In 2024, B2B content marketing needs a human touch

Last updated: 9th January 2024

As technology keeps transforming the B2B content marketing landscape, one question comes to mind: does our audience actually want this transformation? As 2024 begins, it’s clear that B2B marketers are at a turning point. We’ve gotten used to adapting to new tech trends – from new social media platforms to AI content generators. But have we inadvertently neglected a very fundamental part of our jobs: our audience? Yes, it seems that people want to hear from people, and crave authentic content that fosters meaningful conversations.

2024 content marketing trends are really thought-provoking. AI is here to stay, but as an assistant to, rather than a replacement for, content writers. During 2023, AI content generators have proven to be helpful to enhance productivity, spark news ideas and overcome writer’s block. At the same time, it’s become clear that, in the midst of this race to automate and optimise, our readers long for meaningful engagement, fresh and original insights from thought-leaders, and stories that bring stats and figures to life.

So, which trends is this crave for authenticity triggering?

The evolution of content AI

At the beginning of 2023, we were getting acquainted with generative AI for content creation. After the release of ChatGPT at the end of 2022, while most people were enjoying using it to write lighthearted limericks and polish their CVs, many of us content writers were not as excited. I remember the first time I tried it: my first impression was that, although not perfect, the results were worryingly good.

In fact, one of our content writers asked if our role would “become obsolete”. Luckily, her conclusion seems to be accurate: “not quite”. “While AI can write simple text with the right grammar and a coherent structure”, she wrote, “there are crucial aspects of content writing that only a human can handle”

In 2023 we have begun to experiment with generative AI from a different angle, as an assistant for brainstorming rather than as a threat. And according to Kantar’s Media Reactions 2023, the reactions are positive. 

This seems to be the right direction to take. Content marketers need a basic knowledge of how to use AI-based tools. Only by keeping up with evolving technology will we be able to use it to our advantage and leverage it to enhance our creative development processes.

A yearning for authenticity

Many copywriters were hoping that AI would, by contrast, highlight the value of the human touch. This is partly what happened, and in 2024 B2B marketers will need to keep in mind their audience’s desire to establish meaningful human connections. That means brands will need to be more relatable and transparent, and communicate in a way that really resonates with their audience.

It will also be important to inject new life into our B2B campaigns by using storytelling to make facts and figures come alive. In October 2023, the Pod content and PR team attended CopyCon 2023 – an exciting annual event for content writers. One of the speakers, data storyteller Sam Knowles, discussed the importance of telling the story behind the numbers, highlighting why combining a powerful story with reliable data is a winning strategy. 

We couldn’t have heard this at a better time. B2B content marketers have long been focused on figures and data, but data can reveal interesting stories, and it’s our job to write them down to provide our clients with more engaging and meaningful content. 

Aligning values

It’s no secret that consumers prefer to support brands that embody their personal values. And thanks to the popularity of social media, they now have a variety of platforms to voice their opinion, enabling them to hold businesses accountable for ensuring their stated values align with their actions.

Therefore, in 2024 it will be even more important for businesses to stay attuned to cultural shifts and align with their audiences’ demands. It will be crucial to take a position on issues that matter to their brand, but without compromising their own internal values. It can be a tricky balance to find, which is why working with experienced PR and content strategists may help. 

The rise of B2B influencers

The latest figures on influencer marketing are quite astonishing. Influencer Marketing Hub’s State of Influencer Marketing 2023 benchmark report shows that 67% of respondents intended to invest more on influencers last year, and 23% of them planned to increase their spend by as much as 40%. Also, the 2023 B2B Influencer Marketing Report reveals 85% of B2B marketers incorporated influencers into their campaigns last year – an increase by 34% from 2020.

We’re not talking about incremental increases here – these figures are quite striking. In 2024 we can expect this trend to continue, but B2B marketers will need to be cautious, as influencers come with their own brand and set of values, which need to match the organisation’s agenda and priorities.

The power of human connections

2024 is bound to be an interesting year for B2B content writers. We now have more experience in navigating the tech challenges of the previous years, which is why we can now focus on getting the right balance between human touch and automation. We have powerful tools to help us be more productive and come up with new ideas – we now need to use them in the right way to help B2B brands sound more human and authentic. 

As a content writer, this is exciting. It’s fascinating to see how the emergence of new technologies impacts our work, but maybe it’s time to reel in the machines a little and revisit the foundation of our craft: creating human connections. This is what many of us were hoping for, and it looks like businesses and their clients agree.

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