It’s likely that using content marketing to connect with customers isn't new to you. But what if I said you shouldn’t be creating content? Or to be exact, you shouldn’t be creating content for the sake of it...
If your competitors are constantly posting content, but most of it looks and reads like it’s been cranked out to meet an editorial quota, then there's a huge opportunity for you, and your brand. What’s that opportunity? To understand and implement new approaches, that increase your reader’s engagement and overall content experience.
In the same way that Uber disrupted and streamlined their passengers’ experience, the winning brands in content marketing are improving their users and readers' experience with their content, and therefore increasing their engagement, interaction, retention and conversion.
Setka’s design philosophy
The Setka Editor is built on the same design philosophies as the brands that are disrupting content marketing.
According to a 2020 study by Adobe and Econsultancy, the brands that are outperforming the ‘average’ brands, by more than 3x in their business goals, focus on improving their customer experience. Part of that customer experience is fabulous content, including:
- Layouts that go beyond a basic blog post
- Appealing to the ways people read on the web
- Choosing the best format for a story
- Integrating multimedia elements to make the content as engaging as possible
- Using subtle yet powerful design choices that integrate their brand through every part (and piece) of content they publish.
Great content delivers results
It’s easy for me to say that great content and content marketing improves your engagement and conversion, but where’s the proof? Here are some examples of great CX results:
- Experience-driven businesses see over 1.5x higher year-on-year growth than other companies in customer retention, repeat purchase rates, and customer lifetime value. (Forrester and Adobe)
- CX drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty, more than ‘brand’ and ‘price’ combined. (Gartner, via CMSWire)
- 63% of customers say the best brands exceed expectations across the customer journey. (Wunderman, via Adobe)
- 65% of respondents would become long-term customers of a brand if they can provide positive experiences throughout the customer journey. (Forbes / Arm Treasure Data)
- 42% of consumers say a seamless experience across all devices and channels is a “top expectation”, while 11% of decision-makers see seamless, omnichannel experiences as the most important factor when delivering quality experiences. (Wunderman Thompson)
Stand out in a saturated market
In a 2020 survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 86% of B2C brands use content marketing, and the majority anticipate an increase in their budgets. When there’s so much content online that’s competing for attention, your content needs to help people prioritize their interactions with you:
- By appealing to them through visually beautiful layouts
- Making them feel good
- Drawing them into deeper engagement with your brand
There’s a clear difference between wading through a sea of generic, corporate blogs and a piece of content where the design and experience are truly optimized. For instance, feel the difference between Centrum’s blog and Ritual’s. They sell similar products and cover similar topics, but one’s more ‘informational’, whereas the other you’d explore for pure enjoyment.
That’s the exact reason why small, direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses that compete with giant brands are including beautifully-designed content in their marketing mix.
The blogs of brands like Lola, and The Sill, contain custom high-quality content that draws you in, uses consistent brand colors and showcase layouts that look more like a glossy magazine than your average company blog. That’s the type of content that customers seriously enjoy reading – and a brand they aren’t likely to forget – which helps those brands build a more dedicated following than some of their bigger-sized competitors.
Gain experiential social proof
Your content may be the first introduction many people have to your brand. Whether that exposure comes through successful SEO strategies or sharable content, content marketing plays an active role in helping both new and existing customers find you (initially and continually) online.
No matter whether you intend it to or not, your content also speaks volumes about your company – both inside and out. How? Because when the page loads, it takes people less than a second to make an initial judgement about your content, and in turn, the quality of your brand. Therefore, it pays to make sure your branded content delivers an experience they remember.
It’s likely that you’re already paying attention to the user experience (UX) of your landing pages and checkout flows to ensure that nothing gets in the way of a customer wanting to work with you. However, given that content plays a key part in the end-to-end user journey, content experience (CX) should be equally considered when designing pages and posts.
As asset management platform Stackla explains, “Just as social proof on a website provides an authentic customer recommendation of a brand’s product or service, experiential content aims to prove why a consumer should be able to trust a brand. A brand’s well-crafted content experience shows, rather than tells, why their recommendation carries credence.”
If your content design is bland or difficult to navigate, customers may similarly wonder if your products or services will be just as lackluster. But if your content is clear, stunning looking and engaging, they can likely assume that the rest of your work is of equivalent quality.
Show you care about something
More than ever, young consumers want to buy from brands that care about them as a person (beyond their purchase power), and about a mission bigger than just their product.
According to the 5WPR 2020 Consumer Culture Report, 83% of Millennials say it’s important to buy from companies that align with their values, and Snapchat recently found (compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers) that Gen Z’s are much more likely to buy from brands that care about their customers and the community.
The content you publish reflects how much you care... in more ways than one. First, the topics covered can subtly broadcast your company’s deeper mission and values – especially if you extend your touches to related topics that your customer cares about – instead of just writing about your services.
Then, take it to the next level and create a similarly considerate and streamlined experience around that content – so you’re demonstrating they can trust you to take care of them (and not just when they’re spending money with you).
For instance, direct-to-consumer brands like Away and Outdoor Voices have created content marketing sites that are informational, helpful and gorgeous to spend time on (even if it’s just browsing). The impeccable design demonstrates they care enough about the topic to invest the time and money in content that encourages people to interact with the site – whether they purchase or not – while subtly embedding the brand beliefs through their channels.
Brands like Sigma and Miro are using content to inspire their widely disparate audiences. Although very different, they’re both using the Setka Editor to create stunning content layouts that make complex concepts more easily digestible, engaging and shareable. Best of all, they’re seeing the results through greater conversion numbers.
Sigma knew they needed to do things differently. While most companies in their analytics and business intelligence space had historically been very dry, Sigma has now positioned itself – through its content – to help people find their inner data nerd.
Likewise, Miro is building leadership in their market through the strategic use of content marketing and brilliant design. They wanted to constantly surprise and entertain readers with a new blog layout, as well as improve the quality of the audience.
Satisfied or gratified – that’s the question…
There’s plenty of companies already leading the way when it comes to creating outstanding content experiences. And as the Content Marketing Institute's report said, “... they’re using content marketing successfully to create brand awareness, educate audiences, build credibility/trust, generate demand/leads, and more.”
By strategically using new technology, their data and content, they’re empowering themselves to build direct, emotional relationships with their customers – and it’s changing the way those businesses are operating.
This is a new era for marketers. We can now understand, interact with and engage our customers in more meaningful ways than ever before, through content that lingers in the memory of those who experience its magic. So, what are you planning on delivering to your customers – satisfaction or gratification – when they interact with your content?