What is a content experience?

How to create a content experience

Reading time: About 5 minutes

I only order one thing from Kauai – the Princess Wrap.

You can’t go wrong with chicken, mayo, and avo.

And because I order it all the time, I’ve developed an expectation about how it should taste.

Until the day it didn’t.

I’d been waiting a long time to smash this wrap into my face.

It had been taunting me from the fridge for at least two hours. (I was counting down the minutes for my intermittent fasting “feeding window” to open.)

The millisecond the clock struck 12:00, I tore the wrapper off and took the biggest bite I could muster.

And then the putrid stench of blue cheese hit me. Hard.

There’d been a mistake in the kitchen: blue cheese dressing got confused with mayo.

Same, same colour.

But oh so VERY different flavour.

Especially when you’re not expecting it – and wouldn’t ordinarily touch blue cheese with a 10-foot barge pole.

It reminded me of the time Ayva projectile vomited into my mouth.

A lifetime’s supply of mouthwash doesn’t get rid of the taste (I tried).

The stink seeps deep into your skin.

And a faint whiff of puke follows you around all day.

And now, because of that one experience, every Princess Wrap is a suspect. And mayonnaise is blue cheese until proven innocent.

In short, my trust in Kauai is GONE.

What experience are you creating for your customers?

Every time someone engages with your brand, product, or service, they have an experience.

Whether that experience is good or bad is entirely up to you.

If you create a good experience, people will come back for more – but they’ll expect the same experience every time

You can’t be mayonnaise one day and blue cheese the next.

Humans are creatures of habit. We return to the things that consistently bring us joy, comfort, or security.

That includes consistency in tone (visual and written).

Consistency in how you show up (regularly, not every other week).

Consistency in the content experience.

Just one bad experience can leave a bad taste in your customer’s mouth.

Need to know

What is a content experience?

Exactly that. It’s how your audience experiences your content.

But it goes far beyond the words or images you use.

It’s also about the things that make it easier (or harder) for your audience to find, access, download, read, watch, and share your content.

This is where content strategy and content marketing strategy overlap.

When creating a content experience, you must consider things like:

  • Choice of font
  • Layout (white space, headings, bullets)
  • Website navigation
  • How and where you’ll publish your content (format, channel, and platform)

If you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, this sounds a lot like user experience design”, you are correct.

That’s because content experience (CX) and user experience (UX) are inextricably linked.

It’s not enough to just create, distribute, and measure content.

The best content in the world can still underperform if the format and the environment it lives in (website, social media, email, etc) interferes with how your audience experiences and engages with it.

In other words…

How you present your content affects how easy it is to consume.

The content experience is a journey

Every piece of content you create should take your audience on a journey to somewhere relevant.

Relevant for them in that they find what they’re looking for (and you delivered on your promise – mayo, not Roquefort).

And relevant to the business because it moves them along the sales funnel through an ecosystem of related content.

These ecosystems should provide a relevant, connected experience, no matter what stage of the funnel people are in or where you’re trying to reach them.

The goal of your strategy should be to keep people in your content ecosystem for as long as possible.

Remember this: Any piece of content you create could be the first time a potential customer encounters your brand. Which means every piece of content could be your first impression.

Nice to know

If your content isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped, it’s not a sign that something is wrong with the content.

But it could be a sign that you need to add or remove things so that your content is easier to consume.

Humans are lazy. We’ll always choose the path of least resistance and least effort.

Your action this week

Your action this week is two-fold.When browsing, take note of the things you like about other websites. Is it the short, snappy copy? Is it the way one piece of content naturally flows to the next? Is the website fun and intuitive to use? Is the content relevant? Beautiful to look at? Interesting? Shareable?

Cast a critical eye over your website, email newsletter, and social media channels. Pretend it’s the first time you’re visiting the site. Better yet, ask someone who has never heard of your business or brand to click around on your website and give you feedback. Keep the following in mind:

  • Is it immediately clear what you do and who you help?
  • How many clicks must you make to get to your blog or resources page?
  • Are there annoying pop-ups, adverts, or other distractions?
  • Is your tone consistent? Do you need to tone it down? Or step it up?
  • Does it look nice and is it easy to navigate on desktop, tablet, and phone (test each of these separately)?
  • Is your content helpful? Or do you wax lyrical about your amazing products and achievements?
  • Are there relevant and clear calls to action throughout?

You put a lot of time and effort into creating content. Get the maximum return on your investment by also making sure it’s easy to find and read.

Clever human

Randy Frisch, co-founder of Uberflip, defines content experience as the environment in which your content lives, how it’s structured, and how it compels your prospects and customers to engage with your company.
Mastering the content experience involves 3 elements:
  • A strategic approach toward creating the environment in which your audience consumes your content.
  • Structuring your content for easy discoverability within that environment.
  • Encouraging your audience to engage with you and ultimately convert as you lead them through the buyer’s journey.

I’ll give Randy the last word:

“If you’re not going to use the content you produce, then fuck content marketing. However, if you’re ready to begin leveraging your content to connect with your audience and move them along the buyer’s journey, then it’s time to focus on content experience.”

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