Hint: It’s Not More Content
As the 4th quarter of 2019 rushes by, our thoughts naturally turn to the coming year. You’ve likely read about 2020 predictions for content marketing that talk about voice assistants, video proliferation, longtail keywords, chatbots, and the changing world of search. Trend-based insights are useful – and tactical.
Let’s take a step back and review the role of content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute,
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Many content marketers create and distribute content; well, lots of content. Some measure results to ensure they are attracting and keeping target audiences.
But are content marketers focused on “driving profitable action?” With 2020 just around the corner, it’s time to focus on content experience.
Why Content Experience Should Lead in 2020
While experience, in general, is a single event, we think of the content experience as the overall impact of our engagement with a customer. A positive content experience might occur like this:
- a prospective customer starts with a need
- he or she finds our content relevant and useful
- the customer's response triggers a more profound connection, including content that addresses additional needs
- with enough positive interactions, the relationship tips into positive action
We expect the content experience to take center-stage in 2020 because, without results, content marketing will erode from 'marketing' into just ‘content’. Facilitating positive interactions adds value and builds businesses.
MarTech Advisor (MTA) defines content experiences as:
“The overall experience of accessing, consuming, engaging with, and responding to a stream of brand content; across diverse devices, platforms, and channels; through the journey from prospect to customer. Successful content experiences deliver a high degree of relevance, personalization, timeliness, consistency, and convenience; by focusing on a holistic approach that is greater than the sum of its parts.”
For us, the word ‘journey’ stands out in the above perspective. Most journeys start with a plan that includes a destination and a timetable for arrival. You choose your route and decide on your mode of transportation. When all goes well, your journey is enjoyable and successful. The content experience is similar – starting with a strategy or plan for delivering results.
Developing Content Experience
Your content experience strategy will harness valuable content from your team and transform it into a roadmap to guide prospective customers to their destination: buying from you. The plan ensures you’re with customers on their journeys – at the right time, with relevant resources that help them along the way to a decision. Each interaction builds on the last, logically aligned with the customers’ needs.
- Take time to review content you have available, including your website pages, blogs, sell sheets, white papers, case studies, infographics, and videos. Organize by topic such as introduction to our product, using our product, benefits, and next steps. Some of your content may cover multiple issues; try to focus on the primary point. If you have duplication, choose your most engaging (i.e., best performing) work.
- You’ll likely have a few gaps in the content needed to support the customer’s journey. Create additional material that addresses unanswered questions.
- Now, reshuffle the content to match up with your business and your customer's requirements. You may decide to create content streams that align with industry segments, customer personas such as R&D or purchasing, or by place in the journey, like ‘discovery’, ‘evaluating’, and ‘selection’.
- After the first connection with a prospective customer, be sure to personalize subsequent outreach to fit with his or her identity and stage in the process. Pull from your cache of content to deliver a positive experience. Your goal is to have a digital ‘conversation’ that is rich with detail and relevant information.
When you nurture customer relationships effectively over time by focusing on content experience, you’ll see a higher level of conversion. Importantly, you’ll be able to report an outstanding marketing ROI to your CEO.
Are you interested in delivering content experiences in 2020? MintCopy, a content agency in Mississauga, Canada, is ready to help. Our team of strategists and content creators will talk with you about your customer journeys, support your strategy development, and provide engaging content across mediums. A new decade requires a fresh look at content marketing. Let’s get together and plan for a great year.