How to Stand Out with Experience-Focused Content
Success in content marketing isn’t luck or chance. It’s the result of a dedicated strategy, thinking outside the box, and perseverance.
Nobody knows that better than Robert Rose, who works as the chief strategist for Content Advisory (a division of the much-revered Content Marketing Institute). Not only does he know his stuff, he also has helped big brands like AT&T and Capital One hone their approach. Robert also co-hosts a top marketing podcast, “This Old Marketing.”
Recently, The Magnificent Marketing Podcast sat down with him and got some nuggets of wisdom about the importance of the customer experience in content marketing. We have whittled down the top insights we learned right here.
Why You Shouldn’t Focus on Content for Content’s Sake
Content marketing is an ever-fluctuating conversation between your brand and your customers. If you’re creating content with no end-goal, you won’t be nurturing this engagement – in fact, you’ll be ignoring it.
It’s a waste, not to mention a great way to blend into the crowd.
You need to set yourself apart and encourage a conversation for a great customer experience.
Stay Experience-Focused for Better Content Marketing Results
Where do you start when you’re staying experience-focused? Begin with your goals.
1. Determine Your Purpose
Your content should always be underscoring some goal or purpose. If you don’t know what you’re trying to do, or what problem you’re trying to solve for your customers, you need to figure it out.
Without knowing your goals, you won’t have that underlying theme that ties your content output together. Robert says you’ll consistently be creating “one-offs” instead, and these can be good or bad, but they don’t contribute to an overall strategy.
Why are you creating content? Asking yourself some questions may help you figure it out. For instance:
- Are you attempting to create buzz for your company or a new product?
- Are you trying to draw more people to your brand and enhance your lead generation?
- Are you having customer loyalty issues, or are you trying to nurture more trust?
When you understand what your goals are, your purpose for your content immediately becomes clear, too. You understand the problem you’re addressing, what you have to offer that can solve it, and more.
Your goals determine your strategy. Your strategy informs the content you create.
2. Identify Your Sore Spots
Once you have identified your purpose, you then should hone in on your own trouble spots. Where in the customer experience journey are you losing them? Are you getting leads, but not good leads? Are you not getting enough leads?
According to Robert, you can figure out your pain points easily enough. Quiz your sales team, look at web analytics and stats, or, quite simply, go with your gut.
Once you know your weak spots, you can create content that directly addresses it.
Knowing your niche is essential if you want to set yourself apart. You created your business with the intention of helping this niche solve a problem, after all.
You have to know who you’re talking to because these are the people who support your goals.
3. Figure Out How to Give Your Audience Value
When you find your audience, next you need to figure out how to provide value to them. This doesn’t have to do with your products, services, or brand. Instead, it has to do with the value you can give and the help you can provide, to assist them through their customer experience.
You want to focus on how you can entertain, inspire, or educate them.
4. Discover Your Differentiator
You need to provide value to your audience, but you need to do it in your own unique way.
What makes your company different? What customer needs are you addressing that your competitors neglect? What perspective do you provide that’s unique?
According to Robert, this is one of the main things you should have figured out when creating your brand. Your differentiation factor is one of the most important aspects of your brand identity. If you don’t yet have an answer to the question “What makes you unique?” then you might have bigger problems that go beyond your content marketing.
In this case, you need to back up a few steps. Finding your differentiation is hard, but it’s also critical. It informs everything you do – or it should. Without this crucial factor, the content you create will be exactly like everyone else’s in your industry. You’ll just be “adding to the noise,” as Robert says.
On the flip side, if you know what makes you different without batting an eyelash, you’re good to go. Use that to your advantage when creating content. Approach the value you offer to your customers with this exceptional angle.
5. Remember Content Is a Bridge to Your Audience
Content is the bridge that connects you to your audience – and your audience is your ultimate value-factor. You have to be able to address the right people, engage with them, and provide value to them if you want to be successful. It’s a relationship first and foremost.
It All Starts with “Why”
Providing an excellent customer experience starts with knowing your brand story and differentiation.
According to Robert, every story is really just an argument – an entertaining, in-depth way to reach some conclusion. What is your company’s story? What’s your argument for the world? Why do you do what you do?
Match this up with what your audience needs, and you have something.
Remember that having a unique point-of-view means you will be right for some, but wrong for others. You cannot appeal to every single person – that’s not the point. The point is to appeal in the best way to the right people.
And, to get there, it all boils down to “why.” Your “why” helps you provide value uniquely in an already bloated market. Your “why” is the determining factor for creating great content and a superior customer experience.