As the business environment becomes more interactive and "social," content must follow step and become more experiential. I was working on a project over the weekend and thinking about the entire experience we were building for prospects with content.
Content is not just about an email send, or a blog post, or a white paper, or a Tweet. Content marketing is not just about getting people to read (likely scan) one piece. What's important is what happens next.
What kind of ripple did your content cause for them? Did you introduce new ideas compelling enough for them to play with?
Which idea do you think stuck with them? Or did they go away with nothing memorable? What will all the ideas shared by your content build up to over time?
What do they do after they read your content? Do they share it with their peers, or on their social networks? Do they do whatever it is you asked them to do? (you have a call to action, right?)
Do you think they're anticipating their next interaction with your company? What can you do to ensure that they do?
How do you think their impression of your company changed after they interacted with your content? How did you want it to?
When I talk about the content experience, I'm talking about the comprehensive experience over the long-term complex buying process. Do you think about that big picture view or are you still focused on one touch at a time?
Are you developing a relationship or simply trying to stay top of mind? (being helpful vs. checking in to see if they're ready to buy)
To plan for the content experience, we have to do more than plan for 12 touches across a 9 month buying cycle. We have to build a story. The story has to be so compelling that your prospects decide to become part of it by choosing to do business with your company because they want to experience the reality of it for themselves.
And, the story has to be available beyond your email sends. Your story has to be sharable. It needs pathways and intersections at various distribution points and to provide discoveries that delight, educate and involve.