A powerful content strategy has become the bullseye of modern marketing. But all too often, marketers miss their target.
One of the biggest mistakes content marketers make is thinking that once they hit “publish,” the job is done. Unfortunately, effective content marketing does not subscribe to philosophy that's simply: if build it, they will come.
What is content activation?
Content activation refers to the processes, competencies, and tools needed to execute your content strategy and promote it efficiently and effectively across channels. Determining a content strategy is only half the equation; putting it into action is the other. Content activation uses planning and technology to create, streamline, and bring content to life in order to meet business goals.
The rise of content activation
Driving awareness depends on getting your content in front of the right people through an active content distribution strategy. As much as we’d love to believe everyone is eagerly hitting refresh every 10 minutes in anticipation of reading our latest blog article, that’s just not the case. Strategic content meets consumers where they’re at, when they need it. This is why it’s necessary to not only have a plan for creating content, but also one for delivering it effectively.
Search engine optimization (SEO) strategy
The goal of any content program is to drive high-quality traffic to your brand’s website and build relationships with your audience. People need to be able to find your content quickly, which means developing a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that puts your site on the first page of results when someone types a query into Google.
When SEO first came into popularity in the early 2000s, many marketers believed they could game the system and cheat their way to the top. Brands would stuff their blog titles and intros with trendy jargon and keywords without regard for syntax, frustrating readers who had to sift through pages of irrelevant materials before finding the results they actually wanted.
However, today's search algorithms are wise to this trick and now demote pages with high bounce rates and lower reader retention. Your first priority when creating content should be pleasing your real-life audience, not the algorithms. If you’re regularly producing high-quality, informative work, then Google and other search engines will recognize these pieces as valuable and reflect this in your ranking.
Multichannel content experiences
While search remains a major pathway in content distribution, it’s far from the only arena to focus on. Between an ever-growing list of streaming services, social media channels, apps, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the digital landscape is more dispersed than ever, and brands are tasked with delivering content everywhere and anywhere. That said, cohesive messaging isn’t the same as being repetitive. Just like you’d tell a story differently if you were speaking with your boss versus your best friend, each social network and platform has its own audience, and the content you display should demonstrate a relevant but consistent tone.
Defining your different tones and channel strategies requires acute knowledge of your audience behaviors and real-time insight into the customer journey. Refer back to your personas and gather insights through social listening and website metrics. Analyzing audience behavior will help you personalize and repurpose content strategically across channels, rather than defaulting to a generic copy-paste approach.
Sales enablement strategy
Breaking down silos and driving better brand awareness isn't just a marketing initiative, it's a collaborative effort between marketing and sales. Without a proper sales enablement strategy, marketing teams often feel like their efforts go to waste and sales teams grow frustrated because they don’t understand how marketing helps them drive business value.
According to SiriusDecisions, 60-70% of all marketing content created by B2B organizations goes unused by sales reps. This waste of time and resources makes it difficult to prove the return on your investment and hurts the overall effort to establish a cohesive go-to-market message. Businesses need to unify sales and marketing and ensure content is being utilized to its full potential. Here are a few strategies to close the gap and transform sales into your biggest content advocates:
- Collaborate across teams on strategy and purpose
- Provide cross-functional teams with access to the valuable assets they need
- Arm your sales teams in the field with easily accessible content
Leveraging digital asset management for content activation
Even if you have the sharpest arrows (content), without the right bow (technology) it’s hard to hit your target. Digital asset management (DAM) is the bow that allows you to launch content with precision — and nail your content strategy.
To help you hit more bullseyes, we’ve created the Content Activation Model, a game plan that aligns your DAM system with your overall brand strategy. Our goal is to help you build a stronger brand by using DAM software to its full potential.
DAM tools, our proverbial bow, help professional communicators use their assets strategically. They power the content lifecycle that enables marketers to:
- Create and capture new content that connects to the overarching brand story.
- Manage and organize existing content so your brand can be agile and responsive to market opportunities.
- Share and distribute relevant content to connect with your audiences across all channels by giving teams, partners, and sales networks access to the content they need.
- Track and analyze the success of content so you can make better digital marketing investments in the future.
- Generate return on investment (ROI) from digital marketing by continuously improving your content strategy
The Content Activation Model
To help you execute an effective content strategy, we created the Content Activation Model. It has six steps:
- Research helps you determine what content to create. Much like the scientific process, marketing research begins with a hypothesis that you wish to test. Past experiences, models from other companies, emerging technologies, and new ideas will all feed into that hypothesis. It might take the form of a question like, “What if we did [something awesome]?”
- Creation is the process of developing new content. This includes graphics, web pages, photography, videography, writing, and more. The hypothesis gives you a clear purpose and direction for your visual content story.
- Curation is the process of gathering existing content that can be added to your story. This might include music, memes, and user-generated social content — just make sure you have permission to use it!
- Context is all about answering the question “Why?” Why are you putting this content out on the web? As an audience member, why would I pay attention to your campaign and take action? Context is about giving your story a higher purpose than ROI.
- Action is about putting your content and strategy to work in an omnichannel world. Marketing teams need to be able to deploy and measure content across all relevant channels including web, print, social, mobile, e-commerce, and more.
- Insights gives you a look into how content performs and the value it provides to your audience and organization. Did you connect with people? What actions did they take? Why did you get these results and how could you improve on them?
This six-step Content Activation Model is a simple, clean way to approach your content strategy.
Using the Content Activation Model, along with the functional areas listed above, ultimately provides greater visibility, access, and control over the content in your quiver. Together, they create a framework for thinking through the necessary processes, competencies, and tools needed to execute your content strategy and promote your brand efficiently and effectively across all channels.
Great content strategies aren’t a matter of chance. You need the right bow and arrows. If you’re aren’t hitting the bullseye, it’s time to step up your DAM game.
Ready to learn more? Request a demo to see how Acquia DAM can help support your content strategy.