If there’s one constant, it’s change. In the marketing world, that means technology, consumer behavior, and
If you want to create a killer content marketing strategy in 2024, you have to know how those changes affect you.
2023: The Year of Generative AI
As far as personalization, authenticity, and user experience go, 2023 marked a point of inflection for B2B content marketing.
Since ChatGPT’s massive 2022 launch in late November put it at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it’s impossible to talk about SEO and content marketing without mentioning AI (and mentioning it first).
This made creating and distributing large volumes of content (notice I didn’t say “good” content) easy. Almost too easy.
So, it became a staple in every B2B marketer’s toolset. According to a report by UBS, ChatGPT reached 100 million active users in January 2023 — just 2 months post-launch.
At the beginning of 2023 (and throughout the year), everyone was talking about it and its potential to replace SEOs/content marketers (which, of course, won’t happen).
Increasingly, though, we’re living in a world where buyers crave personalization and interactivity across several channels.
Google’s solidified stance on E-E-A-T and AI-generated content reinforces its focus on audience preferences and needs, not so much as your means of getting your message out. While this means AI-generated content isn’t inherently “bad,” it does mean you have to
So, while creating content seems easier and more accessible than ever, B2B businesses actually have it harder in 2024. Now that everyone can publish the same type and volume of content as a baseline, it’s on you to differentiate with content your target audience actually wants to see.
4 B2B content marketing trends for 2024 and beyond
At the end of the day, we’re all human. And that means we all crave connection, empathy, and authenticity. We want to feel seen and heard, not just sold to.
In 2024, your ability to connect with buyers in meaningful ways will be more crucial than ever.
So, what do you have to do to accomplish that?
Let’s dive in.
AI: 73% of marketers are already using it.
According to a 2023 study conducted with marketers across the US, 73% said they were already using artificial intelligence in some capacity.
The Content Marketing Institute studied the same thing across 1,000 marketers and found similar numbers. They also discovered that most marketers were only using it for clerical work:
- Brainstorming new topics
- Researching headlines, keywords, and other SEO elements
- Generating a basic content outline or draft
Going forward, AI tools are only going to get more advanced. ChatGPT, for example, can now search the web for information before generating an output.
All I have to do is tell it to “do some research” before giving me an answer.
Then, it’ll start searching Google, Bing, and other search engines…
…before returning an impressively accurate (and cited) answer.
That means AI is only going to get better and better at taking care of the busywork.
For many, a lack of standards gets in the way.
In CMI’s above mentioned research, the organization also studied B2B marketers’ reasons for not investing in AI when creating content.
What they found:
- 36% have accuracy concerns
- 27% cite a lack of training
- 27% say it’s due to a lack of understanding
- 22% have copyright concerns
- 19% work for companies that forbid it
- 14% are unsure
- 23% gave another reason
In addition, 61% of companies using AI have no guidelines or standards in place.
As a B2B content marketer, finding success as AI tools become more accurate and efficient will come down to whether you can establish a standard for quality and relevance.
To win at the B2B content game in 2024:
- Sharpen your focus on user intent and answering important questions.
- Create more thought leadership content.
- Create more conversational content (e.g., podcasts, live streams, Q&As).
- Focus on social proof (testimonials, reviews, etc.) and user-generated content throughout your website.
Video content is #1 for audience engagement.
I’m not exactly going against the grain when I say video marketing reigns supreme.
Plus, companies that adopt video marketing improve their SEO performance by up to 250%.
What’s changing is how it’s used.
Here are three areas you should be investing more time and resources:
Automated, AI-powered video creation
Although we normally think of generative AI as a text-based tool for content marketing, it’s becoming more capable than ever when it comes to video creation.
You can’t use it for everything. But it can help you create:
- Short, animated social media videos
- Product demos
- Explainer and educational videos
- Training content for your employees
Platforms like Steve.ai enable you to upload a video script and brand assets. From there, it’ll create videos like these in minutes.
If you use a more advanced tool like Synthesia, you can even have it create an avatar that’ll narrate and star in the video for you.
Depending on the nature of your business, short-form video content might make more sense for you. TikTok, Reels, and Shorts are great for B2B companies with a playful, creative side.
These social media platforms are also perfect for SaaS content marketing because you can use them to showcase your product in a practical way. Plus, they help you show up on search engines for product how-to queries.
ClickUp, for example, does a killer job with short-form video. On the company TikTok, Reels, and YouTube accounts, they publish:
- Behind-the-brand content
- Influencer marketing campaigns
- Product tutorials, showcases, and hacks
- Giving customers a glimpse at your team and culture
- Repurposed user-generated content
- Funny stuff
The best thing about video content is you can repurpose it across multiple platforms and exponentially increase your reach.
