Most B2B buyers (44%) consume three to five pieces of content before they engage with a salesperson, and 10% consume more than seven assets. Encouraging them to share your content with peers in the buying committee can speed them along the path to purchase.
If you’re looking to boost your share of the content your target audience is sharing, there are a few results from the 2021 Content Preferences Survey Report from Demand Gen Report that can help you move the needle.
What the Data Says
It’s no surprise that digital channels took an even greater leap forward in a year of lockdowns. B2B audiences spent a great deal of time reading—and sharing—digital marketing content. In a world where buying committees are more common and more expansive, shared content can play a valuable role in nudging decision-makers toward a purchase decision.
Survey respondents emphasized the importance of content that’s easy and seamless to share via email, social media and internal collaboration platforms.
Give Buyers What They Want
Of course, first you need to make sure it’s content they want to share. Of respondents, 52% say they share content that tells a strong story and resonates with the buying committee. So make sure your content is buyer-focused and tells decision-makers what they want to know. And whenever possible, pack that content with shareable stats and quick hitting-insights—that’s what 44% of respondents say makes content worth sharing.
Credibility is also key. A majority of respondents (67%) want branded content directly from vendors, 63% trust content that’s co-branded and sponsored by one or more vendors, and 61% say content that’s sponsored by a vendor and authored by a third-party publication is credible.
That suggests that B2B audiences will welcome research reports, studies and survey-based content, as well as influencer assets that tell a strong story. In fact, 43% of respondents say they’ll share research and survey reports. Other popular formats include:
- White papers (41%)
- Case studies (37%)
- E-books (37%)
- Infographics (42%)
Your intuition may tell you that shorter content is more shareable, but survey respondents pegged long-form and interactive content as the formats they share the most. Consider creating the best of both worlds by publish longer-form assets that you can also promote with smaller excerpts in the form of blog posts, social media posts and short infographics that can perform as teasers and link to the longer, more comprehensive version.
Interactivity does more than capture attention with eye-catching animations. Smart content developers build assets to invite users down a path that tells a story. Research reports, for example, can appear dense and intimidating in static formats. But interactive platforms allow you keep pages shorter and cleaner with sidebars and rabbit holes that make it easier for readers to find just the sections they really care about while still including all the meat of a dense asset.
Once you’ve created an asset your customers and prospects want to share, you can focus on making it easier to share. The study found that 45% of them will do so if you incorporate relevant, shareable links for instant sharing.
And of course you want to consider the channels where they’re spending their time. Respondents to DGR’s survey, that means they’re sharing the most content via:
- LinkedIn (71%)
- Email (66%)
- Twitter (43%)
- Facebook (43%)
- Internal collaboration platforms such as Slack, Trello, etc. (40%)
Optimize your assets to accommodate these key platforms to encourage reading and sharing. Keep in mind that target audiences in some industries may have slightly different preferences. It pays to know your personas and keep their needs and habits front and center.
Some content consumption habits are likely to evolve as buyers emerge from lockdowns and face-to-face events resume, but these guidelines for getting them to share your content will probably continue to follow similar patterns. Continue to prioritize quality content in their favorite content formats and optimized for their favorite social media channels.
You can take a deeper dive into the Content Preferences Study to learn more about B2B buyer content preferences.
Read 4 Ways the Pandemic Changed B2B Marketing for a look at how content marketing has evolved in the past year, and what you can do to adapt.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.