Why Content Experiences Matter
April 21, 2016 | Victoria Hoffman
Think about the last time you went shopping. Specifically, picture the store itself.
Whether it was at a grocery store, or a bookstore, or even an online store, think about how the conditions and surroundings impacted your purchase decisions.
Hopefully, the store was organized so you could find exactly what you were looking for. Sales and other opportunities for saving were probably well-advertised. After you made your purchase, they might have even provided a post-conversion offer to entice you to come back.
Now, think about the environment in which your content lives (i.e. your blog or resource center). I’m willing to guess it’s not quite as optimized — and that’s a huge problem for B2B marketers.
What Is a Content Experience?
Of course, content (especially B2B content) is not exactly a product to be purchased, and the environment in which it lives doesn’t necessarily need to look like a storefront. It does, however, need to emulate an environment that enables discoverability, facilitates conversions, and keeps your readers coming back for more.
The environment in which your content lives can have a profound impact on your content’s performance. This environment is otherwise known as the content experience.
Simply defined, your content experience is the environment in which your content lives, however, it’s really so much more than that — it’s where all your user action happens, where users engage with your interactive content, and where you move your end user down the funnel.
The Benefits of a Well-Optimized Content Experience
Focusing less on your actual content and more on the environment in which it lives can help increase your content’s performance simply because you’re providing a better experience for your end user. Here’s how you can shift your focus to reap the benefits.
Deconstruct Content “Silos”
Having a diverse content mix is important for effective content marketing. However, it’s essential to be aware of the dangers of content “silo-ification” — that is, when your content lives on different channels and leads to an outcome that doesn’t involve your organization or your organization’s content.
A well-optimized content experience allows all of your content to be consumed in one central, branded location. Not only is this a win for your end user, who is easily able to access all of your content in one place, it’s also a win for marketers, who eliminate the struggle of managing content between platforms.
Organize Your Content
It’s not enough to simply amalgamate all of your content into one central content hub. Your content must then be strategically organized to increase your content’s discoverability within your resource center.
Too many marketers let their content pile-up by date, which can cause perfectly good evergreen content to collect dust at the bottom of a neglected blog or resource center. Or, they organize their content by format (e.g. under “Blog Posts” or “White Papers”). The trouble with this type of organization is that people don’t typically seek content — they seek answers that are relevant to the problem they need to solve.
By organizing your content by topic, vertical, segment, or persona, you’re providing context, which increases you content’s relevance, and consequently, its performance. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Content is king, but context is god”.
Keep Inbound Traffic Inbound
A well-optimized content experience also involves more than simply putting your content into one well-organized environment. It also facilitates lead generation by keeping your inbound traffic inbound. By having all of your key lead generating content assets (e.g. eBooks, white papers, interactive content) living within your blog or resource center, you’re providing a more seamless experience for the end user because you avoid sending them outbound to retrieve these assets.
For instance, think about the typical lead generation process for a white paper. A visitor clicks on a CTA in your blog or resource center, is sent to a landing page, converts on the landing page, then downloads a PDF. Instead of keeping that inbound visitor inbound on your blog or resource center, you’ve sent them outbound to a landing page (and eventually a static PDF), disrupting their content journey.
This isn’t to say that landing pages are poor for lead generation. Rather, it’s to emphasize the end user’s experience with your content, which should be as seamless as possible to increase results.
Don’t Limit Your Content by Providing a Poor Experience
Back to the shopping analogy: even if a store was selling a superior product, if the store environment was decrepit and disorganized, it would almost certainly have a negative impact on sales.
In other words, you could have the greatest content in the world, but if it’s living in a poor environment, you’re not going to see optimal results.
Your content experience matters more than you think. Time to start optimizing!