2012: A year of change for B2B copywriters


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What has, during 2012, changed for B2B copywriters? Check out this presentation to find out. Find our kinetic typography video - as mentioned in this SlideCast - here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LnbXy3OrnU

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  • Hello and welcome to this presentation from Radix Communications. I’m Emily, and I’m research and marketing executive here at Radix. Today I’m going to be discussing what has, during 2012, changed for B2B copywriters.
  • Just a little about Radix first – we write content for lots of top B2B technology brands – both directly and working with marketing agencies. Brands like Canonical, Marketo and Oracle. So, pleased to meet you.
  • Okay, I’ll be charting how things started for B2B copywriting in 2012 and then look at 5 trends that Radix saw emerge during the year, plus predictions for what we think will happen in 2013. We’ve also got some B2B content and marketing experts to provide their insights on these matters.
  • The beginning of 2012 saw our clients after four main types of content – eBooks, white papers, eNewsletters and case studies. Certainly four well established forms of content.
  • And in general they are popular across the B2B content marketing spectrum, with research showing that case studies and white papers are still seen as effective marketing tactics.
  • But as you will see, there has been a lot of change in 2012.
  • The first trend we’ve noticed is that content formats have begun to fragment, which is also shown in research that has found that content marketers have gone from using 8 different tactics in 2011 to 12 in 2012.
  • But of those tactics, it appears that it was a wide pool that B2B marketers were drawing upon. Survey data from CMI and Marketing Profs showed that the five favoured tactics were:Social media, not including blogs – 87%Articles on company websites – 83%eNewsletters – 78%Blogs – 77%Case studies – 71%
  • The tactics used by our clients were also wide ranging, as can be seen in this graph. Blog posts, social media, infographics, eNewsletters and case studies have been our most requested content formats.
  • But as you can see, on the whole, the content produced by Radix does fit in with some of the trends found in the CMI/MarketingProfs data, but case studies weren’t anywhere near as popular.
  • The next trend we’ve noticed is that more and more brands are now planning for complete, orchestrated programmes of content. No longer are they producing a lone white paper, for instance, in the hope of driving sales. It’s now content that spans entire campaigns, content that is specifically mapped to different buying stages.
  • Here are some examples of programmes that Radix has produced content for. Overall, the content included in programmes such as these hasn’t been just eBooks or white papers, but have included videos and blog posts.
  • These campaigns have often focused on a thought leadership approach.
  • As Fiona Campbell-Howes, of Radix, has pointed out - a part of this trend is the variety of formats that thought leadership is now turning up in. And these are accessible formats that allow for brands’ expertise to engage audiences and enable them to interact with the content.
  • Elsewhere, Hazel Butters of Prompt Communications sees the integration of thought leadership into a campaign as something that will allow for a wider audience to be reached.
  • And with so much B2B marketing content being produced, it’s fantastic that at least 41% of brands are using a digital system to keep track of leads. But emedia’s research found some worrying trends when it comes to monitoring lead nurturing through scoring, which can greatly affect the success of marketing programmes, especially content heavy ones centred around thought leadership.
  • 60% of respondents in emedia’s survey are not scoring leads. Without lead scoring it means that effective tracking for sales readiness is not possible, this means there’s a high chance that marketing teams will be handing over leads to their sales teams who are not in fact ready to buy. And most importantly for Radix – this means that people may not know which aspects of their content campaigns are bringing in the leads that they need. That means we lack data that could help us improve the content we create.
  • 2012 was certainly the year that content marketers could no longer ignore mobile, due to the surge in popularity of smartphones and tablets. Sure, RIM’s Blackberry line had been in C-level pockets for some time, but tablets have been introducing a whole new ball game.
  • As Matt Godfrey, of Radix, observes, content needs to stand out and look good on a small screen. Content also has to stand-up against a huge cabal of other updates and messages that occupy a person’s time.
  • The prevalence of mobile has meant that we’ve had to increase our efforts to ensure that the first thing the reader sees is as compelling as possible, which is especially important in LinkedIn and Facebook posts. Meanwhile, eBooks and infographics, increasingly, need to look good on tablets.
