By Bob Johnson published July 10, 2011

Content Ops – Let Your Assets Do the Talking

A column about dynamic design and content optimization. 

Hang on tight. We’re going to reframe many of your digital content beliefs and approaches through this column based on 15 years of studying how buyers choose and buy using the web. We’ll start by dismantling the traditional 4Ps of marketing. That’s right. Product, Price, Place and Promotion simply fall far short in the digital age

With more than 10,000 buyer surveys and ample best practices under our belt, the new 4Ps become clear to leverage into a better return on content. They are Profile, Personalization, Path and Purpose. First up is Profile. The days of dumb assets that cannot identify whom they intend to help are history. Going forward, smarter assets will shout their angle and focus for all to see. Ready?

If you look at the average piece of content on the web, it does little to help the user decide if it is relevant other than a catchy title or graphic. Content publishers expect their readers to make it through the opening paragraph to judge relevance. I believe—and our research at IDG supports this—that content producers must orient their content consumers much more quickly. On the cover and in your face. Gone are the days where you faced little repercussion for grabbing someone’s attention with a pithy title, only to lead the person on until page seven (when the reader is finally irked enough to toss or delete it, realizing it was not right for him/her). Using social media, those readers can now voice their frustration to thousands of others. Beyond the social conversational risk, you owe it to prospects and buyers to do better.

Content assets of all formats must incorporate profile information to make orientation possible. Orientation sits as a core principal of content optimization. You will need to evaluate your asset against some simple attributes. Those can be chosen from among buying stage coverage, target audience, buying role, buying focus and many others. But whatever you do, make sure the ones you select are used consistently. Also, display them prominently where the user can see. It’s always better to have someone not use an asset and instead move onto another one you offer that better meets your reader’s needs.

To test the power of profiling we surveyed buying team members and showed them a standard, traditional white paper cover and one that used the cover to offer additional profile information. The profile-based version was preferred by 72 percent and, more importantly, it increased their likelihood of positive activities by more than 20 percent to open it, read it, share it, use it in the purchase decision and view the sender positively. In other words, it can make a bottom line impact.

Compare your perception of profiled content versus your peers. Use this link to access a Profile Impact Tool, http://dlvr.it/T6kyH

Author: Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson is principal analyst and vice president of digital content optimization at IDG Connect, part of the world’s largest technology media, event and research company.

Other posts by Bob Johnson

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