B2B brands in all industries are utilizing online marketing as part of their online lead and demand generation strategies. A recent Content Marketing Institute study found that over the last three years a staggering 86% to 93% of business to business brands are currently deploying content marketing.

Unfortunately, their results vary greatly. Only about one-third said “their use of content marketing is effective”, while a disappointing 44% were neutral on the question of effectiveness, which depicts a clear lack of direction that should be addressed. Considering that 76% of these same B2B marketers say that they “expect to produce more content” over last year’s volumes, brands should first address shortcomings in strategy, channels and goals before adding even more resources to the mix.

B2B Content Marketing Experience Can’t Be Ignored

Only about half of B2B marketers even have a content marketing strategy and 20% had none or were unsure is they had a documented strategy at all. With a mere 32% stating that their content marketing maturity level is at “sophisticated -or mature”, organizations need to emphasize the right resources and talent if they expect to improve results and compete against more mature content marketers in their space.

Without an effective strategy and one that is documented and followed, brands should expect less than exciting results from their content marketing efforts. There is a significant amount of content that is fighting for your busy audience, so mature strategies, consistency and experienced execution should be deployed to overcome the substantial obstacles to gain results.

Content Distribution Channels Matter

One of the mistakes less mature organizations make is to deploy content marketing without first establishing distribution channels that work. If you are going to expend the substantial resources to generate great content, but lack the mature channels to get it in front of your target audience, it becomes expensive. This method will require that your organization invest more heavily in paid media and other expensive channels.

Brands should take a holistic, multi-channel approach to their content marketing that includes social media, email, employee and influencer marketing. In fact, social media is the most used distribution channel by B2B marketers at 93%. Therefore SaaS and other business to business organizations should be building these channels early and establishing audiences that are all too happy to consume and share the blog, research, graphic and video content they create.

The 4 Most Effective Social Sites For Distributing B2B Content

When it comes to the effectiveness of social networking sites for content marketing distribution, there are clear winners. The CMI study showed the following platforms performed best for B2B content distribution.

LinkedIn – The most effective social platform for B2B’s doing content marketing was LinkedIn. It is used by 94% of the brands and is ranked at 66% effectiveness.

Twitter – Coming in second is Twitter with a 55% effectiveness ranking. Twitter is currently used by 87% of respondents.

YouTube – YouTube’s effectiveness rank was 51% , while 74% of content marketers are distributing content via the video platform.

SlideShare – While 37% of content marketers are using SlideShare, it received a 41% on effectiveness.

Though these are the most effective social networks for content marketers, there are several others that don’t even rank. Sites like Periscope, Medium, Vine, Tumblr and Snapchat are seen as the least effective social platforms in the B2B content marketing space.

The data is pretty clear, content marketing is here to stay for B2B marketers. Even 81% of those that are least effective at content marketing plan to produce more of it over the next year. This trend will require that organizations place an emphasis on effectiveness through strategy, and multi-channel distribution improvements. To do this, brands are going to need to make adjustments to resources, acquire talent and/or hire experienced agencies and consultants to obtain the maturity needed to succeed.