If you have been doing content marketing for enough time, you’ll soon realize that effective customer engagement requires more than simply publishing the same content to an aggregate audience.
No doubt, your CMO or CXO has been talking to you about ‘the individual customer’. In particular, what resonates with the individual; what will keep the individual engaged, what will encourage the individual to return, what will compel the individual to share.
Suddenly, your readership has turned into an ‘audience of one’ each of whom have their unique whims, needs, interests and desires.
So how then can you make sure you deliver content to so many unique contexts? How can you make your content relevant to each person?
THE THREE C’S: CONTENT, CONTEXT AND CROSS-CHANNEL
Content relevance is that sweet spot of delivering the right piece of content at the right moment through the right channel. As with doing anything that’s worthwhile and with a good pay-off it is easier said than done but it is doable!
Let’s break it down a bit to see what is required to deliver that perfectly relevant content recommendation:
The right content
- The first thing that is required to having the right content is to actually have – ideally content that your customer wants to see and will be useful to them!
- Most brands fall-down at the first hurdle when they are unable to realize the subtle difference between content (which can be any collateral from a small jpeg file to a banner ad) and content marketing (the practice of producing interesting or useful editorial content which isn’t salesy and adds value to a customer’s lifestyle).
- But say that you have grasped the finer points of content marketing and are already producing a lot of great stuff. Those five, ten or fifteen pieces of content you are able to creating every a quarter is nowhere near enough to be relevant to every one of your readers.
- To make sure you have content in your arsenal that is right for everybody, you will need a large volume to draw upon. This isn’t always feasible so two ways to increase the amount of content you have to draw upon is to either curate content from third-party sources or outsource your content creation.
The right time
- To deliver content at the right time you have to understand each person’s context and their constantly evolving interests and needs at any given time.
- Context is especially critical in the discipline of content marketing. To cut through the content chaos and develop meaningful relationships with consumers, brands need to not only make and own original content that is relevant to the consumer and truly worthy of their time but also deliver it precisely at the right point so that the consumer will become curious enough to read it.
- The ability to deliver content at the ‘right time’ will require you to own marketing technology which can serve the correct piece of content in a manner that is contextually-relevant to the end-user.
- Content analytics is the process of structuring previously unstructured content, by extracting new information. It is the process of measuring content. The output – the measurements – is in the form of metadata that describes that content. This can include the topics, people, places, companies and concepts in the content,sentiment towards aspects of the content, and the language of that content. This in turn means computers can track an individual’s interaction with a piece of content and collect and draw trends about that individual’s tastes and interests.
- If you can understand your content, you can understand your customers. And – most importantly – know when and what is appropriate to send them.
The right channels
- Delivering content through the right channels can be a complex task.
- Firstly, it relies on you having the technology in place to identify and monitor customer interactions across different digital channels. Whilst this may be feasible for digital marketers who use a suite such as Adobe Marketing Cloud, the reality is few companies are so joined up – with best-of-breed point solutions being used for social, email, webCMS and mobile, with little-to-no cross-channel integration. The result is siloed channels that – independently – may well be serving relevant content very effectively, but disgruntled customers who are not presented with an intelligent, cross-channel experience.
- Secondly, it requires co-operation and organizational buy-in. Even if you have the technology to present a consistent and cohesive content experience across channels to customers, it counts for nought if the team being the tech are unsure of who has oversight over the customer database, which content is used first, how to best report no cross-channel exercises, and so on.
Delivering the right piece of content at the right time through the right channel is as much an art as it is a science. Fortunately, once you’ve got down the art of devising of creating (or even curating) large volumes of content that resonates with each reader, it should be reassuring to know that their are content intelligence platforms out there that can do the science of making sure the content is delivering in a contextually relevant way.