These content formats are the most effective for B2B content marketers

And why do marketers keep creating content that they admit doesn’t get results?

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How many unique types of content have you explored (or been asked to create by overzealous stakeholders) over the past year? There are a lot of options out there, but as you’d expect, not every type of content is equally effective – particularly for B2B marketing goals. Blog posts. Videos. Events. A new podcast? And what about live streaming?

That’s why the Content Marketing Institute’s 12th Annual B2B Content Marketing report is so illuminating. By polling the industry, we see what formats are most widely used, and what formats are actually getting the most bang for their buck.

The data, in brief: Among many other topics, CMI and MarketingProfs surveyed respondents about two key points: 

  1. Which content assets were most used by marketers over the past year
  2. Which content assets produced the best results for marketers in the same period

We took those results and plotted each of the 12 types of content assets into four segments to help you plan your 2022 content output.

B2B Content Formats - v2

Workhorses: These are the most effective tools in your marketing arsenal – with varying levels of investment. The tried-and-true short article is the most widely used asset per CMI’s research, but videos aren’t far behind (with further growth expected). Notable is how effective virtual events and webinars have been in the context of the pandemic. Zoom fatigue may be setting in, but virtual events have been an essential asset for keeping B2B marketing engines running,  and they will continue to have a place in the toolkit beyond COVID.

For 2022, consider these questions:

  • Are you investing enough in workhorses versus assets in other quadrants?
  • Are you seeing consistent returns on each of these formats, or are some better for your organization than others?

Hidden Gems: Putting aside in-person events that have been sidelined by the pandemic, the key asset here is research reports. These were the second-most effective asset last year, but just 29% of marketers reported using them. Original research can be an incredibly effective tool for getting your POV out into the world (and generating leads). 

For 2022, consider these questions:

  • Are there underserved subjects in your industry that lack research efforts?
  • Will you be able to expand your use of in-person events as the pandemic continues? Or are there new ways you can share valuable information with your audiences?

Overused Resources: While every type of content asset has the potential to be a good fit for a given organization, 3,000+ word long-form articles and infographics stand out as having worse ROI as compared to similarly-used assets. And it’s not hard to imagine why: Long-form articles might be too long to fit into buyer media diets, and infographics are ripe to be used as a “default” format because marketers feel that they have to use them to keep up with channel and platform trends, rather than deliberately choose them for fit with the format.

For 2022, consider these questions:

  • Can you break up your long-form articles to fit better into the micro-moments of a buyer’s day yet still maintain usefulness and relevance?
  • Are your infographics and data visualizations creating a “wow!” reaction from your readers or a “so what?” reaction?

Case-by-Case Tools: These assets have less frequent use and return relative to other formats, but again there is the potential for the right fit for the right organization (and audience). This is also inclusive of print – a “legacy” format which still has the potential to resonate with the right type of buyer.

For 2022, consider these questions:

  • Can you prove that your B2B audience responds to these tools as compared to other assets?
  • Is there sufficient return on these assets to make production worthwhile?

TL;DR: Not all content assets are created equal, but right-sizing your investment among these types of assets can empower your content planning in the year to come.

Did you just realize that half of your content marketing isn’t getting results? Need to rethink your marketing mix? Reach out to us for more info.


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