CMI’s Annual B2B Content Marketing Report: insights for 2022

  • December 17, 2021
  • Reading time: 4 min

Never before has the promise of a new year had such high stakes. After nearly two years of toing and froing between life and lockdown, we’re just about – let’s not jinx it – coming out the other side.

And so, it’s totally acceptable to get more than a little bit excited for what 2022 will bring. Hopefully many holidays, buzzing social lives – and crucially, better B2B content.

This year’s Content Marketing Institute (CMI) annual report drills down into benchmarks, budgets, and trends for the coming year. Taking a detailed look back over how the B2B marketing world has adapted during 2021, it’s safe to say content marketing is having a main-character moment. Or, as the CMI put it, ‘the pandemic has awakened a sleeping giant’.

73% of respondents confirmed they have a content marketing strategy. You probably have one yourself. So how have you adapted your strategy over the last couple of years – if at all?

We’ve highlighted three key takeaways from the report you need to know; plus, a sprinkle of OG advice on how you can boost your content strategy for 2022 and beyond.


58% of respondents said their content marketing strategy is different now vs pre-pandemic. More specifically, about half of respondents (51%) agreed that over the last year it had become increasingly difficult to capture audience attention. To combat that, many adjusted the tone of their marketing, with one respondent quoting ‘we increased our empathy toward our audience and found them to be more receptive’.

Switching to a more empathetic TOV is a solid and proven way of connecting with your audience. Although – please – avoid the phrase ‘now, more than ever before…’ (it’s been so overused it sends shivers down any copywriter’s spine).

Another pandemic legacy has been a lack of people on the ground. Among furloughs and freezes, the pandemic has hit resourcing hard. Over the last year, many have been asked to do more with the same resources, increasing stress levels and potentially affecting campaign results.

Two years ago, 71% of respondents from large companies said they outsourced, compared with 61% the previous year. But the figure is back up again, and even higher than two years ago (75% vs. 71%). Ultimately, the companies who had dedicated internal content marketing resources tended to be more successful overall.

OG says…supercharge your strategy

Differentiate your content from the competition. What are your biggest foes and sworn enemies doing? Do something else.

Change the way you write. Go for more empathy and less hard sell. We’ve all had a tough time – in one way or another – and slick salesy chat is just not going to cut it.

Think about your numbers. It’s not one size fits all: outsourcing is a godsend for some, while others rely on a permanent in-house team.


How many Zoom quizzes did you attend during each lockdown? A hundred? A thousand? Too many to recall? (Yes – the trauma lives rent-free in our minds too.) Either way, it’s clear that technology has had a starring role in keeping-communication-going.

The sudden shift from physical to virtual prompted a boom in all kinds of software delights, from social media support to workflow tools. Here at OG for example, our Creative Director Dave implemented real-time platform Miro to facilitate virtual collaboration. ‘I introduced Miro as our virtual creative wall in 2020 to help us move our internal and external workshops online. It’s made a huge difference to the way we work together, review work internally, and brief freelancers. It doesn’t beat the learning curve of sticking things to walls, and takes some onboarding with clients, but it’s been a bit of a game-changer for us.’

The top technologies B2B marketers adopted over the past year were analytics tools (83%), social media publishing/analytics (80%), and email marketing software (75%). Plus, content creation/workflow tools such as Miro were up to 73%, representing a big increase over the previous year (58%).

Although some may argue face-to-face is best, technology enables creative work to continue, no matter what’s going on in the world. Some companies even reported that better international collaboration resulted in an increase in high-value, useful content for customers, and less focus on product feature promotions – something that can only be good news for the world of content marketing.

OG says…find the tech solutions that work for you

Identify key areas that need help. If it’s admin that needs some support, or invoicing needs fine tuning, there’s sure to be a solution out there for you.

Speak to your colleagues. Put off by the initial cost of some new flashy software? Talk to your teams about how it could make their lives easier. If it will result in better work, then that’s your ROI.

Adjust your content. Whether you’ve gone hybrid or are fully remote, it’s time to rethink how tech can help you reach a different audience – like webinars, for example, or live discussions.


Despite various marketing experts claiming that ‘blogs are dead’, they’re still at the top of the content food chain, with 90% of respondents using them in their content strategy.

Next on the list is video (66%), which is not necessarily surprising, but indicates that this is one format you can’t ignore. Among the video formats they used, respondents said webinars/webcasts/web series produced the best content marketing results over the last year (51%).

According to our resident video expert James, ‘video is fast becoming the top marketing format for B2B companies: it works across different channels, can be as strategic or creative as you like, and is much more engaging than its static counterparts’.

Along with a focus on formats, some respondents noted they began producing more social content during the pandemic and distributing it across different channels.

LinkedIn is the organic social media platform that B2B content marketers used the most – and the one they said produced the best results.

Crucially, more than half of all respondents predicted 2022 investment in video, events, owned-media assets, and paid media – so if these are areas you’re yet to explore, it might be time to jump on board.

OG says…explore new options to reach new audiences

Refocus your social efforts. It’s clear LinkedIn should be your number one, but it might be time to ditch Twitter and plough your efforts into #Instagram.

Assign some budget to video. Like most things in life: buy cheap, buy twice. Pump a bit of extra cash into it and you’re more likely to get it right first time. 

Keep on top of SEO. Ensure you’re up to date with the latest rules and regs. To quote the iconic Bruce Lee, your SEO should be formless, shapeless – like water.

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