Most companies treat their content as an asset or a product that, once manufactured, needs to be pushed in channels for promotion and for generating some profit. This profit should come in the form of traffic, leads, engagement, or authority.
The problem with this approach is that it never looks at the lifetime value of content.
Sure, everyone knows that it’s good practice to create evergreen content that remains valid for years and generates results without too many updates in the long run.
But how many companies are looking at the cost of acquisition and lifetime value of their content? How many organizations know which content types generate the most leads or traffic, and which content pieces are pushing users away?
If you treat content like a product, your thinking pattern is that you need to produce more if you want to gain more from it and that you need to vary the assortment if you want to satisfy different audiences.
While this might be true for some businesses and might lead to an efficient content strategy, in most cases, this approach has the opposite effect.
By putting too much content out there, you’re:
suffocating your audience, and
forcing them to ignore you — block, mark as spam, hide or unfollow
Just look at your engagement rate.
If you’re writing 10 new articles per week and sharing them on your social pages or in communities where you’ve built a reputation, but nobody engages, that’s the first sign that you’re treating content as a product.
It’s a clear indicator that your content, no matter how valuable it actually is, no longer reaches the eyes and ears of your audience. They’ve had enough of it, and they’ve decided to ignore it because it’s only adding to the noise.
So how do you break this cycle and make your content awesome again? By shifting your perspective and looking at your content as a sales agent.
Let’s put these two approaches in parallel, to illustrate the concept of content as a sales agent better.
To do a good job of selling your products and gaining profit, a sales agent must put your product in the best light possible. He needs to know how the product fits into the market, and into which market; which customer segments are interested in that product, and why.
Then, a sales agent must have a voice. Not one that shouts out loud at a deaf audience, but a voice that:
listens to the customers’ needs
understands how customers talk about your product
understands why customers choose your product
and then promotes that product using your customers’ words
So now let’s go back to your content. Before creating a new landing page, ask yourself: is this piece, on its own, able to sell your product, or at least to attract the customer and capture their interest?
Or are you pushing customers into an unnecessary spiral of more and more content, by forcing them to subscribe to a newsletter and read even more?
When you treat content as a product, you put it out there, wait for it to produce results and if it doesn’t, you produce more content.
When you look at content as a sales agent, you:
allow it to get to know your customers,
educate it to listen to and to speak the voice of your customer,
give it a top spot so that it easily reaches your customers,
set clear goals and expectations from it,
track the performance and offer more support if needed
Your content is your promoter. Now just imagine what a network of promoters can do for you, when they know and understand your ideal customers, and know where and how to reach the most valuable customers.
Your website or blog is your network of promoters. How is it performing? How many of your sales agents are top performers? How many are costing you more than they produce?
How many of your sales agents are about to break the relationship with your customers and push them to your competitors? And how many of them need additional customer insights to improve their sales numbers?
Before you write another piece of content, understand who your customer is.
Don’t look at your visitor and don’t look at your average customer; look at your most valuable customer. That’s the segment that you want to attract with your content.
Profile this segment of customers, but not in terms of age, gender, and location. Instead, look at their reading and buying patterns. Is there any correlation between the pages or types of content they’ve consumed, and the products they’ve purchased?
Are there pages that tend to attract your ideal segment, while others tend to attract only visitors that aren’t ready to commit? What happens after the first content interaction? Monitor the behavior of your customers and look for patterns.
Survey them and ask why: why are they buying or not, why are they returning or not. Does content contribute to that? If yes, how?
How often do they consume content and how much? How does this relate to their buying pattern? Do your ideal customers need constant reminders to buy? Or are they coming back even if you don’t share new content with them?
Now segment even more: of all the content that you have, what type, format, length, topic attracts your ideal customers? In which channels is it shared? Are all your top-performing content pieces part of content/sales funnels? If not, then how does the journey look like?
Let these insights guide your content creation, just like customer insights guide the approach that a sales agent would take when promoting your products.
If you're a marketing or content manager and your content isn't performing well enough, get in touch with our team. We'll audit your content, research your audience, and create a content strategy that supports your goals.