The American author and former dot com business executive Seth Godin once famously said “Content marketing is the only marketing that’s left”.
And if by that he meant that delivering content to consumers and audiences that creates value for them as well as building authority for you and furthering the reach for your products, then yes. He most certainly had a point.
So how do we define content? And can it really improve the user experience?
What exactly is content?
Perhaps the easiest way to define content is to see it as information, presented for a purpose, to a specific audience.
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Content can take many forms, not just the written word. For example, it can be the text on your website or the infographic in your email. It might be the explainer video on your social media page. Or the words you use in a script on your helpline.
Content can be internally facing (such as call centre scripts, product naming terminology or live chat scripts) as well as external, customer facing (marketing emails, product descriptions, explainer videos, printed brochures or blog posts).
Content can exist on and off line, although increasingly, content is generated more online, where it can be indexed, to help your business get found in various search engines, including Google.
Content marketing is therefore the creation and sharing of content, in order to attract more customers.
What do we mean by user experience?
User experience, often abbreviated to UX, is a way of describing the overall experience of how we, as consumers, we might use a product, or perhaps service, which often also considers how easy – or pleasing – it is to use.
One definition of user experience or UX is “a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership.
User experience is an important consideration in design of anything from a website to a mobile app.
It’s often the “part of the design process that you don’t hear about unless something goes wrong. But it is something that should be an integral part of the design process, from early concepts to the final product.” Source.
Can content help enhance the user experience?
In a word, yes.
Content that is written or produced for a specific market, with a specific intent, can be hugely powerful in enhancing the user experience. Because, done well, it will feel natural, with a tone that doesn’t jar.
Effective content engages the user in the right way at the various stages of the buying journey, without them feeling pressured, rushed or bothered.
And in a world filled with mountains of information, simultaneously demanding our attention, consumers have grown weary of interruption marketing they haven’t asked for, such as direct mail, emails, phone calls and television adverts. Cutting into their activities and thoughts with unsolicited and ultimately, untargeted, generalised messaging.
Because, effective as it is in increasing short term sales or conversions, interruption marketing runs the very high risk of annoying the consumer.
Indeed, the recent arrival of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, perhaps the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years, has done much to highlight to the consumer the choices they now have in opting out of a lot of this marketing noise.
Which puts the onus on businesses to create messaging that consumers DO want to hear.
In turn, GDPR has unintentionally forced brands to build longer term relationships with prospects and customers, using content that is specifically tailored to their customer personas.
Because if the messaging is not right, consumers will opt out of future correspondence. And brands can no longer continue to bombard them with unsolicited mailings.
How can I create content to improve the user experience?
Whatever the form of content you are considering creating, be it web copy, infographic, blog post, explainer video etc., the important thing to remember is to create content your customers will want to engage with and which is appropriately targeted to the right audiences.
Because if your competitors are building relationships with their customers and prospects by delivering useful and valuable content, then you need to do the same. Or else risk being left behind.
Write content that your customers will want to engage with
Perhaps the best content marketing tip is simply to create valuable content that your readers will find engaging.
So if you are writing a blog post about visiting Cornwall, then make it stand out from all the other blog posts online that simply list 20 Cornish places to visit. Instead, encourage readers to share their own places and suggestions and try to start the conversation flowing.
Promote your content to the right audience
Understanding exactly who your audience is, is key to making sure the right people see the right content.
Using the above example of a blog post on Cornwall, a much more effective post will consider whether or not the intended audience has young children. Or dogs. Because the resulting content will then call out pet friendly and child friendly places to visit in Cornwall. In the rain. In the school summer holidays.
Promoting the right kind of content to the right kind of audience greatly increases the likelihood of engagement and interaction from that audience, which is the ultimate aim of effective content marketing.
Optimise your content to be found
It is relatively easy to generate content but much harder to generate content that gets you found.
And if you have a digital presence, then getting found online via a search engines matters.
Not least because 93% of website visits are referrals from a search engine.
Well optimised content will help drive up your performance in organic search. And well optimised content matters so much more than endless volumes of poorly targeted content. Like most things, it is about quality, not quantity.
It is important to think strategically when it comes to creating a content plan. Look ahead for, say, the next twelve months in your business and identify what is coming up on the calendar that you might want to create content around.
But before you create that content, especially if it is written content, it is worth conducting keyword research to better understand what your intended audience searches for online. As well as how well your competitors already rank for those keywords.
Good content will then draw on these keywords which will not only get you found – but will also help you rank higher than your competitors for related searches.
Need to create content that engages your customer?
Whether you are looking for an engaging infographic to support your text. Or you want to revamp the content on your website in order to improve your organic ranking, Creative.onl can help.
Contact Creative.onl in Leicestershire for content that converts
If you would like to work with a digital team that understands the importance of effective content, then please get in touch with Creative.onl.
We are a small and friendly team with a wealth of expertise in:
- App development
- Web development
- UX design
- Digital strategy
- Responsive web design
- Graphic design
- Video animation
- Marketing support
Whatever your requirements, we would be more than happy to talk you through the creative processes of any of our services and products.