Even within the steadiest of instances, content material advertising is usually a tough subject to mission ahead. The craft is fluid and fast-changing by nature. When buyer preferences and behaviors are evolving, which is all the time, so too should the methods we attain and interact them.
Needless to say, predicting what lies forward for content material advertising is very powerful proper now, as we wrap up a chaotic yr of 2020 and stare into the uncertainty of 2021.
That doesn’t imply we received’t attempt!
As organizations lay out plans and methods for the approaching yr, it’s important to get a bead on traits and threadlines that may form the terrain. Where ought to content material entrepreneurs and strategists be setting their sights? Which challenges and alternatives stand out? What would be the keys to success?
Content Marketing in 2021: What Top B2B Marketing Influencers Foresee
To assist you achieve some well-rounded perception, we reached out to a number of main B2B content material advertising specialists and influencers with a agency grasp on the self-discipline and its ongoing evolution. Here are their predictions for 2021:
1 — Ardath Albee: “Interactive Content will Become a Mainstay”
I wrote not too long ago right here that digital experiences might be a prime precedence for content material entrepreneurs in 2021. Veteran marketer Ardath Albee, who presently serves as interim VP of Marketing at Modus, additionally sees this as a pivotal frontier for content material entrepreneurs:
B2B has gone digital and it’s not going again. Buyers are counting on self-education greater than ever. Engagement and experiences are essential for firm progress. Interactive content material will grow to be a mainstay in Demand Gen and Sales Enablement applications in 2021 and past.
From digital product excursions to 3D digital experiences, to worth assessments and Digital Sales Rooms – entrepreneurs who need to facilitate the end-to-end shopping for expertise with outcomes that show contribution to income will enhance concentrate on interactive content material. They’ll up their recreation, transferring past quizzes and surveys to content material that resonates by getting patrons to actively pursue conversations with the businesses that get them concerned in what it takes to purchase with confidence.
“Marketers who want to facilitate the end-to-end buying experience with outcomes that prove contribution to revenue will increase focus on interactive content.” — Ardath Albee @ardath421 Click To Tweet
2 — Ty Heath: Accelerating the ‘Right-Brain’ Movement
Business choices are made on the premise of each rational and emotional elements. Too usually, B2B entrepreneurs have over-indexed on the previous. Ty Heath, Director of Market Engagement for LinkedIn*’s B2B Institute, anticipates a collective push towards creativity and humanization:
For a very long time, advertising’s view of the world has been very left mind rational. The pandemic will speed up the shift to a ‘right-brain’ motion.
We will see extra humor, extra storytelling and emotion in B2B advertising within the coming yr. We count on to see extra model mascots like Salesforce’s feral raccoon-child mascot, Astro. We can look ahead to extra memorable B2B advertising messages that join model to demand. If you’re a inventive B2B marketer, that’s one thing you may get enthusiastic about!
“We can look forward to more memorable B2B marketing messages that connect brand to demand. If you are a creative B2B marketer, that’s something you can get excited about.” — Ty Heath @tyrona Click To Tweet
three — Robert Rose: Content-as-a-Strategy on the Rise
Robert Rose has all the time been a vocal content material evangelist, so it comes as no shock that the founding father of CMI’s Content Advisory foresees a continued push to make content material advertising a strategic centerpiece for companies:
The pattern of in-housing content-as-a-strategy continues and expands significantly in 2021. We’ll see massive progress of content material studios inside manufacturers to deal with all method of content material advertising and content material technique features.
Agencies and Media corporations will nonetheless be relied on, however to fill extra niche-oriented “skill positions” and preliminary “strategy”. As such, corporations will begin to demand extra cross-functional expertise from their content material advertising groups.
“Companies will start to demand more cross-functional skills from their content marketing teams.” — Robert Rose @Robert_Rose Click To Tweet
four — Christopher Penn: “The Top Challenge? Screen Fatigue.”