In addition to those three social networks, you can also publish them to LinkedIn and Twitter (X), on your website, and in your blog content. Plus, you can use them in your sales outreach.
Live videos are some of the most engaging content because they’re authentic (and sometimes interactive). ON24’s 2023 APAC State of Digital Engagement Benchmarks report found that webinar audiences have a 77% higher conversion rate.
When it comes to live video, the opportunities are endless:
- Webinars and webcasts
- Virtual events and conferences
- Live product demos
- Training sessions
There’s SEO value in this content, too. Since you can repurpose it and cite it in your other content, you’ll build a nice library of video content that helps you rank for keywords and answer customer questions.
User-generated content is now a top B2B marketing tool.
Social proof is the most important thing to B2B buyers.
According to research from G2, 60.5% of C-suite execs and 68% of Directors/VPs need to see user-generated content (e.g., reviews, testimonials, case studies) before making a purchase decision.
And the vast majority agree trusted reviews make them more likely to buy from you.
That’s why websites with user-generated content (UGC) convert 29% more. It makes your company more authentic, trustworthy, and relatable.
Plus, it increases engagement on your website and enhances your credibility. So, there’s SEO value to it as well.
Successful content strategies do more than just add reviews to their website, though. Most buyers check them out during consideration, but awareness- and decision-stage content can also benefit from UGC.
How you use UGC in 2024 depends on whether the campaign focuses on lead gen or demand gen.
- For top-of-funnel demand generation content, use quotes, reviews, and customer-generated product content in your social media posts, email marketing, ads, and website landing pages.
- For lead generation content, focus on results and product use cases. Use reviews and case studies in gated content, sales outreach, email newsletters, and product-led articles.
To get the most value out of it, UGC should be contextually relevant to the content issue.
Strategically place it where it reinforces your point. And encourage your customers to focus on specific keywords, features, and use cases when they publish it.
Interactive content keeps B2B buyers engaged.
Interactive content is one of the best ways to boost your web conversions. According to research compiled by Linearity, the most effective interactive forms of content are:
- Interactive infographics
The majority (85%) of B2B marketers have already incorporated it into their content strategy, or they plan to this year.
Calculators are my personal favorite type of interactive content. Take HubSpot’s ad spend ROI calculator as an example.
In addition to helping buyers understand how different variables impact the viability of ads compared to other digital marketing channels, they show their ideal customers just how much they could make back on their investment.
It’s the perfect way to get the right people excited while filtering out those who wouldn’t benefit from your product.
Short blogs are the most popular content format. Case studies are the most effective.
In the aforementioned Content Marketing Institute research, 94% of marketers who participated said they used short blog posts (less than 3,000 words) as part of their content strategy.
Here’s a look at the other popular content formats B2B marketers are currently using:
When asked which types of content they had the most success with, 53% said case studies produced the best results, followed by videos (53%), thought leadership content (51%), short articles (47%), and research reports (43%).
That isn’t to say you should invest all your marketing resources in case studies and video content.
You also shouldn’t ditch long-form articles, product/technical data sheets, and other forms of content that can still produce results.
If anything, this points more to the necessity of precise attribution. To know what’s truly working for your business, you need to connect every piece of content customers interact with to a sale, then determine which ones led to significant milestones.
50% of marketing teams will invest more in their content marketing strategy this year.
HubSpot’s 2024 State of Marketing report found that 50% of marketers will invest more in content creation and distribution than they have in years past.
The Content Marketing Institute studied the same trend and found that only 6% of B2B marketers planned to decrease their spending.
So, at the very least, you can expect several of your competitors to ramp up their content efforts this year.
Get the most out of your content marketing spend.
Content marketing is a powerful tool that permeates every stage of the B2B buyer’s journey. By extension, it impacts practically every facet of your marketing and sales efforts.
But creating high-quality content and distributing it effectively isn’t easy. It takes time, resources, and a deep understanding of your target audience.
To get the most out of your content marketing spend in 2024 and beyond, prioritize:
- Your ideal customers’ pain points, goals, and preferences
- A thorough content strategy and calendar
- Authenticity in your content creation process
- User-generated and interactive content to boost engagement and trust
- High-converting bottom-of-funnel content like webinars and case studies
- Content distribution through LinkedIn, email (other than your newsletter), and in-person events
- Measuring content’s impact on sales conversions, not just web traffic and impressions
And, of course, hire an agency like Linkflow to help you out with it. 😉