The year in review: What content you were reading and watching in 2020

Ben Harrison

A year like no other is drawing to a close, so here we look back at the past 12 months of the FT Longitude blog to find out what content you most wanted to read in 2020.

2020 content highlights:

1. Post Covid-19 crisis, thought leadership topics that will dominate in B2B

It is unsurprising that the most viewed article on our website is about the topics that will dominate during the pandemic and beyond.

As 2020 unfolded, marketing and communications teams had to be careful not to waste their efforts on off-message themes that did not reflect the current context or sounded like nothing had happened. Getting it wrong would damage the brand and the relationship with its audience. So how could they get it right – and produce thought leadership that would last once the crisis recedes? In this piece, our CEO Rob Mitchell told us which themes and topics would be most in demand.

Click here to read the full article. For more advice on how to respond to the crisis, go to our Covid-19 resources page here.


2. 10 content marketing challenges and how to overcome them

Successful marketers are now spending more than 40% of their budgets on content strategy. But companies are wasting time and money because they don’t know how to create content that engages with and influences their target audiences. In our work with over 60 B2B brands worldwide, we have found that clients are coming up against the same challenges, time after time.

From buyer personas to activating content and measuring ROI, this article broke down the 10 biggest challenges facing content marketers and explained how to combat them.

Read the full article here, and learn more about building an effective B2B content marketing strategy here.


3. The four principles of visual storytelling and how to apply them to thought leadership campaigns

In B2C and news journalism, the likes of National Geographic, The Guardian and the Financial Times have long been using visual storytelling. It was only a matter of time before B2B followed their lead.

In this article, we went back to basics. We explained that there are four key principles of visual storytelling that will help you to combine a strong narrative with innovative design in your thought leadership.

Read the full article here, and watch our most popular webinar of the year, in which our head of information design, Emma Hicks, explained what exactly we mean by visual storytelling, and which brands have been getting it right.


4. Appease or provoke? How to address hot political topics with thought leadership

2020 was full of unpredicted turmoil, but one hurdle that was anticipated was the US Presidential election. Major political moments like these increasingly shape the business world today, but some firms are hesitant about taking a stance on such hot topics.

For many brands, silence is no longer possible or desirable. But having a position on controversial issues in thought leadership is difficult: get it wrong, and you risk alienating existing clients and future customers. How do you get it right? In this article, group editor Thomas Sturge explained how to address hot political topics in thought leadership.

Read the full article here.


5. Crisis changes the direction of thought leadership

As the year draws to a close, and with Covid-19 vaccines on the way, business audiences are seeking the insights that will help them to navigate towards recovery. So marketing and communications teams have to be ready to give their audiences a distinctive and compelling vision for the post-crisis world.

In two webinars that drew on the recommendations in our latest ebook, The Way Ahead, we told you how to rethink your messaging and content from first response through to recovery.

Watch the two webinars on demand, and download the ebook here.


So that was your favourite content in 2020. Want to be first to read more in 2021? Sign up to our monthly newsletter for updates on our latest content and insights – direct to your inbox.

In the meantime, click here to find out what we expect to be 2021’s hottest trends in thought leadership. And click here to hear more about each trend in our on-demand webinar.

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About the author: Ben Harrison

As marketing executive, Ben leads various marketing activities such as the firm’s social media effort, our always-on content programme, and all aspects of the website – from maintenance to re-designs. He also manages the department’s tech stack, delivering an increasingly seamless experience from marketing all the way through to the sales team.

Ben also contributes to the marketing team’s overall strategy and goals, helping to plan, execute and effectively measure all our content and engagement that push the firm towards brand- and commercial-oriented goals.

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