages of the sales funnel.10https://www.slideshare.net/EdelmanInsights/how-thought-leadership-impacts-b2b-demand-generation

The thought leadership marketing strategy works. It gets the attention of business decision makers and drives sales. It differentiates your product from those offered by less-qualified brands within your industry. It shows that you understand the needs and preferences of your top customers. And it offers readers a new perspective on their problems. 

Executing on a thought leadership strategy takes experience, and even a little pizzazz. There are many details to remember, and forgetting even one can lower your Google ranking. 

Here’s What Google Says

First Page Sage is the largest pure-SEO company in the US. Every year we share what we’ve learned about successfully working with Google’s ever-changing algorithms, based upon how our client campaigns have performed. Here are two top factors that affect how well content ranks: 

  • Linking to other content on your site: 16%
  • Placing keywords in meta title tags: 21%

But the factor that has the biggest impact upon Google search result ranking?

  • The consistent publication of high-quality content: 25%

Sure, the marketplace has a flood of voices competing to be heard. But if you’re publishing thought leadership content consistently, yours will rise to the top. Simply put: The key to capturing Google—and your target customer’s—attention is publishing thought leadership content consistently.

Thought leadership involves publishing authoritative content on a subject based on your expertise. It’s valuable content that asserts original ideas, gives detailed information, and keeps readers wanting to know more. Thought leadership is relevant to the reader, answering their questions and focusing on the topics they’ve come to your blog to learn about. That’s why natural-language keywords do so well: They use the same everyday language as searchers.

Thought leadership isn’t anything new. IBM is credited with having invented the floppy disk. It’s safe to say they knew the most about data storage at the time of its invention in 1967. If you had wanted to know something about data storage at the time, you’d ask IBM—if you knew about their expertise. Maybe you would have learned about their skills by reading an industry journal that covered computer science, or a trade publication for engineers. After reading the article, you’d be more likely to turn to them for your floppies.

In this scenario, IBM is a thought leader—the expert on the subject.

Speak Softly and Get Lots of Clicks

Cutting through the noise of content saturation and delivering your expertise to consumers who want it takes great content published consistently without fail. This is the hardest part of a successful thought leadership campaign.

In order to be seen as reliable, you have to publish content on a regular basis. To be seen as an authority figure, content must be the smartest content written on that subject. To get people to even see your content, you’ve got to use an SEO keyword ranking strategy customized to ensure Google’s attention.

Of course you can do it all alone. But can you write leading-quality, SEO-optimized content and publish it—more than once a week—indefinitely? You’ll have to educate your staff on the nuances of SEO and thought leadership, then dedicate their time toward content production.

Establishing your brand as a thought leader requires a dedicated publishing schedule. It’s easy to miss a post, which can greatly slow your progress. But you can solve this problem by contacting us. First Page Sage has created thought leadership SEO campaigns for hundreds of firms for over ten years. When you’re ready to be seen and heard, let us do the job of B2B content marketing for you.

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