Short-form films. Free certification courses. Daily motivational emails. These aren’t just examples of content marketing, they are examples of content experiences — a new form of marketing that focuses on creating a well-planned flow of relevant content that engages prospects over a sustained period of time. According to MarTech Advisor, which coined the term, content experience is defined as the overall experience of accessing, consuming, engaging with and responding to a stream of branded content — across diverse devices, platforms and channels, and throughout the buyer’s journey, from prospect to customer.
Chitra Iyer, editor-in-chief of MarTech Advisor said: “Prospects and customers don’t look to consume an individual piece of content, but rather are on a journey where they need ongoing resources to help move purposefully forward in their buying decision.”
B2B buying journeys can be long. An abundance of the right resources at each stage of the journey can keep prospects moving toward purchase. This helps companies overcome two key content marketing challenges: (1) grabbing a prospect’s attention regularly over a period of time versus just now and then, and (2) consistently standing out in a world drowning in content.
Creating content experiences entails more than creating another piece of branded content, no matter how great it is. There are five key elements in the process of creating content experiences: Deliver a steady stream of content that flows holistically and seamlessly from one piece to another — think in terms of Netflix, with its steady publication of shows and series
Examples of meaningful content experiences — with multiple pieces of content that build upon each other — include the following:
There are five best practices to consider when entering the content experience arena:
To create content experiences that work requires marketing teams work together, including digital marketing, graphic design, product marketing, user experience and sales. This means they should be taken out of their silos so they can produce content in a collaborative process.
Deploy an intuitive website interface that supports a seamless content experience. In other words, the content should be easy to locate, the interface should look pleasing and the website should leave visitors with a positive impression.
Google’s semantic search engine considers the context of queries versus just the meaning of individual keywords. The topic-cluster SEO model leverages this direction because cluster pages link back to pillar page categories and maximize content experience discovery. Instead of organizing content only by format or date, centralize content by topic or category, then filter according to content format. This will organize content in a way that allows visitors to find the desired pieces of content correlating to their stage in the buyer’s journey.
Critical to content experience is producing content that engages prospects. Tactics to support this goal include, great landing pages, calls-to-action at the end of every piece of content, asking prospects questions, inviting them to leave comments, and adding social sharing buttons, pop-ups, sliders and banners.
In content experience, the key to personalization is creating or curating a dynamic stream of content from an existing content repository. The stream will be based on each individual prospect’s demographics or behavior. Personalization tactics range from recommendation engines and dynamic landing pages.
Leveraging content experience gives organizations an opportunity to compound the impact of their marketing programs. By advancing beyond merely creating disjointed pieces of branded content to creating streams of content for every buyer persona and stage of the buyer’s journey, organizations gain the opportunity to not only attract prospects but also to keep them engaged — and moving with greater speed and clarity toward the ultimate goal of conversion into customers.