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The Content Activation Model: How to Hit the DAM Bullseye With Your Content Strategy

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Blog header graphic: The Content Activation Model article. A focus on using DAM tools to support your content strategy.

A powerful content strategy has become the bullseye of modern marketing. But all too often, marketers miss their target.

We might have the sharpest arrows (content), but without the right bow (technology), it’s hard to aim. Digital asset management (DAM) is the bow that allows you to launch content with precision — and nail your content strategy.

To help you hit more bullseyes, we’ve created the Content Activation Model, a game plan that aligns your DAM system with your overall brand strategy. Our goal is to help you build a stronger brand by using DAM software to its full potential.

Why is DAM so critical today?

DAM tools, our proverbial bow, help professional communicators use their assets strategically. They power the content lifecycle that enables marketers to:

    • Create and capture new content that connects to the overarching brand story

    • Manage and organize existing content so your brand can be agile and responsive to market opportunities

    • Share and distribute relevant content to connect with your audiences across all channels by giving teams, partners, and sales networks access to the content they need

    • Track and analyze the success of content so you can make better digital marketing investments in the future

    • Generate ROI from digital marketing by continuously improving your content strategy

The Content Activation Model

If a DAM solution really can deliver on all those promises, the question is how? To help you execute an effective content strategy, we created the Content Activation Model. It has six steps:

    • Research helps you determine what content to create. Much like the scientific process, marketing research begins with a hypothesis that you wish to test.  Past experiences, models from other companies, emerging technologies, and new ideas will all feed into that hypothesis. It might take the form of a question like, “What if we did [something awesome]?”
    • Creation is the process of developing new content. This includes graphics, web pages, photography, videography, writing, and more. The hypothesis gives you a clear purpose and direction for the visual content story.
    • Curation is the process of gathering existing content that can be added to your story. This might include music, memes, and user-generated social content — just make sure you have permission to use it!
    • Context is all about answering the question “Why?” Why are you putting this content out on the web? As an audience member, why would I pay attention to your campaign and take action? Context is about giving your story a higher purpose than return on investment (ROI).
    • Action is about putting your content and strategy to work in an omnichannel world. Marketing teams need to be able to deploy and measure content across all relevant channels including web, print, social, mobile, e-commerce, and more.
    • Insights gives you a look into how content performs and the value it provides to your audience and organization. Did you connect with people? What actions did they take? Why did you get these results and how could you improve on them?


This six-step Content Activation Model is a simple, clean way to approach your content strategy. What follows are thoughts on how to optimize this model.

DAM at the core of content operations and experience


A DAM platform supports the Content Activation Model by enabling teams to run your content strategy with efficiency and organization. You’ll see that the following foundations of digital asset management pair nicely with this model.

  1. Governance allows you to control who can see what content. The key is to understand the content needs of your stakeholders.
  2. Workflow supports the creation and supply of content with the appropriate tasks, triggers, and notifications to move the creative process from concept to completion.
  3. Search functions allow you to quickly find your content. The top two problems that a DAM solution solves is being able to find what you have and provide secure access to the people that need it. Powerful search is critical.
  4. Metadata is what defines, describes, and protects your content. It makes content findable. It also helps you protect rights and releases.
  5. Processing functions allow for repurposing, sharing, linking, and publishing. These are the special capabilities that prepare your content for action. There are many other processes that a DAM system handles, like automatically converting files to other formats and version control.
  6. Tracking offers insight into site engagement and asset performance. It provides analytics on how your content is accessed, used, and consumed.


Using the Content Activation Model, along with the functional areas listed above, ultimately provides greater visibility, access, and control of all of the visual content in your DAM system. Together they create a framework for thinking through the necessary processes, competencies, and tools needed to execute your content strategy and promote your brand efficiently and effectively across all channels.

Great content strategies aren’t a matter of chance. You need the right bow and arrows. If you’re aren’t hitting the bullseye, it’s time to step up your DAM game.  

Ready to learn more? Request a demo to see how our DAM solution, the Widen Collective®, can help support your content strategy. 

Note: This article was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated to remain current.

Topics: Content, Marketing

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