  • 2012 is definitely the year that B2B content marketers seized upon the potential of graphical content, with a 15% increase in how many now see it as “the most effective content format”, at 43%. Infographics have heavily led in this area and some of our favourites from 2012 include…
  • This one from ABC copywriting we, as copywriters, appreciated, because this infographic explains what we do and has some great advice for anyone who wants to write good marketing copy. We also noticed that it’s pretty long and quite text-heavy, which befits its subject matter, but also makes us think that infographic and ebook formats might start to converge in 2013.
  • Another one was the Macro Connections graphic that ranked the twenty most influential people born before 1950, based on data from Wikipedia. Parameters to calculate this included “the number of language editions in which that person has a page, and the number of people known to speak those languages (L/BN).”
  • The home page of Smart Power Generation’s website is an interactive infographic, the statistics and graphs change as you scroll down the page.
  • But how has the shift in visual content affected Radix? As Matt observes: less lengthy opinion pieces.
  • However, one of the most noticeable changes, for us, was what happened with infographics. We went from producing no copy for infographics to infographics making up over 20% of our monthly content work.
  • As Andy Walker of Rame Marketing explains, “Marketers are beginning to understand that it’s a busy world out there, and attention spans are getting shorter”.
  • This year saw Radix experiment with creating our own visual content for the first time. We produced an experimental, kinetic typography video, which you’ll be able to watch after this slide.
  • Organisations have had over a year to adjust to the changes that the Panda update brought to Google’s search and ranking algorithms. More than ever, content needs to be of a high quality and fresh, and definitely not stuffed to bursting with keywords. But there are still plenty out there who have ignored the best practices that the update was meant to usher in, as you will soon see.
  • Fiona has noted that there’s definitely been a noticeable shift from outbound to inbound marketing this past year for Radix clients. Updates to Google’s algorithm have created a demand for content that is naturally informative and packed with high quality information.
  • This means content is not to be rushed, as Stephen Croome has previously noted on the Econsultancy blog.
  • And despite Google’s continued efforts to improve the quality of content it serves up – there are still organisations after copywriting like this.
  • So what do we think will be happening in 2013?
  • There’s a chance, if those earlier figures on lead scoring are anything to go by, that marketers may not be measuring the performance of the content they publish. Like Fiona points out: “How can you know what’s working if you don’t measure its impact?”
  • Hazel is also of a similar opinion, but is positive that more companies will see the opportunities that metrics can open up for them in 2013.
  • Regardless of metrics, as Matt explains, content needs to be engaging, because if people aren’t sharing, their brand will not be getting out there.
  • Neil Stoneman of Velocity Partners observes that in the coming year, that the best content companies won’t just be focusing on producing great content, but a “content brand” that shows that a company means business.
  • Content marketing will obviously continue to evolve in 2013. We believe the popularity of metrics will improve, meaning all this inbound content is going to be quality led, rather than SEO, as further traditional SEO practices are made irrelevant by Google. It is unlikely that visually led content is going to fizzle out, however we can’t help feeling that the infographic bubble may be about to burst. Or at least, that infographic and ebook formats will start to converge, with infographics getting longer and more text-heavy, but still beautiful to look at. One thing we’re sure of is that video content is likely to gain prominence. With the CMI/MarketingProfs’ research showing a 5% increase in YouTube distribution, by marketers, over the past year – video content could be about to outstrip infographics.
  • Research from EConsultancy and Outbrain had 90% of respondents agree that content marketing will become even more important in 2013. This is great news for copywriting companies like Radix.
  • That’s it for this presentation. Thanks for watching, and please visit the Radix Communications website to discover more about what we do.
