9 B2B Content Marketing Trends to Amplify Your Online Presence in 2023
Content marketing is the pulse of the digital world. And it’s becoming increasingly important to B2B marketers. According to MarketingProfs’ and Content Marketing Institute’s 13th Annual Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, 71% of content marketers surveyed confirmed that content marketing has become more important to their organization over the last year.
Even so, merely 29% of those surveyed rated their content marketing program as “very successful” or “extremely successful”. Ouch!
Your content is your strategic platform for captivating and capturing your audience.
But there’s a great deal of content out there, and your brand needs to break through all the noise in order to reach and resonate with your prospective customers.
Keeping a tab on the latest content trends helps you to grab their attention, solve their problems, and engage with them throughout the customer journey. In this post, we’ll cover 9 B2B content marketing trends in 2023 for you to keep an eye on, plus examples and strategies you can use to implement the trends.
1. Creative Uses of Video Flourish
The popularity of video marketing has been on the rise. Close to 70% of B2B businesses responding to a Wistia survey confirmed plans to create more video content in 2023 than in years past.
And for good reason. According to a Wyzowl study:
- 95% of marketers surveyed using video in their marketing confirmed that video marketing has helped them increase brand awareness
- 91% say video marketing has helped them increase traffic
- 90% say it has helped them generate leads
- 87% say video marketing assisted in delivering increased sales
With the proliferation of video marketing, we’re seeing more creative uses by businesses.
SparkToro, an audience research SaaS run by Rand Fishkin, for example, is consistently deploying video in interesting ways. While the company’s YouTube channel includes a collection of interviews and educational videos, what really sets SparkToro apart is all the videos of Fishkin on LinkedIn walking through use cases for generating greater marketing results through creative uses of the platform.
Microsoft is another example of a company pushing the limits of video. From explorations into AI with well-known personalities such as Will.i.am to a leadership series, keynotes from Microsoft Inspire 2023, an innovation series across multiple industries, tips and product-related videos, Microsoft expertly mixes it up so that you never know what’s coming next.
Microsoft then takes it further with documentaries such as Inclusive: The Film:
Here at Stratabeat we’ve been exploring different video formats, as well. For example, over the past year we’ve been releasing videos that combine human hosts with animation. The combination is unique, and something we’ve never seen by any other marketing agency. The reactions we’ve been hearing from our audience have been powerful.
Takeaway: Go beyond talking heads or animated product overviews. By getting creative, you’ll more effectively cut through the noise and engage with your audience.
2. Organic Traffic Takes on New Importance
According to the latest CMO Survey by The American Marketing Association and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, 52% of marketers are reducing spend this year due to economic pressures. In times of economic uncertainty and tightening budgets, businesses are going to reduce ineffective ad spend and eliminate wasteful marketing expenditures that are not working.
Instead, smart B2B marketing teams are pouring greater attention and resources into organic growth. Organic traffic from Google, when aligned with search intent, results in higher quality traffic. Plus, SEO enables you to cover the entire customer journey, something that’s far too expensive with advertising.
High-quality content hubs that rank well in Google become a powerful moat around your business, giving you a competitive advantage. According to Google, organic search delivers a 5.3X ROI compared to 2X for paid search.
Takeaway: Cut ineffective advertising and lean into high-quality content that compounds in value over time.
Stratabeat Achieved Explosive Organic Traffic Gains for a Client in a Hyper-Competitive VerticalSee How!
3. First-Party Data Increases in Importance
Cookies have long been a tool for collecting audience data. Although Google extended support for third-party cookies until 2024, that expiration date is right around the corner. And Apple is already allowing users to opt-out of tracking and third-party cookies in Safari and apps on iOS devices.
With third-party cookie support phasing out, smart businesses are already jumping on this B2B content marketing trend by building their muscle for the collection of first-party data.
There are a variety of ways to collect first-party data, including:
Takeaway: Evolve past the use of the third-party cookies. Future-proof your marketing with a reliable supply of accurate, first-party audience data and a data standardization strategy.
4. Content Becomes More “Helpful”
Google’s Helpful Content Update underlines the growing importance of valuable, original content. Google states the following actions it’s taking:
- “We’re also improving how we rank results in Search overall, with a greater focus on content with unique expertise and experience.”
- “We’ll roll out an update to this system that more deeply understands content created from a personal or expert point of view, allowing us to rank more of this useful information on Search.”
Beyond the Helpful Content Update, Google also enhanced its E-E-A-T guidelines (adding “Experience” to Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). E-E-A-T is part of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, the handbook used by human evaluators to assess the quality of web pages for Google.
This shift in the algorithm is likely to deter the production of content that’s merely stitched together from existing sources without adding fresh perspectives or value.
Take Databox as an example of B2B content that adds unique value. They’ve leaned into data-driven journalism, using their original research as the backbone of their articles, which often cite dozens of experts in a single post.
That’s the kind of content Google is rewarding with this update—original, authoritative, and steeped in firsthand experience.