People consumed extra digital content material out of necessity in 2020, with little else to do amid pandemic-driven shutdowns. While this created new alternatives for model visibility and engagement, it additionally contributed to a way of burnout from dwelling life by our computer systems and units. Christopher Penn, Co-founder and Chief Data Strategist for Trust Insights, believes that overcoming display fatigue might be an crucial for content material entrepreneurs in 2021:
I do not know what to foretell for 2021 — and neither does anybody else, if we’re trustworthy. But I can inform you what’s occurring now and what we’re doing about it. We did a survey to our viewers a few weeks in the past and requested what the highest challenges they’re going through heading into 2021 are.
The prime problem? Screen fatigue. No one desires extra podcasts, extra movies, extra livestreams, extra time on their units. Literally nobody. So all of the entrepreneurs who pivoted in 2020 to creating podcasts, movies, livestreams, and so forth. are going through considerably diminished viewers curiosity.
What do individuals need? Content they’ll devour sooner. Want to know what the highest changing channel was for us in 2020? Our electronic mail newsletters — and never by a small margin. Email was accountable for 56% of all our conversions in 2020 — and we’re not alone.
The perennial meme is “this meeting could have been an email.” Apply that considering to your livestreams, podcasts, vlogs, movies, interactive occasions, and so forth. Are you doing something that REQUIRES that medium, or simply doing it as a result of it’s what all of the cool children appear to be doing?
“The perennial meme is ‘this meeting could have been an email.’ Apply that thinking to your livestreams, podcasts, vlogs, videos, interactive events, etc.” — Christopher Penn @cspenn Click To Tweet
5 — Michael Brenner: “Committed Brands Are Going to Win Big”
There’s no must reinvent the wheel, in keeping with Marketing Insider Group CEO Michael Brenner. He means that content material entrepreneurs who merely lock down the basics and put money into success might be poised to take the lead:
Go massive or go house! In 2021, dedicated manufacturers are going to win massive in content material advertising. There’s a lot noise on the market. And but, there are superb B2B content material advertising examples who’ve grown huge audiences and delivered advertising ROI.
What do they do in another way? Just the fundamentals:
1.) They publish keyword-focused weblog posts persistently.
2.) They combine in lengthy kind and brief kind content material.
three.) They co-create tales with prospects, executives, influencers, and companions.
four.) They concentrate on constructing subscribers.
5.) They measure ROI
“In 2021, committed brands are going to win big in content marketing. There’s so much noise out there. And yet, there are amazing B2B content marketing examples who have grown massive audiences and delivered marketing ROI.” @BrennerMichael Click To Tweet
6 — Melanie Deziel: “Doubling Down on Video and Live Video”
Many content material entrepreneurs who have been holding off on video advertising techniques, together with live-streaming, took the plunge in 2020 out of necessity. Melanie Deziel, Chief Content Officer for StoryFuel, is heartened by this improvement and expects to see it carry over into subsequent yr:
If I needed to discover a silver lining of 2020 for entrepreneurs, it could be the truth that we elevated our agility and adopted new methods of speaking with our audiences. I’ve been notably impressed by what number of manufacturers have absolutely embraced video and reside video.
I hope entrepreneurs retain this mentality in 2021, doubling down on video and reside video, and exploring nonetheless extra codecs for speaking with our audiences: quizzes, maps, timelines and extra.
“I hope marketers retain this mentality in 2021, doubling down on video and live video, and exploring still more formats for communicating with our audiences: quizzes, maps, timelines and more.” — Melanie Deziel @mdeziel Click To Tweet
7 — Carla Johnson: Innovation Through Smart Risks
Experimentation and a willingness to study by failure are instrumental to breaking new floor. Marketing & Innovation Strategist Carla Johnson feels that the disruption and calls for of 2020 compelled many content material entrepreneurs to again away from taking dangers, understandably, however hopes to see an enormous rebound subsequent yr:
Every content material marketer has larger stress to guage, measure and report on how, how a lot, when, the place and why prospects related with their manufacturers in 2020. The yr was about being nimble, responsive and methodical with execution. There was no room for trial and error.
