Content marketing is part of the customer experience. But there is a better way of thinking about it. Even the term content marketing is, to borrow a phrase, “so last year.” The updated term is content experience. Even if the customer has never done business with you before, everything leading up to the sale, including marketing, sales, advertising, etc., is the early part of the customer’s experience. The formula for the content experience is simple:
Good content equals a good content experience.
Actually, it’s not that simple. We must add two words, which unfortunately make that simple formula more difficult:
Good content, executed well, equals a good content experience.
Just last month I attended Conex, a content experience conference sponsored by Uberflip. As I listened to the speakers, I took copious notes and came up with a list of content experience strategies and tactics that will help you take the content you’ve created and get it to your customers in a way they will enjoy, pay attention to, and hopefully, take action on.
Before we get to the list, it’s important to note that content can be shared in many ways. One of the recurring concepts that kept coming up throughout the conference was the idea of repurposing written content to video. The first day featured a five-hour workshop devoted to using video to create a powerful content experience. As a result, several of the following ideas will be video-focused.
1. Video is BIG, so take advantage of it. Turn written content into video. Most of today’s customers are more likely to push a “Watch” button than a “Download Report” or “Read This” button. Make sure you include a call to action (CTA) at the end of the video that gets the customer to take the next step. It may be to watch another video, ask for a demo, make a call, etc. But before you get to that CTA, you need to earn the customer’s respect and trust, which then gives you the right to ask them to take that next step.
2. For video marketing, the thumbnail image of a video is like the subject line of an email. Make it intriguing. Make the image so interesting that it compels the customer to open and watch the video.
3. Can the viewer get the gist of the video if it is on mute? Turn the volume to zero and see if the message is clear. Some customers are watching the video at work and can’t turn up the volume. You can use captions and words in the “b-roll” to convey the message.
4. A video can be stronger than a traditional email. Consider sending a video via email. There are several programs, such as BombBomb and GoVideo, that allow you to replace the typical email with a video. These can be personalized one video at a time, or they can be sent to a large group. For a marketer, a video has a much higher likelihood of being opened and viewed than a traditional marketing email.
5. Don’t think of your content as one-to-many. Instead, treat it like it’s one-to-one. Of course, you can’t truly scale one-to-one, but if you divide your customers into groups, known as personas, you can target your content to a specific group. For example, Nike wouldn’t send content about basketball shoes to customers who only buy running shoes.
6. Ask yourself, “What kind of content would we produce if we weren’t trying to sell anything? What if we were just educating?” The concept is to promote by educating, not selling. When you help people understand, they start to have confidence in their buying decisions. They appreciate the person who educates them – and that’s you – giving you an advantage.
7. A website used to be (and often still is) a product brochure or description of what the company does. Today, the best website experience offers more than just product information. The most effective sites are featuring content on the home page. Consider leading with content and real value. Lead with something that’s interesting to the customer, and the customer may become interested in you.
8. Several speakers talked about trust. Robert Rose and Neil Schafer made it the focal point of their presentations. Trust is a big opportunity. When your customers trust you, they will follow you. They will interact with you. Trust is paramount to everything related to content. We must create belief, a respected point of view, with dependability. The key is to create an emotional connection. That can’t come without trust. Once you have that connection, you have a shot at the customer coming back – and maybe even a shot at customer loyalty.
9. Everything old is new again. Content marketers are typically focused on creating new content. However, some of the best content is old. Look for the most popular articles and videos that have the highest number of views. Update and re-release them. Schafer made this point crystal clear when he noted that Disney made seven billion dollars last year from a bunch of “remakes.”
10. Finally, I had a chance to sit down with Randy Frisch, co-founder, CMO and president of Uberflip. He emphasized making content more convenient for your audience to find and digest. (If you’ve been following my work, you are aware of my latest book, The Convenience Revolution, which is all about creating convenience – even with content!) Make it easy for your audience to get to your content and even easier for them to take it in. Get them to a place where they can binge on what they love about what you. That’s what Uberflip is about.
There you have it. These 10 ideas should help you transform your content marketing into a content experience your customers will truly love. It’s not enough to simply create the content. Just because you build it doesn’t necessarily mean they will come. Creating content is only one part of a larger process. Activating the content and getting people to read, watch or listen – or engage with your content – is the tough, yet most important, part of the content experience. No matter what your content is or the experience you build around it, make sure you execute it well. That’s what sets a good content experience apart from simply … good content.