New Report: Mainstream Media #1 Source Of Content Online Marketers Share

This column originally appeared on on 9/27/2013: In an exclusive to Forbes, online marketing company Leadtail, in conjunction with DNN Software, has provided me with an early look at the new B2B Insights report on Online Marketers the company will issue on Monday, Sept. 30, from I covered Leadtail’s Q2 report on Digital Marketers here.

The new report used Twitter responses to track the preferences and activities of 500 North American Marketers from June 1 through Aug. 31, 2013, over the course of 113,039 tweets, and 70,245 shared links.  The report I previewed shows the following:

  • Among B2B marketers, social media, content marketing, big data, and mobile are the top active and top-of-mind conversation topics they share.
  • While the journalism industry on the whole is suffering, B2B marketers are rabid users of traditional industry press content. They use the material as their primary resource to stay up to date and informed. In fact, 62 percent of the information B2B markers share comes from industry media. Twenty five percent comes from mainstream (online) media. Eleven percent comes from social media. Are you listening, communications professionals? Journalism matters and traditional earned media continues to matter, big time, as the largest and primary channel for reaching these decision makers.
  • B2B marketers engage with vendors as well. Vendors who provide meaningful and relevant information have a distinct advantage and opportunity here—the vendors marketers interact with tend to be an elite and trusted few. This presents both opportunity and challenge for smaller vendors and those who are outside the elite circle who would like to influence the conversation. It can be done, but you will need to be ingenious in providing the level value-add information these marketers would most like to hear.
  • Finally, the best news of all for communicators: B2B marketers actively engage with those they consider to be thought leaders, whether these leaders be individuals or vendors.

The model my agency team (and others like us) holds true: Genuine value-add and meaningful content is the primary and best way to engage audience and drive market traction. Promotional content and traditional SEO promotion is not.

Here’s an interesting comparison of the way these B2B marketers rank industry media in Q3 compared to the results Leadtail reported (and I covered) at the end of Q2. The queried audience is not 100 percent comparable – Leadtail’s last report named Digital Marketers as its survey audience, while the current report is specific to B2B Marketers. However, respondents in each report share information from the following industry publications most often.

I was interested to note that Forbes continues to rank #1 and Huffington Post #2 as the courses of content most shared. Of significant interest is the increasing popularity of HBR Blogs, rising from #7 to #3 (and surpassing New York Times) in Q3. Inc has risen in popularity as well, with Wall Street Journal decreasing.

My conclusion from this: Industry Media is evolving to become increasingly important as the primary source of authoritative information that marketers share online, beyond its value to direct subscribers. It appears that online media that requires a paid subscription (primarily New York Times and WSJ) is less available for sharing. I predict and anticipate this will become an increasingly strong detriment to these publications as online marketing progresses and the primary needs and role of industry media continues to change and evolve. So I expect prevalence of New York Times and WSJ will continue to decrease for online marketers over time. Beyond Industry Media, the following are the top 10 mainstream media sources B2B marketers favor:

  1. Mashable
  2. Business Insider
  3. Business 2 Community
  4. Hubspot Blog
  5. MarketingProfs
  6. TechCrunch
  7. Content Marketing Institute
  8. Advertising Age
  9. Social Media Today
  10. VentureBeat

Big kudos to Hubspot for its first Top 10 appearance on this list, both as acknowledgement for a job well done and for what their presence indicates as a proof point for marketers’ willingness to garner value-added content and information from where they receive it best, regardless of whether the source is highly visible as a traditional publication or not.

As to the platforms B2B marketers favor, no surprises here: Twitter ranks first (bear in mind that this survey was actually compiled from data on Twitter, which directly influences these results). Beyond Twitter, respondents in this study are active on LinkedIn, Instagram, FourSquare and Vine. What about Facebook? In this particular study, Facebook ranked #5.  There’s more in the study, which you can access from thislink or can find starting Monday at Do these results support your own thinking and findings? I look forward to your response.