Most companies would love to say their content marketing is highly personalized, but not everyone is hitting the mark. Here’s four bad habits causing some brands to lose their way.
1- Greeting with the Latest vs. Greatest Content
You may have some subscribers who regularly check in for updates, but the majority of your audience has no idea what came out yesterday, let alone six weeks ago. Why are you leading with the newest content instead of the most relevant and engaging to them?
With every piece of content, it doesn’t matter how old it is. The first time your customer discovers it, it’s new to them. If each piece of content is interdependent on several others as a result of your content calendar, then your readers are only going to be left feeling lost and confused when they get to it.
2- Organizing Content Marketing by Format
Let’s be honest: when was the last time you went to someone’s website and said, “I’m going to learn about these people by only watching videos,” or “I’ll be able to learn about this company by reading this ebook”? Probably never, I’m guessing.
Format buckets are counterintuitive to how most people search out content. Think about Spotify. You wouldn’t say: “Play me a song” or “Play me a podcast.” You’d search by mood or genre, or Spotify would suggest music based on your past interactions.
There’s no reason to make your customers jump through different buckets in order to find what they want. When we have a problem, most of us want content that’s relevant to this issue. We don’t care about format—we just want an answer to our question.
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3- Ignoring User Experience
In your own life, you’ve probably had to deal with a platform that provided an endlessly frustrating experience. Challenges as simple as finding the navigation menu or search bar drive me nuts. Then when I find the search, it’s not autofilling my issue. When I eventually get to the desired content I’m looking for, they’re still suggesting solutions for challenges unrelated to me because it’s part of their default nav. All this leads me to a bounce.
Be assured the same is happening if your web experience is not designed to engage users. When we put out content, we need to carefully consider user experience. This means accounting for every design element, making sure your content is mobile-friendly, and creating a navigation system that’s logical and intuitive.
4- Passing the Buck on Experience
In many organizations, experience is something no one wants to own. It’s often “Not my problem” or “I’m not given the support.” A lot of this stems from a lack of designated human capital and technology to fully exploit the benefits of a better experience.
On the human capital end, much of the problem comes down to ownership. Get a marketing team together, and each will point their finger at someone else when asked who’s in charge of how content is packaged. The content marketer says they are only there to create content and press publish into an existing template. The web development team says their job is just to design from templates. For either party, creating an optimal experience would require a third-party mediator.
On the tech side, the problem is compounded because most marketers still rely on their content management system to pull together these experiences. The CMS, while powerful, is not built for personalizing at the scale expected of modern brands. It delivers static experiences with templates, and we have to work within those confines, leaving marketers ill-equipped to do what we really need to do.
So, What Are Some Solutions?
First, you’ll need to have an honest conversation about who owns the content experience at your organization. The key is that someone feels responsible for the experience in a way that stretches beyond just the quality of the content.
Second, determine whether your CMS is equipped to deliver personalized, intuitive experiences at scale. The right combination of platform and point solutions delivers content experiences with a more targeted approach that accounts for every stage of the buyer journey.
To achieve results with such an increased demand for sophistication, we need to be more like Google. When we deliver that first piece of content to our customers, it should be the most relevant piece of content they could possibly see. There should be no guesswork, no need to weed out the crap, no excuse for your audience to leave and look for answers somewhere else.