The Mystery of the Content Marketing Black Hole

By Peter Mollins

The Mystery of the Content Marketing Black Hole

Spread throughout sales and marketing departments across the universe is a strange phenomenon. Great, dense content — sales assets filled with incredible resources — disappear regularly after briefly burning bright. These marketing resources were built with the intent to be used. But instead they vanish, never to be seen again.

Where does the content matter go? It falls into the inescapable reaches of the Content Marketing Black Hole – a pit from which no content ever emerges again.

Marketing teams put an incredible amount of effort into the production of assets. In fact, the largest single budget item for any B2B marketing department is content creation. But more than budget, marketers put heart into their content. These are assets that they’re often very proud of. To see them lost, spinning toward disuse in the Content Marketing Black Hole is not fun.

So how do you keep your content from passing over the event horizon (including content built for, ahem, conferences)? How do you set your content rocket ship on a course away from the black hole? Here are a few tips to keep gravity working for you.

Push Content into Workflow

Sellers don’t have a lot of free time. So, they don’t want to leave what they’re doing to seek out content. They may be on the road meeting clients. They could be in the CRM updating a record. Perhaps they are working in email or in the browser. No matter where they are, they should be able to access great assets.

That’s no different than how marketers target prospects today — through a multi-touch approach. Look to understand how your sellers work and push your content out into their workflow so that they can access it in real-time from where they work.

Provide a Custom Environment

Sellers are like anyone else, they don’t want to filter through information that is irrelevant to them. For example, an SDR has little day-to-day use for highly technical documents, in most cases. And a technical sales engineer is not likely to be satisfied with high-level, door-opening content.

That’s why you need to filter how your content is presented to your sellers. You should understand the role, profile, language, and other elements that shape how your content matters to its users. Then, give your sellers that tuned, tailored experience. They’ll see more of the right sales enablement content and want to keep coming back for more.

Provide an Immersive Sales Enablement Experience

The environment you want your sellers to experience should be tailored to just their role. It should also be deeply immersive based on the sales situation they’re in. Again, sellers have limited time. So, if they are trying to understand how to sell a new product that you’ve just released, or they want to know how to address a competitive threat, they need to be able to immerse themselves in that context and get the right answers.

That means that if reps search, browse, or access recommended content, they should get every type of meaningful asset that can support the sales process. That could include video, PDFs, presentations, subject matter experts, sales guidance, and training. Immerse sellers and they’re going to use more of your materials — and succeed.

Make Finding Content a Snap

It can be frustrating for a sales person to visit a content site and not find what they need. They may try browsing or searching and not get the results they need or expect. What happens next? Well, you likely did not earn a repeat visitor in the form of that sales person.

How do you address that problem? Well, you need to make it easy for a seller to find the content they need. That should be via a powerful search engine that can index content terms and metadata. And it should be through the ability to browse for content by topic or role with ease.

It should also be driven by content recommendations. A great model for this is a content wizard. A sales person responds to questions about their sales situation, and the system reacts with the right resources to help prep the seller for their meeting or for follow-up.

Get Feedback and Measure

Too often we think that the disuse of content is sales’ problem. ‘If only they visited and saw our content, they’d love and use it!’ But what if you’re not building the right materials? What if the reason sellers make their own content — and leave 75% of your content on the shelf — is because the content sellers produce themselves is more in line with their needs?

Marketers should, again, treat sellers like a customer. That means gathering feedback from them about what content works and what they like. Look for content ratings that can help you learn where to reinvest in improving content.

More than just feedback, you should also look to analytics about your content performance. Is content being used in the wrong situations? Is content generating revenue for your team (i.e. can you attribute sales to content or content types?)? When you know these data points, you can invest wisely and get more of the content sales teams want.

That leads to a virtuous cycle. Sales people get more value from your content. And guess who they tell? Their colleagues.

Put these approaches together and that means your content is going to get more use, more adoption, and more visibility. Your content will be steered away from the black hole toward intergalactic success.

Peter Mollins

Peter brings 20 years of experience with marketing technology companies in the US and Europe. He holds a Master’s degree from Thunderbird and is the proud owner of a single-lined IMDB listing.

1 Comment

  1. Dan Burtan on October 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Great blog Peter! “Marketers should treat sellers like a customer.” Excellent!

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