Content creation is now ubiquitous across all industries. Companies truly understand the value that content brings in the form of ROI (return on investment) in perpetuity. Most B2B content that gets created these days is used for inbound marketing either from SEO or social media. However, there is another tenet of content marketing which often gets overlooked. That is content activation.
What is content activation?
Content activation involves using content to educate prospective customers during the sales process. Effectively using content to move prospects down the sales funnel. Not all content that is created will have SEO efficacy. Moreover, you’ve only got one shot at seeding your content across the socials (unless of course you’re repurposing it into other formats, which you should be doing). This leaves a huge opportunity for content activation, which surprisingly gets done very little. According to Sirius Decisions, 60-70% of all marketing content created goes unused by sales reps in most B2B organizations.
Organization of content
It’s clear from the statistic above that a lot more can be done when it comes to leveraging marketing content within the sales function. Why then is it not? Well, one of the reasons for this is that at the top level, companies are failing to properly organize the content they create. If the content is organized or categorized it’s often self serving. The marketing teams responsible for creating the content understandably are looking after their own interests first. These interests sit across inbound marketing channels such as SEO and social media. There is often no incentive for them to even think about how their sales team can be effectively armed with suitable content that can aid selling.
Therefore it’s imperative that sales and marketing work together to organize the content that is created, whereby a repository exists for all content that has a sales application. This will then serve as the catalyst for the company to start thinking more actively about sales-related content and its benefits. It will soon become clear that sales content can be activated in numerous ways. The following are some of the main ways:
- Sales Outreach
- Nurture campaigns
- Ongoing customer engagement
- Account-management (for upselling)
By exploiting this under-utilized resource through content activation, sales teams will undoubtedly begin to see improvements in conversion rates and overall ROI. Moreover, your sales team can shift away from the much despised hard-sell to the more accepted solution-based or consultative-based approach to selling.
Successful content activation
Once you’ve organized all your content there is another key component which will ensure that your content activation efforts are a success. It’s something that content marketing platform uberflip refer to as the content experience. The content experience is the look, feel and function of the environment that your content lives within. It is fundamental to being able to execute successful content activation.
There are three key components to a stellar content experience, namely, aesthetic, layout and interaction. The aesthetic is how the content looks. It is bland and colourless or is it vibrant with a good mix of text, bullets, and images. The aesthetic is the gateway to the rest of the content experience. Get this wrong and everything else becomes arbitrary. Web analytics firm CrazyEgg have dubbed this the 15 second rule. If you haven’t won a user’s attention within 15 seconds of them landing on your content page then they are most likely going to bounce.
The layout looks at the content from a macro level. How is the blog/content hub/resource center structured? Does this layout offer the user an intuitive experience? Are they able to seamlessly access other content which may be of interest to them. Can they easily find more information about your company and its products and services? Ensuring that content is categorized and siloed will improve the discoverability of your content and ultimately lead to a superior user experience.
Interaction is how your content is styled to offer user interaction that can effectively nurture the user down the sales funnel. This can include relevant CTA’s (calls-to-action), contact forms, or even polls/questionnaires. A content experience which offers multiple points of user interaction is poised to build stronger relationships with its prospects than one which has a scant offering of interaction points.
As a company you should challenge yourself to rethink your content strategy so that it includes content activation as one of its core pillars. With this new string to your content marketing bow, you’ll be able to increase the reach and application of your content. By now having content that can be used further down the sales funnel, the attribution of content to customer acquisition improves which in turn drives an improved association between content and ROI.