B2B Content Marketing Outlook For 2021

b2b content marketing outlook industry changes

A fellow marketing associate was asking about my predictions for B2B content marketing in 2021. I have no idea what to predict specifically for marketing content 2021 - and neither does anyone else, if we’re honest. So little about the world is predictable right now beyond the B2B business basics. But I can tell you what’s happening now and how I’m interpreting the data I have right now. The recent survey we gave out was asking what your challenges are going into 2021. The top challenge of B2B content marketers? Screen fatigue. 

No one wants more podcasts, more videos, more livestreams, more time on their devices. Literally no one - even though for the first six months of 2021 as the fallout continues and hopefully fades away. And that will continue to be the way we communicate with others the majority of the time into Q3 and Q4 of 2021. I actually find it somewhat ironic that people responded that screen fatigue was a problem and then immediately had “getting audiences to pay attention to all our new content” as the next challenge. So all the marketers who pivoted in 2020 to making podcasts, videos, livestreams, webinars, email newsletters, and more blog posts are facing substantially diminished audience interest. 

We as B2B content marketers adapted to the new reality and in doing so, flooded the world with content at the same time everyone else flooded the world. Given a choice between my livestream and The Mandalorian, where will you invest your time? The only reason you watch at all is because you can’t binge watch your favorite shows at work and still call it work. Heck, given a choice between my livestream and The Mandalorian, I might watch The Mandalorian. 

So what do our audiences want? Faster content. I was talking to a friend this week who said they listen to my podcast at 1.5x speed; I already talk fast and then said 2x was too fast. They wanted the information - just faster. Why do people love services like Vine, Tiktok, and Instagram Reels? You know your commitment to any one piece of content will be under 10 seconds. How do we make content faster? For anything audio or video, provide transcripts. Folks can read up to 400 words per minute; we speak at roughly 150 words per minute. The audience can consume our content 2.67 times faster with a transcript. 

The cliche “a meeting that could have been an email” applies even more today for B2B marketers, to every format. Do you need a livestream? Do you need a podcast? Do you need a YouTube channel? Or could you convey the same information in an email newsletter? Some things, like screencast tutorials, absolutely require video. Other things, like a talking head? That content can just be an email or a blog post. 

Knock out the fat with your content marketing in 2021. We all know and despise those cooking recipes online where you have to scroll through 44 pages about the author’s life history, how their grandmother was a homesteader, the can of possum stew they ate as a kid that gave them their inspiration, and so on before we actually get to what we came for - the recipe. People have written Chrome browser extensions explicitly to trim out all the filler text and just get to the recipe. 

When people write software to bypass your content, it’s too long. Ask yourself this question relative to your content marketing campaigns going into 2021. When attention is scarce and at a premium, how can you make your B2B content as fast as possible? You must be consistent, innovative, and add value at all times while scaling content with repurposing, rewriting, and updating!

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