A recently released study by the Content Marketing Institute looked into a variety of issues concerning how B2B manufacturers are now using content marketing. The report represents the experiences of nearly 220 B2B manufacturers in a broad range of industries.
When asked why they are involved in content marketing, increasing sales (89 percent) and enhancing brand awareness (85 percent) were listed as the two top reasons.
As to determining the success of a content marketing program, the study found that increased traffic to a company website was the key indicator for 67 percent of the recipients. This was followed by increased sales, lead generation, higher SEO rankings, and higher conversion rates – turning visitors into buyers.
The tactics used in content marketing appear to be evolving. While blogging programs, one of the older forms of content marketing, are still popular, the content marketing tactics employed most often today are videos (87 percent), email newsletters (87 percent), and feature articles on a company website (84 percent), with blogging dropping down to just 60 percent.
Examining the effectiveness of these content marketing programs, more than half said videos, webinars, case studies, and white papers have proven to be their most successful content marketing strategies, helping to turn words into sales.
When it comes to social media, most of the B2B manufacturers are still involved with many of the key platforms. For instance:
- Eighty-nine percent use LinkedIn as a content marketing tool.
- This was followed by YouTube (83 percent)
- Facebook, and Twitter (about 80 percent each)
- Google+ used by 51 percent and Slideshare used by only 24 percent of the participants.
But the big question with B2B social media is, which if any of these platforms has been effective?
According to the manufacturers, YouTube has been most effective, with 66 percent of the participants finding that posting YouTube videos on their website has helped them accomplish one or more of their content marketing goals. LinkedIn (54 percent) and Twitter (43 percent) took the second and third spots. Facebook and Google+ were reported to be the least effective social media platforms for these B2B manufacturers.
One of the first successes found in an effective content marketing program is typically increased web traffic. It’s just natural. If quality content in one form or another that is search engine optimized is incorporated into a company website, the result will eventually be more web traffic.
However, once this has been noted, manufacturers must look carefully at other metrics, such as increased sales and lead generation. Finding success with these metrics can take a bit more time, and if not materializing after more than six months, the strategy should be re-examined to see how these metrics can be improved.