But more than that, customers want a content experience. They want to be made to feel a certain way when they read a blog post or listen to a podcast from one of their favorite brands. They want to digest truly great content that has been distributed effectively; content which teaches them something, makes them smile or offers an interesting new viewpoint.
Content strategy and user experience are now the twin pillars of modern marketing, and the most successful marketers know that it’s essential to have a firm grasp of both. Here are some key ways you can create a better content experience for your customers.
Content marketing is not equal to advertising
If the main focus of your content marketing strategy is to advertise, you’ve misunderstood the entire concept and the content experience in general. 2016’s consumers no longer want to be sold to or pitched at. As a brand you should be aiming to build a relationship with your audience, rather than treating them as nothing more than a potential lead.
Contently puts it perfectly with its definition,
Content marketing (n.): The use of storytelling to build relationships with consumers by providing them with something entertaining or useful.
While content is a way to assert your dominance, credibility and authority, it should be approached differently. Consumers expect a piece of content to include actual content - tips, advice, knowledge and information while an advert is just that. An ad might say you are number one in your sector for example, while a piece of content marketing will show it. That might be in the form of a top 10 tips piece or, a problem solving blog post whereas an advert will come right out and say it.
Aesthetics are important
Visuals are key in the world of digital marketing. You could have the most interesting and valuable piece of content in the world, but if you’re not presenting it in an appealing way, your audience could miss out on it entirely. Presentation and aesthetics aren’t nearly as important as the quality of the content itself, but they play a key role in the content experience.
Think of the AirBnb City Guides – with their stunning visuals accompanied by valuable, useful content that is on-brand, they’re creating an enjoyable and memorable content experience for their customers. The Mexico City travel guide for example acts as a guidebook accessible from your tablet device or desktop, whether you’re on the move or at home planning a trip.
There’s public transit information, plenty of insider knowledge on 15 key neighbourhoods, maps, history and culture.There’s also suggested places to stay and beautiful imagery which transports you right to the heart of this bustling, vibrant Latin American capital.
Be authentic – and stay true to your brand voice
Every brand needs a voice and part of creating a great content experience is ensuring you stay true to that voice. Authenticity is important for consumers interacting with brands online. Consistency is also a vital part of branding in general, so every piece of content you create should be consistent with the rest of your message, as well as remaining authentic and true to your brand.
Etsy’s blog is used to highlight some of the shops with the most interesting stories on the site as well as giving input from other experts. This stays true to the ‘maker movement’ ethos of the website, as well as telling engaging brand stories that the reader can relate to. Etsy is all about craft and creativity, and by using their sellers as real case studies, they’re providing truly authentic content.
If consumers feel that your brand is unified, they are more likely to place their trust in you. Retain the same tone and style across every medium (social media, email marketing, website and blog) to enhance your audience’s content experience.
Which techniques have you used to improve your content experience? Share your experiences with us in the comments.