You know your audience. You’ve done your research. Your copy is on-brand and edited to perfection. Your distribution strategy is proven to spread your content far and wide across millions of screens.
In short, you’ve created a shiny new piece of interactive content that you know your audience will love.
But what happens when it doesn’t perform as expected?
Before you waste your time nitpicking at all the little things that might be wrong with your individual piece of content – font size, headlines, and so on – I’m going to tell you to stop.
You see, the problem might not be with your content. The problem might be with your content experience.
So, how do you create a content experience that’s sure to help your content generate leads?
Crafting Your Content
Your content must be valuable, relevant and consistent. Equally as important, however, is that it must also tie back to your content marketing goals.
Every single piece of content you create should be accompanied by a clear plan outlining how it will help you get more views, downloads, subscribers, or whatever you’re trying to achieve.
For example, running a quiz “just for fun” is only a good idea of you want your audience to just have fun before they bounce. If your ultimate goal is to incorporate the quiz as part of a larger campaign — e.g., to encourage webinar registrations or eBook downloads — it’s not enough to just put up a quiz and hope for the best.
Ensure the quiz is engaging enough to complete to the end, and provide guidance as to what the reader should do next (more on that below). Have one goal in mind for the next step — don’t ask multiple things of your audience.
Once you’ve hooked your audience by having them complete the quiz, don’t just let them go! Supporting your awesome content with a killer content experience will help compel them to stay and eventually convert.
Building The Content (User) Experience
As intelligent and savvy as your audience members are, they don’t always know what they want. As a marketer, it’s YOUR job to make it easy for them to find out.
And do exactly that: Make it easy.
Think about IKEA’s shopping experience. You don’t just drop into IKEA and have to fight your way through a pile of furniture to find your Ektorp sofa— IKEA provides a clear engagement path that makes your shopping experience all the more delightful. You go exactly where they want you to and ultimately end up at the checkout.
Provide a similar engagement path in your content marketing. Do this by:
- Including targeted & contextual CTAs: Let’s say you write a blog post called “10 Advanced Marketing Tips”, but you include a CTA at the bottom of the post that reads, “Free eBook: Content Marketing for Beginners”. This doesn’t make any sense! Your CTAs should be as targeted and contextual to your content as possible to create a smooth content experience.
- Incorporating responsive design: One size doesn’t fit all. Make sure your audience is able to consume your content in the best format, regardless of device, time of day, or any other external factors.
- Organizing your content strategically: Don’t invite your guests to a messy home. Organize your content in a way that makes sense for your audience (e.g. by format, buyer persona, etc.) to help increase discoverability.
- Featuring recommended content: Use a content recommendation tool like BrightInfo to feature other awesome pieces of your content that are related to the subject matter of the content currently being consumed. If someone is reading up on tips to generate quizzes, chances are they’ll be more inclined to read more about it.
- Including appropriate visuals: There is so much data surrounding the effectiveness of visual content that it astounds me when marketers either don’t use images or don’t use images effectively. Take the time to find, produce and optimize images that enhance your content experience.
- Including social share buttons and a search bar: These features sound simple, but they’ll not only make your content easy to find and share, but will also help you gauge which kind of content your audience is more willing to consume.
Gating Content for Lead Gen
Once you’ve built your content experience with the considerations above, it’s time to start generating leads. The best and fastest way to generate leads from your content? Gate your premium content to capture your visitor’s information.
When it comes to choosing a “gatekeeper” for your content, there are a couple of options available.
- Landing Pages: Landing pages are great because they allow you to generate a compelling headline, more visuals, and can be optimized to improve performance. However, using a landing page usually involves removing your user from your content, which could create a leaky content experience.
- Pop-up or “overlay” CTAs: Overlay CTAs provide a much more integrated approach to lead generation as they can be placed just on top of a piece of content, creating that feeling of having something “just out of reach”. Using these types of CTAs also shortens the conversion path by skipping the step of waiting for the piece of content to arrive in your inbox — once the form is completed, it’s right there and ready for consumption.
I could go on about best practices for gating premium content, but at the end of the day, your method of capturing leads must be integrated into your content experience.
Put Your Awesome Content in an Awesome Experience
Don’t let your amazing content go to waste, and don’t underestimate the power of an amazing content experience.
Put your content in an experience that is designed to achieve your goals and easy for your users to follow. Then, give yourself a high-five as the leads start pouring in!
Victoria Hoffman is the Content & Community Manager at Uberflip, a platform that helps marketers create, manage and optimize content experiences at every stage of the funnel to boost engagement and generate leads. She also contributes to The Globe and Mail as a Gen Y Money blogger. When not talking social strategy, she can be found watching Netflix and eating pizza.