As a B2B marketing agency, staying on top of the latest trends and insights in the world of content marketing is crucial to being successful. That’s why we were excited to dive into the Semrush ‘State of Content Marketing 2023 Global Report’, which provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of content marketing and predicts where the industry is headed in the coming year.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into some of the key findings from the report and discuss what they mean for B2B marketers looking to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of content marketing. From the continued rise of video content to the growing importance of quality over quantity, there are plenty of insights to be gained from the report that can help marketers stay ahead of the curve and deliver effective content marketing campaigns.

Types of content to watch out for

Why is content important? According to Semrush, paid ads and social media account for less than 10% of B2B website traffic, leads, or sales. Even for e-commerce, the number is less than 20%. So, what is the largest and most effective source of marketing ROI for brands? In every industry—ranging from technology to manufacturing and non-profits to pharma—the answer is organic search and referral traffic. And it’s all generated by content marketing.

Semrush’s report shared several types of content to watch out for and we’ve highlighted the top five types of content you should be including in your content marketing strategy:

Podcasts are gaining traction

Podcasts are no longer just niche medium. In fact, they are becoming increasingly popular, and this trend is expected to continue in 2023, which means B2B marketers can take advantage of this platform to share insightful information and thought leadership with their audience, especially on specialised or technical subjects.

Podcasts offer a unique way to engage with your audience, as they allow you to provide in-depth analysis and commentary on specific topics. They also provide an opportunity to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. However, it’s important to note that podcasting requires a significant investment in time and resources. You need to have a clear strategy in place, identify the right topics, and ensure that your content is engaging and informative.

This isn’t a surprise to Napier, we recently wrote a blog post on why podcasts are an important part of the B2B marketing mix, which explores how you can begin your podcast journey.

Rise of AI in content creation and distribution

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the content marketing landscape. From content creation to distribution, AI is being used to automate and streamline the processes of content marketing. For instance, AI-powered tools can help you generate content ideas, optimize your content for search engines, and even write articles and blog posts.

Artificial intelligence has dominated headlines recently as the world began to play with a new tool. Chances are, by now you’ve heard of ChatGPT, the generative AI app that has received attention for its conversational and human-like responses to queries. Launched by OpenAI toward the end of last year, the chatbot uses a language processing model to predict responses that are eerily reflective of human speech and take mere seconds to conjure.

The use of AI in content marketing has its limitations, though. AI-generated content can lack the human touch, and it may not always reflect the tone and voice of your brand. Moreover, AI-generated content may not always be accurate or relevant, which means you need to carefully evaluate the quality of the content before publishing it.

Marketers who want to employ tools such as ChatGPT to generate content should also be aware of potential impacts on SEO. Google has traditionally penalized auto-generated content, which it deems low quality in accordance with the company’s spam policy. ChatGPT’s software competes with Google, so there’s broad speculation that Google will move to penalize content generated by its competition.

The world of AI is changing and advancing daily- be aware of its capabilities and limitations to understand how you can leverage its technology for your marketing initiatives. Harnessed well, it can help you gain a competitive edge in the digital world.

The popularity of video content among B2B buyers and decision-makers is on the rise

Video content is not just reserved for B2C marketers. In fact, B2B buyers and decision-makers are increasingly consuming video content, with 70% more traffic going to articles with at least one video versus articles without videos. Unsurprisingly, short-form video content, in particular, is gaining popularity, with the most engaging videos being 30 seconds or less.

Producing compelling video content can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort. Video content allows you to showcase your products or services, provide how-to tutorials, and even share customer testimonials. Video content is also highly shareable, which means it has the potential to go viral and reach a wider audience.

The use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in content marketing is expected to grow

AR and VR are not just for gaming and entertainment. In fact, they are increasingly being used in content marketing to provide immersive and interactive experiences. For instance, AR and VR can be used to showcase products, provide virtual tours, and even create educational content.

The use of AR and VR in content marketing has its challenges, though. AR and VR require significant investment in technology and resources.  Creating AR and VR content also requires a high degree of technical expertise, which means you need to work with specialized providers to create this type of content.

Long-form content is becoming more popular

Long-form content, such as white papers, e-books, and case studies, is becoming increasingly popular. This type of content allows you to provide in-depth analysis and insights on specific topics and can help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Long-form content can help you improve your search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website. According to the Semrush report the “Everything You Need To Know” titles and comparison articles generate the most organic traffic on average.

