Content consumption paths: The key to journey acceleration
With today’s buyers doing the vast majority of their research online, our marketing content is more important than ever. We spend a lot of money getting our content in front of our target accounts and prospective buyers. But in order to accelerate the buyer journey, we need them reading not just one piece of content, but two, three, four, or more!
So how do we do that? By laying out a path, from one piece of content to the next.
Not sure what I mean? Think about Netflix as a real-life example. Tonight, you can sit down on the couch, pull up your favorite TV series. And as soon as one episode is over, another pops up ready to go, so you watch. And when that TV series is over, Netflix will recommend something else you'll like based on your consumption habits, and before you know it the weekend is over and you haven’t left the couch.
For a marketer, that’s a dream state—buyers reading more and more of their content. Multiple pages per session, racking up their lead score or engagement minutes and heading deeper into that research phase. But this dream state doesn’t just happen. It’s thoughtfully orchestrated by a content consumption architect also known as a marketer.
What is a content consumption path?
A content consumption path is a strategically orchestrated path from one piece of content to the next with the sole purpose of encouraging content consumption to speed up the education process and move the buyer from aware to interested to sales-ready faster.
Marketers create content consumption paths using calls-to-action and content recommendations in an effort to keep prospects engaged, feasting on content, educating themselves, and self-nurturing to sales-ready status.
What’s the best next step in your content consumption path?
As marketers, we should never be creating and publishing content without thinking of the best next step for the reader. We’ve worked hard to get them to the page either through SEO efforts, social promotion, emails, ads, etc. We don’t want them to come to our blog or hub or video for one single piece of content and then leave. Ugh, that’s just plain frustrating when we work so hard for those clicks.
In the same way you think about your email nurtures you should think about the best next step for any visitor to your site or any casual reader of your content.
Start by answering a few questions:
1. Who are they? What’s the likely way they arrived here? And what was their intent?
Based on the content, you can infer some information about demographics and intent. While this isn’t an exact science, it’s a good starting ground for creating consumption paths. For instance, if the article is “How to” then the visitor is looking to learn and probably came through search.
2. At what stage of the funnel is the piece of content and likely the buyer?
If the piece of content is middle-of-the-funnel it’s likely the buyer is doing more in-depth research on a solution to their problem or pain. Therefore sending them to something more top-of-funnel wouldn’t be the optimal offer for this particular person.
3. Based on what you know, what would be the right next step?
Beyond demographics and stage, look at the topic and consider what related content would make sense. If the article is on email benchmarks you might be able to assume that those reading it are looking for performance metrics. So a good next step could be how to improve email performance or A/B tests they could run.
The above applies to marketers selecting their own best next steps for prospective buyers based on the content. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that using intent data and AI can make the next step scary specific to the individual. There’s no right or wrong answer here.
How to create content consumption paths in Uberflip
Now that you have an idea of how to figure out the next best step in your visitor's journey, let’s talk about the different options you have to get prospects to engage with and consume more content, moving them down the funnel faster. There are many ways to do this in Uberflip. Let's look at how our Marketing Team uses each of these options to promote further content consumption.
Calls to action
The easiest, most straightforward way to encourage content consumption is through calls to action. These can take a variety of forms and are the simplest (and most widely used) tactic to get someone to the next piece of content.
Show beside CTAs
A show beside CTA is a tile that can be placed next to a blog article or piece of content. These CTAs draw the reader’s eye to the side in the same way an ad would and can link to a video, a template or infographic, an ebook—virtually any type of content. When contextual, they serve as a highly effective means to promote further content consumption. In the example below, you can see that someone reading an article called “How to Organize Your Content for ABM” might be interested in a guide to scaling personalized content for ABM.
Text link CTAs
Perhaps the most unsexy way to promote further reading is through text link CTAs. If you’ve ever seen hyperlinked text at the base of an article or throughout an article linking to additional content then you’ve seen a text link CTA. This is the easiest way to promote further reading because every CMS can hyperlink text.