  • 2012: A year of change for B2B copywriters

    1. 1. A View from the Copywriting Trenches2012: A YEAR OF CHANGE FOR B2B COPYWRITERS
    2. 2. We’re Radix Communications We write like Basware, marketing Canonical,content for lots Marketo, of top B2B Oracle, Spirent technology and Vodafone brands (pleased to meet you)
    3. 3. Overview• In the beginning of 2012• Fragmentation of content formats• Content programmes• The effect of smartphones and tablets• The rise in visual content• Google Panda’s legacy• Predictions for 2013
    4. 4. At the start of 2012, our clients mainly wanted four things case studies white papers ebooks e-newsletters
    5. 5. These traditional formats are still popular… 73% of 64% of B2B respondents to an marketers believe Optify survey said case studies to be white papers are effective1 an effective marketing tactic212013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks , Budgets and Trends – Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 20122B2B Content Marketing Trends – 2012 Survey Results, via MarketingProfs - Holger Schulze for Optify, 2012
    6. 6. But we’ve also seen lots of changes Let’s talk about the big five
    7. 7. 1. Content formats began to fragment… Overall, B2B content marketers used 12 tactics in 2012, up from 8 in 201133 2013B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks , Budgets and Trends, North America,Content Marketing Institute /Marketing Profs, 2012
    8. 8. 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks , Budgets and Trends, NorthAmerica – Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 2012
    9. 9. 10% 12% 14% 16% 20%0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 18% Blogs 18% Social Media 17% Infographics 14% eNewsletters 11% Case Studies 10% eBooks 9% Datasheets Video Scripts 5% 3% eZines 3% Advertorials 2% Brochures 2% Worksheets 2% 2% White Papers 2% Checklists In 2012 we wrote a huge range of content
    10. 10. These charts are comparing the popularity of comparable tactics from CMI/MarketingProfs respondents (as shown in the previous slide) and the types of content Radix has produced in 2012. Radix Communications 3% 2% 19% 18%CMI MP 11% 13% 11% 14% 12% 7% blog post 10% branded content tools 3% case studies 12% ebooks 11% 9% enewsletters 15% ezines infographics 6% social media video 7% whitepapers 4% 13%
    11. 11. 2. Orchestrated programmes of content These programmesOur clients and are more other brands heavily are now - focused on engaging in buying stages. long, orchestra ted programmes of content.
    12. 12. Ubuntu Insights campaign
    13. 13. Spirent consumer testing campaign
    14. 14. Basware Knowledge Center campaign
    15. 15. Many of thesecampaigns have focused on a thought leadership approach.
    16. 16. Thought leadership is everywhere“Thought leadership used to lurk in white papers and opinion articles. It’s now becoming much more accessible throughvideo, webinars, SlideShares, podcasts, tweetchat s and hundreds of other formats that present knowledge and expertise in an engaging and interactive way.”Fiona Campbell-Howes, MD, Radix Communications
    17. 17. PR and thought leadership “With content marketing integrated to a media relations campaign, vendors can demonstrate their relevance, share their story and showcase what is unique about them in a much more open way, which is great to communicate and engage with all audiences, the press included”Hazel Butters, CEO, Prompt Communications
    18. 18. Keeping an eye on leads – key to content According to one survey, 11% of respondents use an automated lead nurturing programme and 30% use an internal/CRM system
    19. 19. But 60% of the Radix feels that respondents did companies are not use a lead missing an scoring system4 opportunity here4 B2B Lead Generation & Content Marketing Survey 2012, emedia, 2012
    20. 20. 3. Mobile became impossible to ignore Decision-makers are increasingly Content engaging with marketers are brands via having to rethink smartphones the style and and tablets format of their content
    21. 21. “In this world, marketing content now really needs to standout (and look good on a small screen), as it has to compete for attention with a constant and fast-flowing stream of status updates, news, meeting requests, sports scores, dinner invitations, pictures of babies and YouTube videos of cats on skateboards ”Matt Godfrey, Account Director, Radix Communications
    22. 22. For Radix, the adaptation ofcontent to mobile has seen manychanges, including …
    23. 23. Whatever thereader will see And the design first has to be of eBooks and as compelling infographics, in as creasingly, neepossible, meani d to look good ng LinkedIn titles on tablets & the first lines of Facebook posts have to be snappy
    24. 24. 4. Graphical content came to the fore 43% of B2B marketers now see graphical Some of our content as “the favourites from most effective 2012 include… content format”, up from 28% in 201155 B2B Content Marketing Trends – 2012 Survey Results, via MarketingProfs - Holger Schulze for Optify, 2012
    25. 25. The Copywriting Infographic by ABC CopywritingABC Copywriting
