TikTok is taking over, Snapchat is posting great numbers for publishers, and video content is (in general) getting shorter and shorter.
In contrast, B2B publications across the board are struggling to keep up with new digital advertising trends.
Compounding the difficulty to stay abreast with digital content is the reality that consumers have access to virtually limitless, personalized content.
The New Norm: All the Content, All the Time
“Whether it is via iPad, smartphone, Alexa, YouTube, Netflix or Google (voice search, of course, because to a six-year-old typing just takes way too long), among others, access to content is now ubiquitous and each interaction is expected to provide almost instant gratification,” writes Pete Marshall, Head of English Language Content at Stats Perform.
In an ironic turn that proves his point, Marshall is a sports journalist, published on a sports media site, writing about B2B content.
Any publisher or brand — dealing in anything from sports data to agricultural industry standards — faces the same problem. In the age of on-demand, 24/7 content supply, how can they reach their audiences in a simultaneously cost efficient and authentic way?
In March of this year, over 4.4 million blog posts were published every single day. And that doesn’t include more social forms of content like Tweets, YouTube videos, LinkedIn posts and more.
Clearly, B2B publishers need to do something different to stand out.
Marshall concludes: “For editors, not least those who work in a B2B environment, it is a challenge that keeps us up at night: how to meet the demands of producing low-cost, quick-fire storytelling that gives clients the depth they need and the engagement they want.”
The B2B Alternative: Depth Over Speed
In a previous post, we covered how many consumer-focused publishers are seeing huge gains on social media as they invest in tailored content, posted daily. While B2B publishers may be unable to keep up with Whistle or Group Nine on platforms like Snapchat (per the previous piece), they may excel with more intentional digital content.
But, again: how?
It’s not about speed or even breadth — it’s about depth. CMO reports that 98 percent of B2B brands recognize that content performs and, as a result, they see the need to improve their content marketing in the next year. They’re looking to invest in content, not necessarily run the same game with digital display and search ads.
One answer, according to Sovrn Holdings’ VP of Publisher Growth Keith Abbey, is to invest in a core audience with niche content. “Meet your audience where they are and give them what they didn’t realize they needed,” writes Abbey. “At one time in the not-so-distant past, finding content online was a new and shiny toy for readers. Today, publishers are looking for the next opportunity to resonate with users. They want to connect with a wider audience through new verticals and build rich content that appeals to niche audiences.”
In other words, it’s critical for B2B publishers to get a holistic picture of the B2B advertising market. How are brands meeting this new drive for in-depth, niche content? And what can you do to to meet them where they are?
As we’ve mentioned before, consider looking at alternative forms of content and engagement. Events marketing, branded podcasts (and in-show ads) and native advertising are all on the rise for B2B, supporting both long term advertiser relationships and playing to audience interest.
By way of sterling example: Gimlet Creative. “This is a creative agency that has developed relationships with, built advertising experiences for (both branded podcasts and in-episode spots), and extracted a ton of money from an array of attractive advertisers,” writes Nicholas Quah at Nieman Lab.
Other, more B2B-focused, examples abound. Publishing Executive offers Webinar sponsorships. Quartz specializes in native ads. BNP Media — which owns Architectural Record, Engineering News-Record and other niche publications — offers event sponsorships across a host of verticals.
Long story short: instead of trying to keep up with the proverbial Joneses of digital advertising, consider taking steps to supporting B2B brands go further with their content.