Content marketers are always trying to figure out ways to make their content better. We spend hours tweaking headlines, experimenting with content length, and trying to come up with mind-blowing content ideas, all in the hope that we can snag our audience’s attention, one more time.

While it’s important to zero-in on each individual content asset and think about how it can be improved, the fact of the matter is that your poor content performance might not be your content’s fault.

Imagine you’re drinking a piña colada. It’s the exact same delicious piña colada, but you’re enjoying it in two different scenarios.

Scenario 1: You’re sipping the piña colada in your backyard. You can see your un-mown lawn, hear cars zooming down the street, and know that Wilson could peek over the fence at any moment.

Scenario 2: You’re sipping the piña colada on a beach. You smell the salty sea breeze, hear nothing but the sound of waves and are bothered by nothing but your own peaceful thoughts… ahhh.

Content Experience

I’m going to take a wild guess that the second scenario sounds far more appealing than the first.  Context is everything, and can have more impact than you might think. You’re probably far more likely to order more piña coladas on the beach than in your own backyard, or in a wet basement, or in any other unpleasant and unoptimized experience.

The same rule applies to content marketing: Your content is only as effective as the experience in which it lives.

Your content will be much more effective if it lives in an experience that’s designed to generate engagement, leads, or whatever your content marketing goals might be. With the average blog post taking three hours to create and costing $900 to produce, you can’t afford to let it sit unused — you need to put it in an environment that propels your audience down the funnel.

Aside from great, meaningful content, here are some elements you need to consider when building a content experience that’s designed to help your audience consume more of your content.

Ensure your experience is responsive

You probably already understand the importance of optimizing your content for mobile devices. If not, know that over 50% of content consumption happens on smartphones and tablets, so it’s time to acknowledge the fact that one size doesn’t fit all.

Whenever someone switches devices to consume your content, it causes a potential leak in your content experience. Plug the leaks by making sure your audience is able to consume your content — watch it, read it, share it, and enjoy it — regardless of device, time of day, or any other external factors.

How do you identify these leaks? Consider all points of entry into your content experience, and cater to them so content consumption is easy, fast and intuitive for the end-user.

Don’t play hide and seek with your content

Your blog or resource center (wherever you’re hosting the bulk of your content) should be set up like a grocery store, where everything is strategically organized, and there are signs indicating where particular items can be found.

Or, think of it this way: you wouldn’t want to walk into a grocery store and find all of the items piled in a gigantic heap on the floor, right? The same concept can be applied to your content experience. Organize your content strategically, and make it easy to find.

You can improve your content’s discoverability by:

When tackling content organization, consider the way in which people go about seeking content — they seek solutions, not types of content.

Content Experience

It might make sense for you to keep all of your videos and infographics sorted together in your menu, but you’re not the one you’re creating content for. It makes much more sense to organize your content by topic as opposed to type, and structure your blog or resource center menu accordingly.

Include relevant and contextual calls-to-action

Again, you don’t need me to tell you that CTAs are crucial for content marketing, especially where lead generation is concerned. Not just any CTAs will yield the response you’re looking for, however — CTAs will only work if they’re a contextual part of your content experience.

As such, your CTAs will be far more effective if they’re providing a relevant next step. For instance, if someone is reading a blog post entitled “10 Advanced Email Marketing Tips”, it makes no sense to present a CTA to download an eBook called “Email Marketing for Beginners”.

Content Experience

Content Experience

Or, if we’re working with the piña colada example from above, a more relevant CTA would probably say, “Click here to get caught in the rain.”

In all seriousness, if your CTAs aren’t a contextual part of the experience, they’ll most likely be ignored. At Uberflip, we tested a CTA for an eBook on Content Marketing metrics in two different streams of content — one containing a random assortment of eBooks, and one containing other related content marketing resources. The CTA converted at 14.9% in the eBook stream, and at 34.5% in the content marketing stream.

Context is everything.

Give your great content the great experience it deserves

Marketers are pouring a lot of time and resources into creating great content, but great content can only go so far. Putting your content in a well-optimized content experience can improve your content’s discoverability, increase your conversion rates, and improve your content marketing ROI.

Don’t limit your content’s potential. Focus on your content experience, and watch your content performance soar!

Victoria Hoffman