    26. 26. History’s most influential people, ranked by Wikipedia reach by Macro Connections, MIT Media LabVia Wired
    27. 27. Smart Power Generation’s websiteSmart Power Generation
    28. 28. How did the increase in visual content affect us? “A big shift to more visual and interactive content, away from lengthy opinion pieces and white papers. Marketers want to make content easier to digest and more engaging, as well as easier to share on social platforms” Matt Godfrey, Account Director, Radix Communications
    29. 29. Here’s just one example… Now, infographicsFrom January to make up over 20% May 2012, we of our monthlywrote copy for 0 content work infographics (That’s around 7 infographics per month)
    30. 30. Why the shift to visual content? “Marketers are beginning to understand that it’s a busy world out there, and attention spans are getting shorter”Andy Walker, Founder, Rame Marketing
    31. 31. We experimented with our own visual content As well as writing video scripts for It taught us a lot clients, we about video created our production first, in-house video
    32. 32. 5. Google Panda’s continuing legacy… High quality, original, wr itten content now ranks higher than low- quality, keyword- stuffed content
    33. 33. Panda’s sustained impact on copywriting “In 2012 we wrote fewer e-newsletters and more blog posts – as the trend shifts away from outbound marketing towards inbound. Google’s Panda Update, which favoured websites with high- quality, original content, may be behind the increase in corporate blogging” Fiona Campbell-Howes, MD, Radix Communications
    34. 34. So there should be more of this…“Time and effort is needed here. Someone in your organisation needs the time andresponsibility to sit down and create great content or manage the creation process via third party writers” Stephen Croome, Econsultancy Blog, February 2012
    35. 35. And maybe less of this… A generous £6.89 per article That’s a lot of articles the sort of thing the Panda frowns upon
    36. 36. What will the trenches look like next year?PREDICTIONS FOR 2013
    37. 37. Where might marketers go wrong in 2013? “Not setting objectives or measuring the performance of individual pieces of content and content marketing campaigns. How can you know what’s working if you don’t measure its impact?” Fiona Campbell-Howes, MD, Radix Communications
    38. 38. To the metrics focused will go the spoils “2013 will also see more companies understanding the breadth of channels open for content marketing and the resulting significance of measurement. This is brilliant thing about content marketing today - you can see what is working, try new things, test audiences and see the response, count the number of leads. If content is king, analytics is queen” Hazel Butters, CEO, Prompt Communications
    39. 39. B2B brands will still need engaging content “Companies that think a blog post a day willboost their search ranking, so that’s all taken care of then, will find they’re left behind by companies that are creating content people actually like and share” Matt Godfrey, Account Director, Radix Communications
    40. 40. Rise of the content brand“Simply producing great content is no longer enough to get it noticed and digested. That’s why the best content companies will be focused on building a content brand. Ultimately it’s a great content brandthat will say to prospects you won’t be wasting your time with our work.”Neil Stoneman, Account Director, Velocity Partners
    41. 41. Looking to 2013Increases in Visual content Content that’s inbound moving shorter and beyond marketing. sweeter. infographics.
    42. 42. Content will gain more ground in 2013 90% of respondents to an eConsultancy survey say content marketing will become even more important in 201366 Content Marketing Survey Report, eConsultancy with Outbrain, 2012
    43. 43. Thanks to our contributorsHazel Butters, Prompt Communications Fiona Campbell-Howes, Radix CommunicationsAndy Walker, Rame Marketing Matt Godfrey, Radix CommunicationsNeil Stoneman, Velocity Partners
    44. 44. Sources2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks , Budgets and Trends, North America –Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 2012B2B Content Marketing Trends – 2012 Survey Results, via MarketingProfs - HolgerSchulze for Optify, 2012B2B Lead Generation & Content Marketing Survey 2012, emedia, 2012Stephen Croome, Econsultancy Blog, 2012Content Marketing Survey Report, eConsultancy with Outbrain, 2012
    45. 45. About usRadix is a copywriting agency for the content marketing era. We work within-house and agency-side marketers to develop programmes of content thatguide customers through every stage of the buying process.We specialise in the B2B technology sector, with expertise in enterprisehardware and software, networking, electronics and industrial automation.In 2012 weve worked with innovative companies large and small, includingAdaptive Planning, AtTask, Canonical, GOSS Interactive, Oracle and Spirent.And weve had the pleasure of working with some of the UKs top B2Bmarketing agencies, including Marketing Options International, Velocity andVolume. Radix Communications