In their third annual research report, The 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs reveal that B2B marketers are spending 33 percent of their marketing budgets on content marketing –that’s up 26 percent from last year.

What’s more, most (54 percent) said they will increase their content marketing spending in the next 12 months.

There’s no doubt about it: Content marketing is hot right now.

But understanding content marketing and doing it well requires a fundamental mindshift for most marketing teams. As Newt Barrett, the co-author of Get Content, Get Customers, told me recently:

“Under the old rules, marketers created outbound messages about products and services. But, to reach their customers, they depended upon third-party media companies that stood between the marketer and the customer.

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Under the new rules, marketers can go directly to their customers using inexpensive but powerful technologies that displace traditional media. However, they must still use time-tested reporting and writing skills that made trade and consumer publications must reading for prospective buyers.”

What can you do to help ensure your content is “must reading” for your audience?

Be authentic. I’ve been stressing this quite a bit lately, but that’s only because there have been so many recent examples of people “faking it” (Beyonce’s performance at the inauguration, Lance Armstrong, the Manti Te’o debacle, etc.). These days, authenticity is essential. As I’ve said before, today’s savvy consumers appreciate accurate information, and they will do their own homework and call you out if they feel you’re not “The Best Cheesecake in Town.”

Mix it up. At Teradata, we use a variety of approaches to tell our story: text, podcasts, video . . . and we share this content across a variety of channels: our website, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts . . . When it comes to content, there is no “one size fits all.” Increase your reach by presenting information in different formats distributed across the channels used by your audience.

Plan a strategy. View content marketing as part of your overall marketing plan. Think like a publisher and keep the focus on your audience. Feel free to sprinkle in content tied to relevant company news/events, but use an editorial calendar to help you maintain a balance that’s mostly “them,” and less “you.”

Integrate. Consistency across channels builds trust –and that includes offline channels, too. You’ll get more out of your content marketing efforts if you take an integrated, cross-channel approach and use social/digital experiences to connect with face-to-face/offline experiences (and vice versa).

Listen. Measure. Test. Analytics will tell you where you get the best traction. Keep a careful eye on not only page views, but also social shares, link backs, comments and other feedback. What content engages your audience? What do your customers and prospects want to know? How can you best provide the information they need?

As marketers, it is our responsibility to design compelling customer experiences. These days, that charge involves creating great content –meaningful, compelling information that connects with consumers to build brand awareness, nurture brand loyalty and ultimately, drive revenue growth.