Content marketing works. Almost three fifths (56%) of the 175 B2B marketers Circle Research recently surveyed for B2B Marketing Magazine’s Content Marketing Report have seen content marketing boost sales (most of the remainder simply don’t know the impact as measuring ROI is tough).

So maybe you already have a content strategy, but want to know what your peers are doing. Or perhaps you’re developing a content strategy and want some pointers. Either way, the survey results provide valuable guidance.

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Focus on quality not quantity. Those at the coal-face of content marketing have found that the most successful campaigns have three common features: the target market finds the content relevant, interesting and useful.

Balance substance with accessibility. B2B marketers also find four content formats most effective. Two of these – white papers and case studies – are similar in that they both explore a subject in depth. In contrast the other two – video and infographics – are ‘lighter’. This suggests that content needs to be tiered and packaged in a variety of ways.

Prioritise personal channels. On average B2B marketers use six channels to distribute content. Most commonly this includes email (94% use), their website (87%), social media (83%), events (71%), their blog (62%) and one-on-one meetings (49%). However, two of these channels are most effective: one-on-one meetings (55% say this is very effective) and events (40%).

Make time. Producing and promoting high quality, valuable content takes time. The average B2B organisation spends more than one third (37%) of its marketing time on content.

Don’t forget the leads. When asked which objectives content marketing best supports, B2B marketers say ‘brand positioning’ (84%) and ‘demand generation’ (70%). Realising the latter benefit isn’t straightforward though. One half of B2B marketers have found a way to translate content consumption into leads (50% regularly capture leads), but one half haven’t.

The full report is available from B2B Marketing here. You may also want to check out a few ‘Best Content Marketing’ case studies from the 2012 B2B Marketing Awards. They make interesting reading – Santa Fe’s approach led to more than 1,000 high quality one-on-one engagements and Marketing Options International saw an ROI of ROI of over 2,700%.

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