For 2021, B2B content material advertising might be about taking good dangers that result in extra revolutionary work. They’ll take inspiration from manufacturers which have pushed the envelope with candor, openness, empathy and even humor. With a lot that didn’t work, they’ll be capable to eliminate initiatives that don’t ship and unlock a minimum of parts of budgets to start to experiment. These tiny experiments will result in extra inventive ways in which clear up issues for prospects that shake the stereotype that B2B means ‘boring to boring.’
“For 2021, B2B content marketing will be about taking smart risks that lead to more innovative work.” — Carla Johnson @CarlaJohnson Click To Tweet
eight — Amy Higgins: Co-Creating More Content with Customers
Amy Higgins, Director of Content Strategy at Salesforce (and TopRank Marketing alumni) sees extra co-creation of content material with prospects as key to constructing model loyalty:
Many issues have modified this yr — together with how entrepreneurs have embraced digital channels and tapped into the feelings of our viewers. Our job as B2B content material entrepreneurs has all the time been to assist fill the pipe by bringing in new audiences, holding them engaged, and transferring them towards the following step of their purchaser’s journey. However, in 2021, I predict that may change.
We will focus not solely on educating new audiences. But, we’ll broaden our focus to additional assist our current ones. Customer acquisition will nonetheless have a spot on the desk, however the visitor of our honor might be our buyer. This yr we’ll co-create extra content material with our prospects and for our prospects to assist strengthen loyalty and construct evangelism.
“We will co-create more content with our customers and for our customers to help strengthen loyalty and build evangelism.” — Amy Higgins @amywhiggins Click To Tweet
9 — Lee Odden: Optimize for Findability, Credibility and Experience
Our CEO and co-founder Lee Odden sees a possibility in 2021 for B2B entrepreneurs to lift the bar on their content material advertising by optimizing buyer experiences with extra findable, credible and experiential content material:
History will keep in mind 2020 as a yr many need to overlook with many B2B entrepreneurs struggling to handle uncertainty and model mistrust, overloaded communication channels and a patrons’ accelerated expectations of digital experiences. And but, some B2B entrepreneurs haven’t solely survived 2020, however thrived – together with our personal company TopRank Marketing. I predict that most of the classes we’ve realized from creating trusted content material that reaches and engages B2B prospects for among the prime B2B manufacturers on the planet will grow to be the brand new regular in 2021.
Findable – search engine optimisation is extra essential than ever for B2B content material entrepreneurs as patrons more and more depend on digital channels like search to search out the knowledge they want throughout your complete gross sales journey. Fresh subject analysis to replicate new purchaser preferences plus content material and hyperlink optimization will elevate the bar on being the very best reply for prospects on the very second of want.
Credible – Buyers’ rising mistrust of brand name advertising and messaging plus the shift in direction of digital channels has accelerated the affect that subject material specialists are having with content material credibility, high quality and distribution. B2B manufacturers will elevate the bar on content material credibility by partnering with exterior influencers whereas constructing the inner affect of their executives by content material collaborations.
Experiential – Video has grow to be the worth of entry for B2B buyer consideration however there’s extra to creating nice advertising experiences and in 2021 profitable B2B manufacturers will elevate the bar on buyer expertise with higher digital occasions, personalization, episodic model content material, extra interactive content material and more and more collaborative content material.
“The lessons we’ve learned from creating trusted content that reaches and engages B2B customers for some of the top B2B brands in the world will become the new normal in 2021.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet
Cheers to a New Year in 2021
This is an thrilling time to be in content material advertising. We have a possibility to form the “new normal” and additional solidify the perform as a enterprise technique cornerstone.
Carve your personal path in 2021, however heed the phrases and recommendation of those shiny enterprise minds who’ve seen many twists and turns within the journey of content material advertising, and can assist information us by these to come back.
For extra 2021 B2B advertising predictions, you should definitely take a look at 12 Top B2B search engine optimisation Trends & Predictions for 2021 and 14 Expert B2B Influencer Marketing Predictions for 2021.
*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing shopper.