To create long-form content, you need to invest in research and analysis. You need to identify the topics that are most relevant to your audience and create content that provides valuable insights and information. You also need to ensure that your content is well-written, well-designed, and well-promoted.

Key takeaways: how content marketing is evolving

We’ve discussed the content tools expected to grow in the coming year but here are six aspects to consider to get maximum impact from your content:

Emphasis on quality over quantity

In 2023, the emphasis will be on creating high-quality, targeted content that addresses the specific pain points and challenges of your audience. This trend may be particularly significant for B2B marketers, who frequently target a niche market that demands in-depth and educational material.

Focusing on quality over quantity means that you need to invest in research, analysis, and creativity. You need to understand your audience’s needs and preferences and create content that resonates with them. You also need to ensure that your content is well-written, well-researched, and well-designed.

Brand purpose and sustainability will become more prominent themes in content marketing

This trend is not surprising, given the increasing focus on social responsibility and environmental sustainability. In 2023, brand purpose and sustainability will become more important themes in content marketing. B2B companies that embrace these themes can differentiate themselves from their competitors and establish themselves as leaders in their industry.

To incorporate brand purpose and sustainability into your content marketing strategy, you need to identify the values and principles that guide your brand. You need to communicate these values through your content and showcase how your brand is making a positive impact on society and the environment. It’s important to ensure that your content is authentic and transparent and that it reflects the values of your brand.

Content marketing budgets are expected to increase in 2023

Content marketing is no longer an optional strategy. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly important as buyers are creating their own sales funnels. In 2023, content marketing budgets are expected to increase, which means B2B marketers may need to prepare for greater expectations for results.

It has been obvious for some time that B2B customers are increasingly seeking information themselves, rather than involving a salesperson, and contacting potential suppliers later in their customer journey. Gartner is one of the analyst companies that has highlighted this trend, and their excellent report, Chief Sales Officer Leadership Vision 2023, highlights the declining influencer of the salesperson in B2B transactions. This is a trend Napier has previously discussed- check out the blog Marketing is Replacing Sales in B2B.

To maximize your content marketing budget, you need to focus on creating high-quality, targeted content that resonates with your audience. You also need to invest in the right tools and technologies that can help you automate and streamline your content marketing processes. Don’t forget to measure and analyse the results of your content marketing efforts, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Influencer marketing is becoming more strategic, and data-driven

Influencer marketing is not just for B2C marketers. In fact, B2B marketers can use influencer marketing to build trust, reach new audiences, and position themselves as thought leaders in their industry. However, influencer marketing in the B2B space requires a different approach than in B2C.

In 2023, influencer marketing is expected to become more strategic, and data-driven. This means that B2B marketers need to identify the right influencers that can add value to their brand. They need to work with influencers to create content that is informative and engaging, and that resonates with their target audience. However, it’s important to note that some target audiences may not be regular social media users, so influencer marketing in the B2B space may have its limitations.

The use of thought leadership content is becoming increasingly popular

Thought leadership content is not new, and it’s continuing to rise in popularity. This type of content can help establish your brand as a trusted authority in your field and can also help you generate leads and sales.

To create thought leadership content, it’s important to spend time identifying the topics and issues that are most relevant to your audience. This content then needs to be promoted through the right channels, such as social media, email, and industry publications. It will vary based on the audience you are targeting and the campaign you are implementing.

The importance of images

SEO, SEO, SEO… one of the key purposes of content. Not only do images make your content more accessible, attractive, and engaging to users, but they’re important for SEO. Backlinks are one of the most important aspects of SEO because they demonstrate to search engines like Google that your website has authority, especially if other high-authority domains are linking to it. According to Semrush, 55% more backlinks were generated by blog posts with 7+ images compared to those without.

Preparing for the future of content marketing

Despite a shaky economic outlook in the coming year, things are positive in the world of content marketing. B2B marketers need to focus on creating high-quality, targeted content that addresses the specific pain points and challenges of their audience. They also need to invest in the right tools and technologies and measure and analyse the results of their content marketing efforts.

Whether it’s podcasts, AI, video content, AR/VR, influencer marketing, thought leadership content, or long-form content, B2B marketers need to be prepared to embrace these trends and adapt their content marketing strategies accordingly. By doing so, they can maximize their content strategy and prepare for the future of content marketing.

To access your own copy of the report, please click here.