When it’s done poorly, B2B content marketing is a one-way relationship. It demands time and attention from the reader, essentially saying, “Look at our product! Read about how great we are!”

Content like this typically doesn’t reward its audience for their attention – and readers can spot it from a mile away. Without a ton of time to spare, they’ll move on to something more useful or engaging.

Past trends in content marketing have shifted the focus towards more personalization, making content easy to find, and writing less sales-y copy. These approaches aren’t fading away, but new B2B marketing strategies are taking them to a new level.

Evolving trends encourage you to plan content marketing campaigns as a back-and-forth with customers, using high-quality data to understand their interests, creating and repurposing content to create an ongoing conversation with them, and reframing copy to put their interests at the forefront.

Use content to collect data (and vice-versa)

Previous trend: Personalization

Personalization remains an important content trend for good reason: a 2020 report showed 78% of marketers felt personalization had a “strong” or “extremely strong” impact on customer relationships. Another survey said 70% of companies that used advanced personalization claimed it helped them earn at least 200% ROI.

In B2B, personalizing content could mean something as simple as adding first names to emails. It could also mean creating and tagging content targeted towards data points like location, funnel stage, buyer persona, industry, or application.

Content that captures new data points

Personalization isn’t going anywhere, but amid growing concerns around data privacy, the trend needs a shift in perspective. Rather than creating content based on limited data points, B2B marketers can actually do the reverse: create content that captures more holistic information about your audience.

Transparency, GDPR compliance, and data validation still play a role, but let’s keep the focus on content. Think about how you can use or grow your existing platforms to collect responses directly from your audience. You could craft a series of polls on social media, send out a survey via email, or even commission your own in-depth research to better understand your customers’ preferences, opinions, and pain points.

Then use that data to create even more useful, targeted content. What did the responses teach you about your audience? Do users have trouble understanding a certain feature of your product? Turn it into a how-to article or troubleshooting video. Did you find any eye-opening statistics in a survey? That could be a shareable data visualization or infographic.

This approach to data can have a surprisingly low cost and time investment – and provide a wealth of content inspiration in return. One set of responses can turn into several types of repurposed content.

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Build content hubs where conversations happen

Previous trend: Making content easy to find

In a 2022 survey of engineers, 68% said they routinely seek information on supplier or vendor websites when researching a product or service for a business purchase. Reports like these highlight the importance of improving the online experience to help users find what they need on your company’s website, whether it’s datasheets, articles, or product pages.

That typically means overhauling or modernizing a B2B website to improve things like load times, navigation, and design elements that draw the user’s eye to the content you want them to see.

Create a circular content economy

To build off the trend of making your content easy to find, the next trend is all about creating an online environment your audience can return to for the valuable information they need.

Yes, that means having a regular content schedule. You’ll need to consistently update your website with high-quality content like blogs, how-to articles, FAQs, videos, or (ideally) a healthy mix of formats.

Over time, you can build trust with your audience while keeping your online presence healthy (and improve SEO scores in the process). You can even take it a step further by creating online communities on platforms like YouTube, LinkedIn, or Reddit – virtual spaces where customers can interact with your content and spark discussions.

Remember our previous point about creating polls or surveys to inspire more content? If you’re consistent, you can turn your content campaign into an ongoing conversation with the audience, using their responses or engagement levels to influence your next move.

A coffee mug, pen, and napkin with 'great content' and several related words written on it

Writing for humans, not robots

Previous trend: Less sales-y marketing copy

In the same survey of engineers, 70% of respondents said their favourite email newsletter featured in-depth technical information. B2B readers want content that helps them do their jobs, whether it’s to research a purchase decision, find technical support, or understand industry trends.

In other words, they don’t want a 40-page dissertation about how awesome your brand is (even if your brand is really, really awesome). That’s why B2B content has slowly but surely shifted towards writing that is less sales-focused, and more about showcasing value.

It’s okay to get emotional

To help you keep those content conversations going, we can take this B2B writing trend a step further. Informative content can help your brand establish authority and trust, but can you make it engaging and easy to read?

Part of this lies in the language itself. Consider shifting the tone away from overly professional or flowery writing towards something more approachable. If you don’t need to use long, complicated, or obscure terms, then don’t use them. Readers will thank you.

Remember: your readers are humans, not robots. Humans have emotions. To create content that really resonates with them, speak directly to the customer’s feelings. Frame stories around their own challenges, pain points, interests, and objectives. Then you can segue into how your company's products or services benefit the buyer.

A quick (and silly) example: “Our swords are the best quality, and everyone loves them.” This is braggy and doesn’t have anything to do with the customer. You could reframe it this way: “Don’t you hate it when your sword shatters against your enemy’s armour? Blades forged from mithril never break, so you don’t have to worry about reforging your sword in the middle of battle.”

Notice how the reframed version also involves more emotion and compassion for the user. It understands the stakes (winning fights, survival, mid-battle forgery) and speaks to the user’s potential worries or frustrations.

Highly technical content doesn’t have to be boring. Similarly, writing about your products doesn’t have to be all about you.

3 trends can inspire a year’s worth of content

With these three evolving trends in mind, you can plan entire content marketing campaigns without the need for a gargantuan investment. Repurposing content is the ace-in-the-hole for B2B marketers looking to maximize ROI, so think about how, say, an in-depth webinar or report can be further broken into smaller pieces of content like videos, infographics, FAQs, or polls for your social media audience.

Above all, remember who you’re writing for. Your business has something unique and valuable to offer, so keep the customer’s perspective in mind as you plan every stage of your campaign.

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