3 Things to Consider When Creating Your Content Strategy
Practical and useful digital content for consumers is not only key to creating a great user experience, but also in providing ROI for a corporation. With growing customer expectations, it’s evermore important for companies to be informed and intentional about which mediums they’re choosing to deliver content on and the kind of content they’re making accessible to users. Below are three things to consider when creating your content strategy; know your customer, be deliberate and measure effectiveness.
Rather than just “putting things out there”, you need to know your customers to determine what they need to successfully interact with your content. It is critical to perform user research, create personas, and map the customer journey. Uncovering when, how, and why your customers are interacting with you allows the business to strategically place content where the customer is, not where you hope they are. Forrester Research defines a mental shift in terms of customers as: “The expectation that any desired information or service be available, on any device, in context, at your moment of need.”
Customer research validates what, as a Subject Matter Expert (SME), you may already know, but isn’t biased by your department tasks or individual goals. Creating personas allows the view of the customer to live within the organization and allows strategic decisions to be made based on real customer data. Journey-Mapping the experiences of a customer identifies positive and negative opportunities.
One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is assuming which content is most important and relevant to their users.
After performing customer research studies and developing personas and customer journey maps, you can identify the most important content to your users.
On average, it only takes a small number of actual interviews to identify the top priorities that make the experience great for the customer. Jakob Neilsen recommends only five user interviews of a particular customer group to grasp 80% of usability problems within a digital system.
In addition to your customers, talk to your front-line employees about your customers to understand the most important priorities and what their interactions are along the way. This can be an easy way to determine where information should be distributed and what content is missing.
Planning direct and intentional interaction with customers can bring large ROI for the business. In a recent report by the Altimeter Group, Sony Online Community (March 2015, Susan Etlinger and Jessica Lieb), discovered that with deliberate access to customers, the business reaped profits. In one case, a post from one power user about how to solve a re-occurring problem saved the company $350,000 immediately and solved a content problem for many other customers.
Another approach to identify content to improve a customer’s experience is to gather and analyze existing data. One specific way is to identify the top ten complaints over a three-to-six week period. This is a quick and easy way to see the major customer issues and the areas the customers attributed as successes or failures to the company. For your customers, seeing issues addressed will improve their experience. While all items discovered may not be easy to fix immediately, the method gives the business a roadmap of areas to improve. Using content to supplement areas that may be negative, like an explanation of why or immediate links to a help site, can drastically improve the CX.
Direct and deliberate contact with customers is the easiest way to control the messaging and improve the overall customer experience.
The culture of content should include KPI’s and measurement of content effectiveness. More important than getting data out there, the content should support the customer and employee interactions and needs. Looking at content that is relevant to “me” is the most important thing for a good experience. In an app, allowing inline help rather than having to search a library is an example of a customer experience being simplified and improved, being able to consume the content in a more contextual manner. Identifying the sentiment of the content and it’s messaging of your brand will shape how it is received in the marketplace.
Content is about experience, not sales and marketing. Understanding the mindshare of the customers’ thought process helps to determine content and conversation topics and the appropriate channel to distribute. Being clear and deliberate about what is provided eliminates troublesome experiences for your customers. Validation that the content is meaningful and helpful for your customer will provide better experience. There are moments along the customer journey the business can identify whether they are positively impacting the experience. By knowing your customers, creating a strategic, planned distribution of content, and putting in points of measurement, you will create a driver for content innovation that helps the customer and the business experience.