Takeaway: It’s not just about writing what you know, but also about sharing fresh, new, differentiated ways of thinking. Add insights from subject matter experts (SMEs) and key opinion leaders (KOLs), use original research, and rely on your own firsthand experiences.
5. Communities Continue to Grow
As another B2B content marketing trend, Slack communities like Superpath and RevGenius, platform-based communities like Exit 5 and Pavilion, and other niche online communities continue to grow in importance and influence. These spaces foster connection, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing among professionals in various industries.
Communities are a unique opportunity to listen and learn. To capture insights from those highly engaged in the space. Whether it’s marketing, sales, tech, or creative fields, communities provide invaluable networking opportunities and resources that can’t be found elsewhere.
Takeaway: Connect with like-minded professionals in these communities to build partnerships, collaborations, and a deeper understanding of industry trends and needs.
6. B2B Social Engagement Booms
The click-through rate (CTR) on a piece of content is 2X higher when shared by an employee versus when shared by the company itself. Employee advocacy and B2B creators represent a massive opportunity for businesses looking to increase their reach and engagement on social media.
B2B companies can build brand presence by positioning internal experts at the forefront. For example, a sales expert at a company can provide valuable tips and actionable strategies to build trust and create a community. LinkedIn’s new features—audio and collaborative articles—offer unique opportunities for creators to build authority.
Emilia Korczynska, Head of Marketing at Userpilot, a product experience platform, posts about marketing. Emilia has a dedicated following on LinkedIn (approximately 20,000 followers) and is considered a thought leader in the space. When she promotes content for Userpilot, the audience is more likely to trust what she says simply because she’s proven her expertise. And even when she’s simply speaking about marketing topics in general, Userpilot still benefits through association.
Takeaway: Encourage internal experts to build their personal brands. Not only does this amplify the reach and influence of your company, but it also helps establish credibility, foster trust, and create a stronger connection with your audience.
7. AI-Driven Tools Facilitate Content Creation
2023 is the year of AI. While tools like Jasper were already reasonably popular, no one would’ve thought ChatGPT would blow up the way it did.
It’s the fastest-growing app in history and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. We’ve already seen content created about AI and with AI. The problem, though, is that AI content without any human intervention falls flat and involves significant legal and reputational risks.
One of the biggest challenges is the legal repercussions surrounding AI-generated content. AI models might inadvertently reproduce existing content that’s copyrighted. Even if it’s not a direct copy, substantial similarities can lead to legal disputes. And U.S. copyright law does not protect content that’s wholly produced by an AI tool.
Apart from this, determining ownership of AI-generated content can be a legal grey area. Who owns the content—the creator of the AI, the user, or the platform? These questions have yet to be clearly defined, which leads to potential conflicts.
In addition, AI tools typically create content that lacks authenticity, differentiation, and the human touch. This may lead to issues of trust and credibility with audiences, further emphasizing the importance of human intervention.
Do NOT publish content using an AI-content generator. Instead, figure out where AI fits in your content production workflow (e.g., brainstorming ideas, exploring topics, etc.) to make the process more efficient.
Takeaway: Use generative AI tools like ChatGPT to streamline your content creation process, particularly in tasks such as brainstorming ideas and content repurposing. Encourage your content teams to focus on creating original, top-quality content while AI facilitates the process. Avoid using AI tools to author content for you.
8. Content Marketing ROI Becomes Critical
Ever wonder why content marketing is the first to end up on the chopping block during budget cuts?
Simple: it’s really difficult to quantify the return on investment (ROI) for content marketing efforts. Unlike direct advertising, where you can track click-through rates and conversions, content marketing often influences the customer’s decision-making process in more subtle and indirect ways at every stage of the customer journey. Plus, complicating matters, you shouldn’t measure ROI for a top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content piece the way you would a bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) piece.
With economic uncertainty and tighter budgets in 2023, though, measuring ROI of your content initiatives becomes increasingly important.
Investing time and resources into understanding what content performs best at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel strengthens your entire marketing program. This requires a deep understanding of your audience and the underlying intent of their visits.
Takeaway: Measuring ROI becomes more nuanced in B2B content marketing. It’s not just about immediate leads but also improvements in organic rankings, increased website traffic, better audience engagement, greater micro conversions, and stronger brand recognition.
9. Owned Distribution Channels Become a Priority
That’s a lot of unpredictability for a platform that brands may have spent years building a presence on. These events show that even the most established social media platforms can experience turbulence, disrupting marketing strategies, and potentially causing businesses to lose connection with their audience.
We’ll now see B2B brands increase their focus on owned distribution channels, like websites, content hubs, blogs, microsites, and email newsletters. While social media is a powerful tool for engagement, it doesn’t offer the same level of control and stability as owned channels.
Takeaway: Control the narrative through owned digital assets while delivering consistent, high-quality content directly to your subscribers.
What Content Marketing Trends Are You Most Excited for?
Trends keep marketers on their toes. They challenge us to innovate, adapt, and rethink our strategies.
If you want to learn more about how you can use these B2B content marketing trends to their full potential for your own brand, get in touch today.
NOTE: This post was originally published on February 8, 2021 and has been updated to capture the latest trends in 2023.