In today’s world, eCommerce is transforming how businesses interact with their customers. Engaging customers through online content is now a key factor for success. Nowadays, more and more people prefer to learn about companies through their videos, articles, images, or even AI assistants. Indeed, having just an attractive website or catchy advertisements isn’t enough. Much more is needed for a business to engage, delight, and develop long-term relationships with their customers. So, how can you build strong relationships with your audience in this digital era? Choosing a content first approach is the way forward.
The idea of a content first approach isn’t new. Previously, it was limited to software development teams working on web-based user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX). However, businesses need to change this practice and expand it to the rest of the organization. Indeed, businesses shouldn”t confine content development to their web designers or the sales team for generating leads. In fact, it’s imperative for business leaders to drive content development as a business’ online presence greatly impacts their customers’ perceptions. In this article, I’ll explore a content first strategy for business and its benefits. Moreover, I’ll offer you suggestions on kickstarting your journey towards long-term customer relationships using a content first approach.
Businesses! An Online Presence Is No Longer Just A Sales Pitch, It’s How Customers Get To Know You.
If you think about it, many businesses now have most of their customer interactions online. Increasingly, more and more successful businesses have little to no human interaction with their customers. For example, look at Amazon. When was the last time you even talked with one of their employees? Probably never. At the same time, most of us have interacted with Amazon.com’ content hundreds of times a year. As a result, we “know” Amazon fairly well and probably have a favorable opinion of the company. Hence, more and more customers know businesses by their online content, be it web pages, videos, graphics, sound, social media posts, etc.
What’s more, many online customers desire to know businesses by their online content rather than by advertising. For example, according to surveys 78% of customers prefer to learn about a brand from their content and not from paid ads. More and more repeat customers are drawn to businesses that provide informative links, list tutorials, detailed product content, information from outside sources, photography, how-to video content. Customers get interested in companies, not for their 30-second ads, but by businesses both telling their story and guiding their customers through content to meet their specific needs. See Digitalbrandinstitute’s A Content-first Approach to Redesigning Your Firm’s Website for more on the importance of content.
A Content-First Approach Is Key For Businesses To Improve Their Customer’s Experience.
So, a business’ online content is becoming a critical component for businesses to assure a positive customer experience. Your customers’ online user experience (UX) is not just something to be left to web developers, software developers, or even your marketing team. In today’s competitive business landscape, developing a positive user experience and adopting a content-first approach are crucial to driving growth and ensuring customer satisfaction.
By focusing on the needs and expectations of your target audience, a content-first approach enables you to create a seamless experience that resonates with your customers. A business’ ultimate goal is a customer experience that leads to increased engagement and loyalty resulting in increased business growth.
Is Your Customer’s User Experience There To Dazzle Or Is It Content-Driven To Fulfill Both A Specific Business Goal and Customer Need?
While having an aesthetically pleasing website or app is important, it’s crucial to not lose sight of the purpose behind your online presence and your goal to delight customers. A content-driven UX should focus on meeting specific business objectives, such as increasing conversions or improving customer retention rates. By prioritizing content over flashy design elements, you can create a customer experience that delivers relevant information to your users. Further, this content is in a format that is easy to digest and interact with. This not only helps drive business goals but also enhances customer satisfaction.
Content First Approach Benefits: It Enables Your Business To Design An Engaging Customer Journey.
When you prioritize content from the beginning within your business, you’re able to create a thoughtful and seamless customer journey tailored specifically to your target audience. This includes crafting easy-to-understand messaging, mapping out how users will navigate through your website or app, and identifying any gaps in the customer experience. By considering content from the start, you’ll be able to create an engaging customer experience that guides consumers through every step of their journey with your brand. The benefits of a content first approach for your business includes:
8 Business Benefits Of A Content First Approach
- Improved Customer Experience Through A Customer-Centric Focus. Able to prioritize content based on target audience needs and preference.
- Increases Organic Online Traffic. Content plays a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO) when your content is high-quality, well-structured.
- Build Long-term Relationships Through Enhanced Brand Storytelling. Compelling stories resonate with your target audience. Quality content establishes an emotional connection with customers.
- Brand Consistency Across All Content Channels. By defining your core message and content themes upfront, consistency across all media channels builds trust and credibility with customers.
- Increases Collaboration Among Teams. When a business adopts a content first approach, collaboration increases as each team is working with the same information architecture, goals, and themes in communicating with customers.
- Personalizes the Customer Journey. Focusing on content first enables the UX to be intuitive, user-friendly, and meet the needs of the target audience.
- Streamlines Content Production and Distribution. A business is able to streamline content production by re-using content across teams and media. Additionally, re-writes and updates are minimized.
- Easier To Adapt to Evolving Consumer Preferences. Teams across the organization can confidently and easily keep improving software and content while keeping customer engagement consistent.
How Do You Take A Content First Approach To Designing A Customer Experience?
From my perspective, businesses can adopt a content-first approach in a similar manner that is used by web-design teams with developing an user experience (UX) for a web site. The big difference is that a business would implement their content first approach across the organization. Specifically, this would include any departments that interface or develops customer interfaces. This could include marketing, sales, operations, IT, and management. Management would lead this process to assure cohesion and a common understanding across the organization. For example, below is an 8-step process following a content first approach that a company could use:
8-Step Content First Design Process For Businesses
- Define Your Business’ Content Strategy. This strategy defines delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time based on your business goals.
- Develop A Plan With Timelines. This will define how the organization will develop content initially and on-going.
- Conduct An Inventory And Evaluate Your Content In Terms Of Quantity And Quality. This includes not only types of content, but also the quality of the content – i.e. how useful it is and does it align with business goals.
- Map And Prototype How Your Customers Will Converse With Your Content. This can be a role playing exercise to identify how your customers will interact with the content to reach their goal.
- Create Content Maps That Tell The Story Of Your Customers’ Journey. These content maps identify what customers want, the steps they take, and identify their pain points.
- Test and Verify Your Content Maps. Here you test the validity of your content maps. This can include prototyping and even usability studies. The goal is to mitigate user pain points.
- Finalize Your Content. This can include any type of content such as text, pictures, sound, or video. Indeed, it is whatever content will help achieve both your business goals and your customers’ particular goals.
- Enable This As An Ongoing Process Throughout The Business Organization. This is an iterative approach that all stakeholders in all parts of the organization continue to optimize and update to meet the business objectives.
Writer and Supply Chain Tech Expert. Passionate about giving actionable insights on information technology, business, innovation, creativity, and life in general.