Once you commit yourself and your organization to content marketing, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut.
Suddenly “content” means articles. Or maybe white papers or webinars. And the focus becomes building an efficient, repeatable process for cranking out a steady flow of that particular asset type.
It’s important to avoid this trap, and to look for opportunities to vary the format of your value-adding content. Why? Well, here are two reasons:
- First, if you focus primarily on producing content in one format, you’re going to consistently bypass a percentage of your audience.
There are people who love learning via webinars, but who lack that same zeal for articles. There are others who won’t take time to watch a video, but will make a point to download or print a white paper and stick it in their “read on the plane” folder.
Punch out just one type of content over and over, and you’re glossing over these differences in learning styles and content-consumption preferences.
- Second, get into a monoculture mindset around content and you’ll never know how successful you might have been at creating engagement (however you define that term).
Varying formats let’s you test which types of content have a lifting or depressing impact. As the saying goes: “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”
Content as an Experience
Where I work, we’ve evolved this definition of content:
Value-adding information, interactions and experiences that drive relationship momentum
among audiences critical to an organization’s success.
I like the definition, in part, because those three words — information, interactions, experiences — invite us and challenge us to alway be thinking in terms of developing and delivering content in varied formats.
Yesterday I was treated to three great examples of content formatted as an “experience.” All three were described in an e-newsletter called trendcentral®, published by The Intelligence Group, a self-described ”youth focused consumer insights company.”
Trendcentral is a consistently eye-opening and thought-provoking resource. This issue — themed “Fitness Followers” – was no exception. It speaks to a trend toward new tracking technologies that help amateurs and professionals alike monitor their workouts and performances. Three examples cited were:
- Fitness clothing maker Under Armour partnering with software firm Zephyr on something called the E39. It’s a compression shirt with a built-in sensor that tracks and wirelessly transmits data on an athlete’s motion, heart rate, acceleration, g force and other data points related to performance.
- Wahoo Fitness, which has developed a device to feed workout statistics for runners, bikers and others to their smart phones.
- The Ski Track app, which enables skiers to track their number of runs, total miles covered, top speed attained, even visualize the runs they’ve skied via Google Earth maps.
If you’re feeling as though your content program is largely stuck in information mode, take a cue from the world of fitness. Next content planning session, devote some time to brainstorming an experience you could deliver for your desired audience.
Think about their work and life routines. What do they physically do during those activities? What would make their lives easier, richer, more informed? For example, how might you help them keep score of what they’re doing, so they can compare themselves with others, or pursue continuous improvement and personal bests?
In other words, is there a way to equip, empower or entertain your audience with a tool? An app? Content in the form of an experience.
Do you agree it’s wise to vary the format of the value-adding content you produce for your audience? Have a favorite example of content as an interaction or experience vs. purely as information? Would welcome your thoughts — and experiences — as comments.