How Print Publications Impact B2B Content Marketing Development

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December 16, 2014: Earlier this month, MarketingSherpa’s chart of the week covered survey results on the types of content sources B2B marketers trust most, as they pertained to the quality of the source publishing third-party contributed content. For those of us working specifically in the online component of content marketing, the results might be surprising, and are certainly worth noticing.

Chart: What Content Sources Do Customers Trust?

Q. What do you think is generally higher quality?

What content sources do customers trust?



Articles found in printed publications ranked higher in perceived quality than those generated online. Even print-based advertorials, where the intent should clearly be understood as promotion, were considered of higher quality (at least by those surveyed), than all but one of the four forms of digital publication choices offered.

Key Takeaways for B2B SEO Professionals

As the MarketingSherpa article infers, B2B buyers’ review of vendor information extends beyond online research. Print publications play an important role in validating vendor trustworthiness and potential capability. But B2B SEOs can leverage this realization to make more informed online marketing decisions.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  1. Connect with PR-Based Media Relations Initiatives
    We have often written about the connection between PR and SEO teams, particularly as it pertains to link building development. These findings provide further validation but, in this case, SEO teams can look for opportunities to support classic PR outreach objectives as well. With more in-depth collaboration, media relations insight provides direction for link building targets in key publications, social media connections that might prove valuable in the pitch, and new publication opportunities based on related topics and search queries (example).
  2. Search for Editorial Calendar Opportunity
    Another simple method to leverage search marketer experience involves uncovering editorial calendar information in third-party publisher research. Not only might the direct results aid PR teams but editorial calendar scheduling can help guide keyword research and topic generation as well. Here are a few queries to get you started:

    Cision offers a free global database of upcoming media opportunities with EdCals. Just note that after 3 searches, you will be asked to create a free profile to use this tool.

  3. Understand Breadth of Advertising Potential
    Finally, SEO professionals should consider the breadth of exposure link building initiatives might receive, particularly when commercial relationships might be required. Make sure to review a publisher’s press or media kit to determine opportunities for increased brand exposure. While media kits are typically found in the “Advertise” or “Contact” section of a website, you can also use similar queries as those defined above (for uncovering editorial calendars).


Final Thoughts

The only caveat to consider in this data involves the age demographic for the 500+ respondents. For example, if feedback specific to print publication preference skewed more heavily to the older range of respondents, it might make sense to consider age demographic of your specific buying audience, and how that could relate.

Regardless, the proactive SEO professional realizes that as Google in particular continues to weigh impact to the most trusted sources and user preferences, any direction we can realize towards those ends is important. What are your thoughts on this survey? We would love to read your perspective in the comments below.

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