Content marketing is broadening our horizon as marketers. It’s not enough anymore to simply just write. When we write, we have to write for a purpose. But “writing” alone isn’t enough. Why? Because the way people consume content has changed dramatically over the last few years – and it will continue to evolve in 2021.

With these changing times and content-hungry consumers, it’s not easy to keep up. Us marketing folk often have bandwidth constraints and can’t produce as much as we should. So finding other ways to produce quality content that consumers are looking for is key.

Here are 7 B2B content marketing trends to look out for in 2021:

Infographic: B2B Content marketing trends for 2021

Trend #1: Video Content

A whopping 70% of researchers watch some sort of video through their buying journey – and video content marketing is here to stay in 2021.

If you think about it from the buyer’s perspective, they get to watch an informative video that tells them everything they need to know in 2-3 minutes. It certainly beats scrolling through article after article to find the solution they’re looking for.

After all, time is money, folks.

When creating these videos, they don’t necessarily have to be the highest quality. You don’t have to worry about someone giving you a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes with this. The key is, your video should be a little bit better than you walking around and talking into your phone, but not that much better. 

In the old days, you’d have to spend $3,000 or more to make an explainer video every time you wanted to get something across. Now, you can use a ScreenFlow such as Loom to make it easier to get your message across. In many cases, if you’re going to write a blog post or a Linkedin post, it simply makes sense to make a video – because people consume that in great quantity. (Exhibit A: TikTok, which you should not use for B2B marketing).

B2B content marketing trends for 2021

Trend #2: Webinars

Webinars are awesome, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a thousand people showing up at 2 p.m. next Tuesday when you’re running your webinar. The good thing is, the format is increasingly accepted – with 75% of B2B buyers having consumed webinars in 2019. Not too shabby, and a clear indicator of a B2B content marketing trend for 2021.

Webinars are intensely useful, and if you have a talented salesperson talking through a slide deck during a webinar, you’re golden.

Trend #3: Podcasts

What is a podcast but a conversation?

Just like we mentioned with videos, audio content doesn’t have to be highly produced. As long as you have something to say, you can do this. You don’t have to edit your podcast heavily, and these usually result in hours instead of days of work. It’s the difference between spending dozens of dollars instead of thousands. Definitely worth the time. 

It’s  even easy to put your podcast up on podcast networks – often for free. How can you say no to that?

Those are three things that, frankly, you’re kind of already doing when you’re on a conference call.

  • Every conference call is a video.
  • Every sales call is a webinar.
  • Every good conversation is a podcast. 

Y’all can do that stuff real quick. It’s a 2021 content marketing trend for a reason.

You know that large box that shows up after you do a Google search that has the answer to your question? That’s called a featured snippet. It’s an answer box. It’s a coveted position for every company to land on because, well, it’s usually the first thing the users’ eyes fall on.

That type of brand exposure never hurts, but the only way to land a featured snippet is to give Google exactly what they believe their customers are looking for. This could include how-to lists, summary paragraphs, and even an information table that Google could pull and show in the featured snippet. 

At the end of the day, Google exists to answer people’s questions. If you answer the question best, you get to be in the trophy box.

So don’t sleep on your SEO and content production. Make your content as clear as possible, and be sure to structure it in a logical way.

Trend #5: User-Generated Content

This may not necessarily be something you have now, but we live in a world of content producers. Every 15 year old is a content producer. Every one of your buyers is kind of a content producer. People are used to creating things – which is where user-generated content comes in.

You don’t have to do it yourself as long as you offer an incentive for users to create something on their own. Now, we’re not saying it has to be the guy on the skateboard with the Ocean Spray juice, but it should be someone that makes sense for you. 

Whether it’s reviews and testimonials or some photos and a hashtag, if you give people the means, they are willing to create content for you. Just like with videos, webinars and podcasts, this is a content marketing strategy that can surely expand your bandwidth.

Trend #6: Focus on Search Intent

Search intent is what folks want to find when they Google something. So you have to think about that when looking at your B2B content marketing for 2021. Search what terms you’re looking to rank for and see what shows up – you’ve got to match that. 

As we know, Google increasingly wants to show information without people having to constantly click – that includes how-to lists, creating a summary of your argument high up on your landing page and even putting a table of critical information high up on your page. All of these things might get you a position on Google a lot better than you would otherwise. 

And keep you one rank ahead of the competition.

Trend #7: Partner Operations

This answers the No. 1 question: Why? 

Why are you creating this content? It’s for cross-promotion and relationship building.

Every tech company now has a partner team tasked with creating sales channels and relationships throughout the industry. Even the largest of companies, from Zapier to Unbounce, are willing to work with you to help get their name out – that’s literally their job.

They will shock you in terms of the openness they have to work with you and the introductions they bring to you. Plus, they’re willing to help you create content. At the end of the day, they are looking to get their name out there. And you’re their key to making that happen.

Moral of the story is: Build partners and build relationships – because they’re willing to promote you.

And promotion means exposure. Which means more leads. Which means more moolah.

It’s a win-win. And that means it’s a great content marketing trend.

tldr;

Times are changing — and so should your B2B content marketing strategy for 2021. If you’re looking to change the way you do content in the new year, here are the 7 trends you should keep in mind:

  1. Video content
  2. Webinars
  3. Podcasts
  4. Featured snippets
  5. User-generated content
  6. Search intent
  7. Partner operations

If you can do these and do them well, you’ll be rolling into 2021 with enough quality content to feed your hungry customers — and your bank account, too.