Content across the customer experience can sometimes feel disconnected. Because different people across your organization create content for various use cases and audiences, the content your customers receive throughout their lifecycle can expose a lack of alignment, coordination, or cohesiveness.
So how do you fix it? On a recent webinar, Mediafly CMO Lindsey Tishgart sat down with our featured guest speaker Forrester Principal Analyst Kathleen Pierce to discuss how to create a content strategy that fuels the customer experience. Here’s my recap:
Use content to deliver more value
The first step in improving the content experience is to deliver quality over quantity. In a recent Forrester study, 63% of respondents said the material they receive is focused more on style than substance, and 55% said the material is extraneous (Forrester’s 2021 Content Preferences Survey). B2B organizations should consider producing less content while focusing on higher quality, uniqueness, relevance, and scalability.
The study also found an overwhelming 67% of B2B buyers value competitive comparisons. B2B organizations that fail to produce assets comparing their offer to competitors are putting themselves at a disadvantage.
Your prospects and customers likely know who your competitors are. It helps to recognize their strengths and to be honest about your particular niche. Doing so can remove unqualified leads from your funnel and allow you to focus on accounts that fit your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Including competitive content in your content strategy can also strengthen your reputation as a thought leader by not appearing too self-interested.
Incorporate content customization into your content strategy
Another way to improve the content experience is to focus on content customization. You can accomplish this with content selectors or content builders. Content selectors let sellers choose what content meets their criteria. Selectors often use the COPE methodology — create once publish everywhere. That allows for unique combinations, improved findability, and greater consistency.
Meanwhile, content builders dynamically populate templates with information from external sources (e.g., data from your pricing sheet or product information database). Builders focus on automation, accuracy, and scalability.
Creating custom content using either of these methods can help bridge the gap between sales and marketing by making it easier for marketers to create content and sellers to find it. And when sellers can easily find content, they’re more likely to use it.
Reduce content waste
The amount (and complexity) of content available to sellers and buyers is rapidly growing, causing marketing and sales enablement to come up short on the skills, bandwidth, and organizational support they need to assess the impact.
Consider the following:
- There are 1,400 pieces of content available to the average sales rep
- 65% of B2B organizations report significant content waste issues
- 35% of sales teams track content effectiveness (that means two-thirds do not!)
- 61% of organizations have initiatives for measuring enablement
Sources: Forrester Command Center | Forrester 2022 State of B2B Content Survey | learn g2 | 2021 Sales Enablement Society Survey, Q16
To avoid content waste and drive more content ROI, distinguish between content for sellers and content for buyers.
Source: Forrester Consulting
You should also distinguish core content from engagement content. Core content is available everywhere and contains necessary information about your products, services, and company. This content is plentiful, standard, and highly used, yet not highly persuasive. Unless you are already a convinced buyer, core content isn’t going to get you to sign on the dotted line. That’s where engagement content comes in.
Engagement content adds more value. Engagement content includes thought leadership, customer stories, market data, etc. This content is scarce, specific, and persuasive to the right audience.
Engagement content is often not standard, so it can be harder to find and vastly underused. Make the value of your engagement content very clear by using concise names and effectively promoting it so it can be noticed amidst your core content.
The missing metrics: stakeholder satisfaction
Content is only valuable if and when people use it. Every content leader should conduct annual or semi-annual surveys asking sales reps questions to understand where they need help. Find out what types of content are working by asking:
- What types of content are working?
- Do they work for all sales scenarios?
- Is the content findable?
- Is it accurate?
- Do you have to modify it?
- How satisfied are you with how well you are being enabled?
It is critical to understand if your enablement program and content are meeting the needs of your sales reps to engage buyers, keep customers engaged, and drive sales. Failure to collect these metrics can cause you to miss out on valuable insights.
Try surveying reps using a 1-5 scale, where five equals strongly agree, and one equals strongly disagree. You can easily compare metrics quarterly to gauge content satisfaction and improvement. Always add a long text box after each question so reps can add context if they need to.
It is also crucial to survey those content creators. Ask questions, including:
- Where do you need help?
- How efficient is it to create content?
- How easy is it to update content?
- Are you satisfied with your visibility into your content impact?
By surveying content creators, you can identify how efficient their process is. You can also encourage them to think about how often they have to update content or how long it takes them to receive the data they need to create reports, making it easier to motivate change in processes.
Let data-driven insights drive your content strategy
Don’t just gather data about your content. Tell a story about it. Use your survey results, usage data, and the data from your service entry sheet (a record of services performed by a vendor) to train teams on data storytelling. Start by identifying what each audience wants to know, then backtrack to the metrics you gathered earlier to deliver a coherent story.
Consider your analytics audiences — sales managers, reps, content contributors, and executives. They’ll want to understand the following:
Sales managers: How have you helped their teams?
Sales reps: How have you helped them perform their jobs better?
Content contributors: How have you made their job easier? And what impact has their content had on the business?
Executives: How have you helped the company?
The data you gather from conducting surveys can help tell these stories and provide insights.
Action items for your content strategy
To create a content strategy that drives ROI, remember to do the following:
- Survey stakeholders to identify gaps and priorities. Then design and build audience-centric dashboards and reports.
- Evaluate your resources and alignment. If your enablement team is stretched too thin to keep up with populating the content database, they will not have time to create value-added content.
- Clean out the ROT — redundant, obsolete, trivial — content. Have content nobody is using? Archive it.
- Improve findability for core and engagement content. Ensure the volume of core content you have does not prevent people from finding the engagement content.
- Automate your content at scale. Anything that is standard or boilerplate content should not require heavy lifting. Automate that content to allow content contributors to focus on more engaging and valuable pieces.
Need more tips to improve your content strategy in 2023? Start with a personalized demo of Engagement360.