Anyone doing business online wants to improve conversion rates. In this search for revenue, visitors reading news or shopping e-commerce have become the target of an advanced machinery of ad campaigns and product display optimizations. This maximizes traffic, minimizes time-to-sale, and business is good.
But are visitors happy? When they see your website as a product of the consumer industry, your platform becomes a commodity. Then it is only a matter of time before your audience leaves for some more competitive offering. What if you could have someone come to your website because they want to and actually like it?
I believe generating traffic and retention comes down to something much more sane and simple: being able to provide visitors with a well-designed content experience they can enjoy.
The ABCs of conversion through brand image
Acquiring traffic 👀
Increasing volumes of content produced allow you to broadcast to a wider audience. It may require quite an investment — both in time and expense — but it is key to allow more backlinks and to reach diverse customer segments. Translate your communication to reach other markets, launch new editorial initiatives to issue various topics, and you will be perceived as a content-ready player that drives organic traffic.
Making content easier to find will get eyes on your words. That means investing in organic search optimization. Getting the right keywords is not enough though, you should hit those with consistency, and make the effort of localizing your SEO strategy.
Being more focused on content implicates a reflection will happen at some point to decide what direction should be taken: what is important for you to say? What style do you convey? What culture do you show? How will visitors identify with published content? Brand image goes beyond marketing to become a value proposition.
However this is becoming standard practice now, as we see strong editorial sections, multilingual content, and well-referenced landing pages everywhere. This is where you need to differentiate, and where content experience comes in.
Maintaining traffic 🥕
If you feel like it is difficult to get your audience’s attention once, an even harder challenge is to have them allocate more of their precious time to you. Even if you hit the right customer segment that has developed an interest in what you do, they are likely to focus on something — or someone — else. Competition is fierce and as a rule you can assume that what you offer, someone else does it too, and at a lower price. Visitor retention is doomed to fail gradually over time if your differentiators are about features or price.
So making sure someone will happily return to your website has to do with something else than driving traffic with ads and click-through rates monitoring. It is not about what the website can offer; it is about how the visitor will enjoy it every time.
How can your website indulge a reader in a way others can’t? With an experience. Your own branded experience is harder to replicate. Visitors will stick to you when you give them content that make them feel like they are taken care of differently. That is how you can get a real shot at their attention.
Am I doing Content Experience?
A partner of ours came to our Wezen office this week and said to me:
I understand that providing an online experience to a customer brings value to a product or service, and differentiates it from commodities. So I do invest in creating a Product Experience to take care of my customers so they like what I sell with different media.
I had mentioned Content Experience before in the conversation so he asked:
To what extent to you think Content Experience is already part of my operations?
I don’t believe content creation should be seen only as one element of a specific strategy— product, marketing, digital, communication… — so I asked him to consider a few other questions:
– Do you feel like you are the first one to publish what you say online? – Do you know if translations are shared between your teams? – How many new articles could you publish tomorrow morning? – How do you know if a new page is SEO optimal?
Content Experience is not necessarily about making content right in each practice. It is about your overall ability to provide 4 decisive layers of value.
It is about giving users content that is:
Whether you are selling or publishing online, the value of what you say starts decreasing as soon as you release it. Either because someone else is soon saying something similar, or because your content has an expiration date, impact fades over time.
For instance, pure players make all kinds of efforts to decrease time-to-market and try to be first. This gives a competitive advantage that drives traffic directly to the brand: they can be perceived as the player that provides everything before anyone else does.
So before launching any content initiative, just ask yourself: how can I make sure I am publishing content that has never been done before? In particular, checking that you are not duplicating content by yourself over several media is a good practice. As a side benefit, it will boost your SEO score.
Providing content that is new is important. And making sure its readers are interested is paramount. That means you should pay attention to who your audience really is: what are your customer segments? Where do they come from? When do they access your website? What content are they currently most fond of?
Then you can define the strategy necessary to ensure they benefit from the content experience you propose.
For instance, visitors don’t read a website the same way when they come from Hong Kong, Dubai, Paris, or New York, and they don’t use the same devices to navigate. There is a cultural bias related to digital practices which, if overlooked, can do damage to local experiences.
Make content that will suit each customer segment and make them feel like they are not being overlooked.
Players that are content-ready can overflow the market with exclusive content. Content experience is about volume and a constant flow of exceptional information.
If you have written 100,000 words this year, try 1 million next year. You need visibility and your audience needs new content to consume. So don’t refrain yourself and publish big, and make sure you publish regularly enough to keep your visitors tuned in.
You are creating value for yourself through content. So content should not be generic, it should be branded with your very own digital signature. Find a way to deliver content that visitors find specific to you, either in its format, context or value.
Investing in content quality and consistency is key for your visitors to perceive and integrate your culture. Again, SEO terminology is the crux of Content Experience as it is the common DNA for your global content factory.
Facing the 3 Qs of Content XP?
By now it seems the recipe for Content Experience takes 3 necessary ingredients: Quantity, Quality, and Quickness.
However getting huge volumes of high quality content under short deadlines is a challenge and obviously comes at a price.
So the issue companies should tackle first is preparing a context that is financially viable for the project of delivering content experience. Take how much a word written on your website costs you today. If you provide 10x more content and then translate it in 10 languages, can you afford the total budget? The emerging solution we see is a combination of 2 major ways to re-invent your company.
Re-inventing your organization as a Content Factory. To tackle the 3 Qs and industrialize content production, some industrial organization is to be implemented. With dedicated teams, objectives and key results, skills on different media, and a strong multicultural awareness, you can master efficient content production at a global level, and cut down costs overall.
Re-inventing your technology with a Digital Factory. New systems are required to maximize content contribution and availability. For instance Wezen integrates with Product Information Managers (PIM) and Content Management Systems (CMS) and is a platform for you to compose your content experience. Those systems assist processes so that you don’t lose time and power on basic tasks. As a result, you gain quantity, quality, quickness, and budget.
I believe visitor retention is about making them appreciate a context and service they wouldn’t expect. Not only should we make sure content fits what they need, we should go after a reason for them to stay. It implies a transition of businesses to shift from doing campaign ads to a focus on making valuable content. Players who manage to achieve this transition and become content-ready will win the love of a growing audience, and business along with it.