Critical content marketing trends for B2B SaaS

I started blogging about 10 years ago and found my voice while writing about Lean Startup. I didn’t do promotion — I just tried to write compelling content. Occasionally a friend would notify me when I hit #1 on Hacker News. Ah, the content salad days … they are long, long gone.

Content marketing is now insanely competitive. In 15 Content Marketing Trends That Need Your Close Attention, Jeff Bullas argues that content marketing hasn’t lived up to the hype identifies 15 content trends content marketers can use to build our audiences. It is a good summary of major tactical trends like quality, expiring content, podcasting, and optimization. Here is my take on what matters for B2B content marketers.

Emerging strategies for B2B content marketing

(Data-driven) Quality wins

The era of simple, quick, affordable content is over. Gone. Buyers are ignoring fluffy “me too” pieces and Google is getting smarter about punishing these SEO content factories.

The most powerful B2B content marketing is data-driven — the kind that Nate Silver and Priceonomics write. It takes me an entire week to write a high-quality, data-driven content.

Quality wins — unfortunately it is way too hard for your average content team. Consider poaching Harry Enten from 538 if you want to do data-driven content.

Educational

“How-to” posts are a cornerstone content strategy. Videos, podcasts, interviews, slides …all kinds of formats can be educational. By teaching potential customers a better way to work we establish ourselves as trusted partners and not just product vendors.

Unfortunately the quick “how to” posts are also being copied by everyone and mostly a waste of time. The best marketers like Greenhouse leverage the internal expertise of their product and marketing teams to build world-class content.

The challenge? Your most talented product and marketing team members are already overwhelmed with product commitments and don’t have the bandwidth to invest in content.

Thought-provoking

A good writer who knows your business can churn out engaging content your customers want to read and share. Storytelling, conversations and authentic experiences can be “thought-provoking” content. That’s why more and more B2B companies are creating it on Medium — a platform that amplifies writers who make you think.

Thought-provoking content leans heavily on the voice and experiences of the writer. If you’ve got a Seth Godin or Ira Glass on your team count your blessings — otherwise hire the most compelling writer you can find.

Bottom line: the era of simple, affordable content is over

I get it. You’re looking for the easy button — the magical content “growth hack” that will create an everlasting flow of qualified leads riding SEO pixie dust.

It doesn’t exist.

Content is hard — but you need to do it. Our customers are increasingly self-educating before even trying our products. They just have too many choices.

Before you blindly hire a “content writer” think carefully about what you want to achieve and your expected ROI.

Because the content table stakes keep going up.


Originally published at ScribbleIQ Blog.

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