In the middle of 2023, it’s safe to say content marketing is no longer the innovative, groundbreaking strategy it was ten or even five years ago. According to recent research, nearly 70% of companies plan to increase their content marketing budgets this year.

And while it’s likely too late to win the first-mover advantage in content marketing (unless your industry is very niche or specialized), producing higher-quality content is arguably more lucrative than ever. 

That’s because the massive increase in spending and strategy on content marketing has come partially as a response to the jump in buyers consuming content to help them along the buyer’s journey. From blog posts to industry publications and media properties, business buyers in almost every field are using content to help them evaluate options and better understand their needs.

The secret to success for marketers is to focus on the needs of your audience. Too many businesses treat content marketing like an obligation, churning out four blog posts a month because they have to. If you want to make your content better resonate with the right people, start with the steps below.

Too many businesses treat content marketing like an obligation, churning out four blog posts a month because they have to. Share on X

Assess Platform Choices

Most companies that engage with content marketing follow a similar pattern: they choose one or two platforms to create and publish content, then never think about them again. It’s easy to get caught into this day-to-day routine, but it’s vital to continually think about the places your company is leveraging content marketing.

New social media platforms and communication tools release every day. And while not all of them will be worth the time and effort, some might be. For example: when TikTok first launched, many companies doubted whether or not short-form videos featuring lots of music and dancing would be effective for marketing – especially those in B2B industries. But years later, TikTok is a popular place for all kinds of content, from the consumer ads you might expect to advice for CPAs and accounting firms.

We’re not suggesting you add new platforms to your marketing once a month or once a quarter. We recommend you keep an ear to the ground so you know about new media that might fit your content marketing well before your competitors.

Consider the Human Element

We’ve used people, emotions, and other parts of the human experience in marketing for centuries – remember the famous carousel scene from the TV show “Mad Men”? In it, a team of executives from Kodak suggests naming their new slide projector “the wheel” because of its shape. But Don Draper looks deeper to understand that consumers don’t care about the product’s shape; they care about the nostalgia it creates upon viewing old photos.

We often get objections from clients and prospects that sell to other businesses: “Nostalgia is great, but I’m selling software for specialized manufacturers. What does that have to do with humans?” Remember that no matter how dry or industrial your product seems, there’s always a way to connect to humans because they’re the ones ultimately making the buying decision.

One of the best ways to help you incorporate more of a human touch into your content marketing is to interview previous clients and ask them how their situation changed. Your product or service likely had a quantifiable impact on their business, affecting the people working there. Depending on your relationship with the clients you speak with and the nature of the conversation, you could publish the conversation as a case study in audio or video format.

Plan a Pivot Away From Personal Data Marketing

Over the last decade or so, the world of digital advertising has followed a relatively straightforward model. Advertising platforms like Google and Facebook collect data about the people using their platforms, then sell companies on the ability to use that data to maximize profits. While this model raked in billions of dollars in advertising money, it also created an unpleasant situation where companies needed to lean on an intimate knowledge of search and social media users to sell to them more effectively.

In the last three or four years, signs have emerged that this model is starting to disappear. In late 2021, Facebook (now Meta) announced they would no longer offer “sensitive” ad targeting categories like race, health conditions, and specific political ideas. Similarly, in a major iOS update from 2021, Apple required apps to ask permission to track user data, a request many users denied.

The writing is on the wall: in the coming years, third-party personal data collected by advertisers will no longer be the gold mine of advertising it might have been in the early 2010s. If you’ve been relying a lot on advertising data or a similar source, you need to consider how to pivot your strategy away from this resource. User data will always be available, and this shift won’t happen overnight, but it’s still critical to prepare now so you aren’t caught off-guard by something accelerating this trend.

Think About User Intent

One trend in the current era of content marketing is optimizing for user intent. In 2023, there’s so much content out there for almost every industry that the biggest challenge for both B2B and B2C buyers is finding out which kinds of content will help them meet their professional needs. It’s fantastic if your site has a great content library, but it isn’t living up to its potential if you don’t organize it well.

In a recent article for the Content Marketing Institute, strategy chief Robert Rose points out that organizing content by “e-books, white papers, videos, etc.” asks them to choose the kind of experience they want before knowing the topic. Instead of this traditional method of organization that often results in challenges for first-time users, take a deeper approach to your content’s organization and accessibility by grouping it by customer intent.

And if you’re unsure where to start when grouping content by intent, try applying the pillar strategy to content you create for two or three of your most common buyer scenarios – copy them exactly from an existing client, if you need. Start with the buyer’s situation as your pillar foundation, and expand from there.

Last Word on Updating Your Content Marketing Plans 

Even in the buttoned-up industrial sector, today’s internet is noisier than ever. Your content marketing strategy of producing a set number of monthly posts is a great start, but it’s not enough to help you reach the top of your field regarding content. To truly reach your intended audience, your content has to focus on their needs and meet them on the platforms they’re already comfortable with.

Are you interested in expert advice on improving your content marketing plan or developing a new one? Our team at FunnelEnvy is ready to help. Just click here to fill out a short quiz so we can learn more about how we might be able to help take your content game – and other elements of your digital marketing – to the next level.