"Ninety percent of [B2B] buyers say when they're ready to buy, they'll find you."- DemandGen Reports

If your organization sells business-to-business (B2B), content marketing is absolutely crucial to success and growth this year and beyond. B2B buyers are more educated than ever before, due to the wealth of useful content being created and shared online every day.

This expert content ecosystem contributes to buying decisions and is just as important as gaining any other type of market share. If your brand isn't part of this ecosystem, you are losing mindshare in your industry.

A recent B2B Content Marketing Survey of 815 content marketers discovered the latest trends and what works in content marketing. Here are several key content marketing trends in 2013.

Marketers Generate More Leads Through Thought Leadership

Because "problem awareness" was the most popular buying stage targeted by the B2B content marketers surveyed, content marketing has tremendous success at the top of the funnel. It can also present an opportunity to cast a wide net with very general market information, or to hyper-target individuals with very niche problem-solving content.

Either way, targeting the problem awareness stage sets content up for the most successful syndication in social media and the blogosphere by solving specific problems. Placing problem-solving content on relevant websites is how brands are effective in the problem awareness phase.

Audience Relevance Still Rules Success

When asked for the ingredients of successful content, the most common answer was "audience relevance." This answer was even more common than engaging and compelling storytelling or triggering a response/action. Nothing trumps relevance--it's the key component to gaining attention in the market on search engines and social media. Organizations can't ignore the comprehensive audience research phase that is crucial to developing relevant content.

Most Companies Allocate 20% of the Marketing Budget to Content Marketing

While those new to content marketing might think this can be done with interns or cheap outsourced writing services, successful experienced brands know that a serious chunk of the marketing budget is required to achieve success. Only 16.2 percent of the survey respondents spent less than 20 percent of the marketing budget on content marketing, and almost 65 percent spent more than 20 percent of the marketing budget.

Bandwidth to Produce Truly Engaging Content are the Biggest Challenges

Organizations are finding that simply having the bandwidth to develop the right amount of content is the biggest challenge in content marketing. A close second was creating truly engaging content. Many brands find that it is tough to "read the label if you're inside the bottle"--meaning that bigger picture of a content marketing plan is sometimes tough to determine from the inside. But to achieve success in content marketing, brands are using dedicated in-house teams or the help of outside experts.

In the digital information age that we live in today, content marketing is an absolute must-do for B2B companies. There is no more efficient way to generate qualified leads than to produce targeted, valuable and problem solving content that is relevant to your target audience.