Have you ever read a piece of content and actually had a conversation inside it?
You might be thinking well, no… it’s a digital file. And marketers can’t see what you’re reading or what you find interesting about a piece of content. Or can we?
Until now, we’ve only been interested in how people interact with content after they’ve downloaded and read it. We study analytics to see if people are clicking our lead magnets in emails or if case studies are converting people into paying customers. It’s how we tailor our follow-up content and try to build deeper relationships.
But I have an idea. Maybe it’s time we – as marketers – start to think about how we can turn our content into a conversation. Now, hear me out. I like to think of content as something that should be a two-way conversation, not a one-dimensional avenue to get leads into our funnels.
What if the future of content marketing is having a conversation with a buyer when they’re engaging with your content – in real-time?
Over at Turtl, that’s part of how we’re working to make content more engaging and effective. Our content automation platform lets you create interactive living documents (kind of like digital flipbooks) and then use chatbots to start conversations and take the experience to the next level 🤖
Here are three ways we’re turning our content into conversations 🗣️
1. We Discovered the Power of Modular, Measurable Content
We all work hard to make great content.
The trouble is, sometimes our execution and delivery let us down. We can spend weeks on presentations, eBooks, or case studies – only for them to be destined to the digital trash can because readers aren’t excited enough to interact with them fully.
The worst part is that it’s hard to know where we went wrong 😭
That’s why we’re excited about this little revolution called modular content. It’s where content is built like a building – brick by brick. Each piece of content we produce is made up of distinct, separate chunks of these content “bricks.” Our content team can take any brick they want to create longer pieces of content or use single modules as shorter pieces by themselves.
If we’re sending out a piece of content and we can see no one is reading a specific chapter, we can remove that module block and replace it with something else.
Using a modular strategy allows us to create new pieces of content from the modules with less effort. Our team can pump out 50-page flipbooks using existing content modules in a really short time – which any content marketer will agree is huge.
Then, we spice up our content by making it interactive. 87% of us already know that interactive content outperforms static content and that it can result in a higher degree of lead nurturing:
Research from Lumen backs this up. We wanted to test out the matchup of the Turtl format (interactive, highly visual, with page turning and chunked information) vs a PDF (static, long-scrolling, non-responsive) to see what the effects were on a reader.
- Readers spent 73% more time reading across all chapters
- They were able to recall all key messages more accurately and were 10% better at filtering out misinformation
- It gave a 40% boost in a brand’s positive perception
So, readers like it when the content we serve up to them isn’t static. Another plus of modular content is what your marketing team can learn from the person reading it. With modular content, you can pick up on a person’s reading cues; if they spent more time on page 10 of the document than any other, you can then send them follow-up content around similar topics to personalize their journey with your brand.
Think of it as a (non-creepy) way of looking over a reader’s shoulder to see what part of your content really caught their interest. If a lead lingers over a portion of a case study or a sales proposal – you’ll know exactly when and for how long. Having this Google Analytics-esque power to track the best bits of content means you can add some serious personalization into your reader’s journey.
2. We Started to Get Drift-y with Our Conversations
If you’re reading this, you’re on the Drift blog. So you’ll already know the superpower the chatbot has on websites and lead generation.
We wanted to take that one step further by embedding Drift’s superpower inside our content. After all, if we can use chatbots to have conversations with people from our websites, why not from our content?
If someone is spending a lot of time on a particular part of our content, we have our Driftbot jump in and spark up a conversation around the topic on the page 👇
From there, our Driftbot sticks with the reader as they make their way through the content and responds to their actions. For example, if the reader clicks a video or a chart inside, our Driftbot reacts by offering up additional information, resources, and next steps based on their interactions.
By doing this, the chatbot gently adds further content and value into the conversation, like ebooks, case studies or product overviews to build trust with the reader. It even figures out what stage the reader is at in their buying journey and customizes the content offers accordingly.
Sticking with the reader on their journey adds instant value by:
- Turning content into a two-way conversation
- Making our content more valuable and interesting
- Instantly and automatically personalizing content
Now, here’s where this can get interesting. Using Drift’s bot, you can create a poll to weed out more information about the reader’s specific thoughts and interests. You can then combine this with the information that you’ll already have on the reader (thanks a bunch, cookies!) to create a super-personalized follow-up doc to send them once they’re finished reading.
On the back of this conversation, our marketing team has the goods to serve up content personalized to the reader’s company, their challenges, and with their name on it. The reason this type of personalization works comes down to the illusion of control. A study from the University of Texas found even if a personalized experience doesn’t involve someone making any actual choices, if something tailored specifically to them, it gives their brain the impression that it’s more in control.
Our SDR team started sending out personalized content and found that for meetings the book over email, one in two meetings are now booked because of personalized content. And even for phone calls, one in five meetings were booked because of following up with personalized content. They saw a 60% improvement in meetings booked overall after implementing personalized content, a huge win for sales enablement.
So, if someone tells our Driftbot they like beaches or a certain author, we can then use that to make our content stand out while leaving our reader feeling like they’re still in charge 💪
3. We Uncovered the Magic of Conversational Content
Conversational content is a way for our team to bring assets to life.
As marketers, we’re so used to relying on emails to nurture our leads. Yet sometimes this back-and-forth duel of sending case studies and PDFs is…a slow way to close a deal. Think about every time you send a PDF attachment to a lead in an email – there’s no way for you to know if a lead is reading it or if they even found it useful.
Using conversational content changes that. Instead of sending static documents, you can replace those links in your outreach emails with conversational content to help boost sales. As our conversational content is linked with Drift, it can even alert our reps when someone engages with our content so a rep can step in.
Without the help of modular, conversational content, we wouldn’t know what blocks weren’t resonating with readers, and it would take a ton of time to produce improved content anyway. We’ve used this same technique to personalize conversational content at scale. Because Turtl can auto-generate custom product explainers that are personalized for target accounts, we:
✅ Spend less time recreating the (content) wheel
✅ Trust the content that’s being automatically generated, as modules are already signed off
✅ Personalized content is created quickly and easily
✅ Avoid quality control problems
The TL;DR on Conversational Content (Plus Three Takeaways to Help You Make the Shift Now)
So, what can you take from all this conversation around content?
I truly believe that you can up your content game today by taking three steps:
📈 Use data wisely: There are now tools available to us that allow us to listen into and track how our readers are interacting with our content. It makes sense to start using it and refine content into pieces that will grab our readers attention and allow us to engage with them further
🤔 Rethink your content processes: Modular content is relatively new, so it’s okay if you haven’t mastered it already. That’s why now is the time to take a look at your current process and pinpoint areas in your content where you can assign/add modules so you’re using your best content in more than one place. Try running an experiment to get your feet wet.
⚡ Start sparking conversations: Take a fresh look at your content and find places where you can spark conversations. It might be inside your content, where you add conversation starters using chatbots, or by asking your reader to share it on social. Either way, sparking a conversation is all about engaging with your readers, inviting feedback or asking questions – so be on the lookout for ways to make it happen.
We live by these three takeaways at Turtl. And the best part about focusing on conversational content? It just makes our lives easier. Without all of the heavy lifting that goes into recreating and repackaging content, we can stick to what we do best – making content fun again 🥳
Kate Terry is a global marketer with experience in technology, legal, and consulting industries. With a research background in cognition and psychology, Kate enjoys bringing interdisciplinary insights together to help companies solve challenges. Kate leads campaign strategy and demand generation for Turtl, a software platform grounded in the psychology of reading and the belief that anyone should be able to create, publish, and measure superb content.