What do top-performing B2B content marketers have in common?

Robin Emiliani  /  Jan 06, 2021

In September, the Content Marketing Institute published its annual B2B content marketing survey.

And if you know us, you know we love data. So, it won’t surprise you to know that we dove into the numbers.

We wanted to know: How is B2B content marketing going this year? What makes for top-performing B2B content? What leads to content marketing success? How did things change with COVID-19? And what can we learn from all this data?

If you haven’t read their findings, we suggest taking a look. And if you want some analysis, here are our top 5 takeaways about what top-performing B2B content marketers have in common:

  1. They have a documented content strategy

60% of the most successful content marketers said they had a documented content strategy, compared to just 22% of the least successful.

Interesting? Yep. Surprising? Not even a little. In our experience, strategy trumps anything else you can do as a marketer. It’s the most important thing we do for our clients.

  1. They use editorial calendars

Successful content marketers are 30% more likely to use an editorial calendar than their unsuccessful counterparts.

This is yet another win for strategy, which often includes editorial strategy (which, in turn, feeds into a documented editorial calendar). The big benefits here? Editorial calendars help you meet user expectations, align content efforts across teams, avoid duplicating efforts across the organization, and otherwise stay organized and in the loop on everything your organization is doing content-wise.

  1. They care about metrics

The top content marketers in the survey were 44% more likely to use metrics to measure content performance when compared to their least successful colleagues. Which makes perfect sense. After all, how can you improve over time if you don’t know what’s working (and what isn’t)?

  1. They’re flexible

93% of top performers made quick changes when the pandemic hit. 94% described their changes as effective.

The main changes they made ranged from shifting their targeting and messaging strategy (70% of respondents) to adjusting editorial calendars (64%) to switching up their content distribution and promotion strategies (53%). It’s worth noting that the top priorities, yet again, all fall under the heading of strategy.

  1. They use content marketing to create brand awareness

There are a lot of reasons companies invest in content marketing. To build trust. Educate their audiences. Generate leads. Nurture loyalty.

And, of course, to create brand awareness.

This year’s research tells us that this was the number one goal that successful content marketers achieved in 2020 (followed by building trust and educating audiences).

A hopeful outlook for 2021

Pandemic or no pandemic, 2020 was a good year for content marketers. In fact, it might surprise you to learn that 31% of content marketers ranked their companies as extremely or very successful in 2020. That’s 5% more than the same survey in 2019.

We think this bodes well for the year to come. Content marketing isn’t going anywhere. No matter how chaotic the world is (or hopefully isn’t), it’s a powerhouse tactic for building your business.

Need some content marketing help?

49% of survey respondents said they outsource some of their content needs. If this is you and you need some expert content help (whether on the strategy, creation, or governance side of things), we’d love to chat.


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