We use text link CTAs at Uberflip in some cases but refrain from using them in others. Why? Imagine you created a blog post with a CTA to download an ebook. But then wanted to use that same blog post in the email nurture for that same ebook. In that case, it wouldn’t make sense to promote the download of an ebook to someone who already downloaded the ebook. Make sense? By refraining from using text link CTAs you make the article multi-purpose.
I still include it here though because it’s a good (and very simple) way to understand extending the journey and encouraging further reading. Like in the example below:
Immersive content destination
One of the very best ways to promote not just content consumption but content bingeing is by creating an immersive content destination full of hand-picked content for the individual being targeted. These content experiences can be used for email or ad campaigns, account-based marketing, sales outreach—there are countless possibilities. My personal favorite is nurture destinations. The goal of an email nurture program is to send a prospect content so they can learn more, increase their lead score, speed up the education process and become sales-ready faster. Sending a prospect to a content destination like the nurture experience below, lets the prospect consume content at their own pace. These destinations allow visitors to truly binge on content, consuming it as fast or as slow as they prefer. We’ve seen results anywhere from three to seven pages per session for those who land on one of our content destinations... and these are as easy as creating a Marketing Stream in Uberflip (which for those not in the know, takes just a few minutes).
What makes these destinations so effective is that they’re branded, personalized, and contextual. Everything in the nurture experience above is related to the content the prospect converted on. In this way, we’re building a content consumption path by simply adding more content tiles to this experience.
When a visitor clicks into one of these articles, they are given the option to see more content like this and go back to this full experience view, or consume the next or previous piece of content in the carousel below.
Oh hi there! 👋 Sometimes the best way to encourage further content consumption is through conversation. But I don’t know many marketers who have the time to personally recommend content to each and every person who visits their website or blog. Thankfully, we can make it appear as if we do using good old chatbots.
These little robot chat windows aren’t simply for routing inquiries, providing support, or qualifying prospects. They can be a content distribution mechanism all on their own and promote further content consumption. Our marketing team uses them to push new gated assets to prospects and customers who land on our site. Like this example:
We used a chatbot to engage people on our hub and offer them a premium asset like this benchmark report. It’s employing an active approach rather than a passive one. Consider this, if there is a box of donuts in your office, will you be more likely to eat it if your coworker leaves it on a table for you to discover or if they walk around to your desk and offer one to you?
Content recommendation panel
Want to recommend more than one piece of content as the best next step? Don’t like putting all your eggs in one recommendation basket? I don’t blame you. In that case, you might want to try a content recommendation panel. You can set these up to appear on all pages on your hub so a selection of three to 10 pieces of content will appear either from a stream you’ve preselected or using intent data based on the visitor’s internet browsing habits.
The great thing about this option is it can be used in conjunction with other tactics and it can appear on every page with refreshed content. So say the visitor reads “How to Use Personalized Experiences to Engage Sales Prospects” and then clicks on the first recommendation in the panel. Well, when they read that article, the panel will continue to appear for them recommending additional pieces of content to consume and removing the pieces they’ve already read. And the cycle continues.
Exit intent content offer
Uhhh... where do you think you’re going? That’s how our next option works. If someone has been perusing your website and then moves their mouse over to close the tab or navigate away from the page, they’ll receive an exit-intent content offer to entice them to engage with more content before they go.
Delightfully known as a pop-up, this offer (once clicked) will open up on top of the webpage so the user doesn’t have to leave the website to read the content. Pretty nifty. We call this feature Site Engager because it’s a way to engage site visitors with content.
It’s just one more tactic you can use to create content consumption paths and entice your audience to eat up all that great content you’ve laid out for them.
Becoming a content consumption path architect
Binge-worthy experiences and content consumption paths don’t just happen. They’re purpose-built by strategic marketers who have done the hard work of thinking through the buyer journey and compelling visitors at every stage to engage further. It starts with a desire to make the most of every visitor interaction and, as with everything, is made easier by technology like Uberflip. But you can start today by simply creating CTAs and giving people options to consume more content. We’re all marketers. But you can become a content consumption path architect to accelerate the buyer journey and drive better results from your content, your marketing programs, and your demand budget.