The Covid-19 pandemic has forever altered the way business-to-business magazines operate. The face of business has changed, and that’s had a direct impact on the B2B publishing trends we’re seeing today.
Business executives had to adjust to working from home during the pandemic, and that led to a sharp uptick in pageviews and engagement for many B2B magazines. Top publishers took this opportunity and capitalized on it, as they worked throughout the year to develop more meaningful content that would connect them directly to their audience.
Industry leaders have some differing views on how the pandemic will shape B2B publishing trends in 2021 and beyond. However, there are some trends that almost everyone can agree on, and those are the B2B publishing trends we’re going to focus on today.
Top B2B Publishing Trends in 2021
1. Demand for Content
The time people spent online shot up during the pandemic. This was true across the board, but particularly among business executives who shifted from working at offices to working from home. The pandemic forced these business leaders into new lifestyle patterns, and in many cases mobile and desktop devices became people’s only connection to the outside world. The increased reliance on digital technology has increased the demand for online information.
Just because we’ve entered a new year doesn’t mean that demand will instantly decrease in 2021. Company email chains and Slack channels have evolved over the past year, and professionals are more comfortable using newer communication channels and platforms. They’re also more willing to get their news from emerging sources, including digital publications.
With more time at home, people had the time to explore types of content they hadn’t dug into before. Longform journalism, for example, is a form of content that’s seen substantial growth. The growing appetite for podcasts is another example of this, which we’ll dig into further later in this article.
2. Bespoke Content
What is bespoke content? It’s content that’s made for a particular reader or user. Automated marketing platforms and more advanced content management systems (CMS) have made it possible for publishers to go beyond personalized subject lines, as they look for even more opportunities to customize their interactions with readers.
The key to developing the kind of bespoke content that drives engagement is to maintain consistent messaging across all channels. So a message that’s personalized with the recipient’s name, or a newsletter that’s personalized with article suggestions based on the reader’s interests, still maintains branding elements that are consistent with the publisher’s other products.
3. Live Streaming on the Rise
One area that saw particular growth in 2020 was live content. As business professionals spent more time online, there was significant uptick in the amount of live streaming taking place within B2B communities. We’re not just talking about Zoom here. We’re talking about virtual courses, webinars, and other programming produced by top B2B publishers. Lots of publishers capitalized on the trend by expanding their live streaming programming. That push is expected to continue into the coming year.
As we look into the rest of 2021, more B2B publishers will likely be adding live streaming and podcasting to their portfolios. These are areas that are still packed with potential.
4. B2B Publishers Go Niche
In the past, we saw publishers go broad in their approach to covering the B2B community. One of the B2B publishing trends coming down the pipeline in 2021 is a greater focus on niche.
Where does the publication fit within the B2B community? Publishers who haven’t been afraid to show off their expertise in a certain area are being rewarded for their efforts in the form of greater audience engagement and advertiser interest. B2B publishers who focus on one or two niche areas are more likely to be seen as specialists or experts in the areas they cover.
Not all content is going to appeal to every reader. That’s OK. Having mass appeal is no longer necessary for business growth. Niche publications with granular interests are having just as much success with a tailored approach.
5. Experimentation with Distribution
B2B publishers are experimenting and trying new formats on different platforms and channels. For example, some publishers are pulling video content from its native channel and using it on other channels. YouTube videos are being republished on Facebook, or on the publisher’s own website.
That kind of fluidity is necessary for anyone who wants to keep up with the latest B2B publishing trends. Audiences are becoming less interested in categorizing content, or categorizing who is consuming content, and more interested in developing the highest quality content possible.
To learn even more about the ways that Web Publisher PRO is helping B2B publishers grow their businesses, reach out to our team of dedicated specialists.