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How Your Content Experience Impacts Your Brand's Story

_This guest post was written by Victoria Hoffman at Uberflip, a platform that allows marketers to create, manage, and optimize content experiences for every stage of the buyer journey._

One of the many benefits of content marketing is having the ability to leverage content to illustrate your brand’s story. The typical process of content marketing – defined by creation, distribution, and insights – enables marketers to set up, distribute, and measure the effectiveness of the story they’re telling.

However, this process is leaving out a critical step in brand storytelling. It’s neglecting to account for the content experience, which plays a huge role in providing context – an element that is crucial to effectively portraying your brand’s story.

But what exactly do we mean by “content experience”?

What is a content experience?

Your content experience is the environment in which your content lives. This environment is created by a number of components that are often overlooked:

Content organization and management – Part of building a great content experience involves centralizing and organizing your content to tear down content “silos”. Content silos occur when your content leads to a dead end – for instance, if you send inbound traffic outbound to watch a video on YouTube, you’re creating a content silo because you have little control over the content they consume next. Odds are, it’s a cute cat video, not more of your brand’s content.

Elements of engagement – A well-optimized content experience allows your end user to continue their content journey by easily following an engagement path. This includes providing relevant content recommendations, adding social sharing buttons, including exit overlays, and so on.

Below is an example of a pop-up CTA powered by exit-intent technology on Gleam’s blog. The placement, design, and copy leverage context to encourage visitors to continue their content journey.

Integrated lead generation – Your content experience must be optimized to move visitors through the funnel to generate leads and fuel marketing automation. This means that all aspects of lead generation (forms, landing pages, etc.) must be an integrated part of your content experience.

DoubleDutch generates leads by utilizing an overlay CTA form to gate premium content assets (see below).

It takes more than brilliant design to create a remarkable content experience – the conditions and surroundings in which your content lives can have a massive impact on your buyer’s journey, and therefore, your brand’s story.

Why do content experiences matter?

You could have the best content in the world, but if it’s living in an experience that’s poorly designed and doesn’t work to drive your visitors on an engagement path with your brand, your content won’t perform optimally.

Think of it this way: imagine you’re drinking a piña colada. You can either choose to drink the piña colada in a dark, moldy basement or on a beautiful, sunny beach. I’m guessing you’d prefer to drink it on the beach – the entire experience is optimized for you to enjoy your drink (and perhaps order another one).

The moral of the story? On its own, great content isn’t enough. It needs to be presented in a remarkable experience to improve performance and allow your audience to connect more deeply with your brand’s story.

How can you leverage your content experience to tell your brand’s story?

Meaning can’t be derived without context. Your content experience provides the context and relevance that your visitors need to make your content meaningful.

For example, take a look at the photo below. The man is crying, so we’d probably assume that something terrible and sad must have happened to him, right?

Not necessarily – when provided with the context of the photo, you learn that he’s a groom laying eyes on his beautiful bride on his wedding day (hopefully, one of the happiest days of his life!).

By organizing your content to create a tailored journey, including elements of engagement, and integrating your lead generation methods, you’re providing context so your visitors will be able to easily discover the content that’s most relevant to them.

When it comes to communicating your brand’s story, design is extremely important. However, great design and great content aren’t enough to push your visitors through the funnel and allow them to truly connect with your brand.

That’s what your content experience is for – optimize it to provide the right context for your audience, regardless of where their relationship with your brand may stand.