The Ultimate Guide to Content Experience

There's no question that content is king in the marketing world. But what good is great content if it's not properly presented to your audience? In this ultimate guide to content experience, we'll take you through what content experience is and why it's important to get it right.

Illustration showing a computer screen with elements of content experience.

What is Content Experience and Why Should You Care?

If you care about your customer, then you care about understanding what content experience is. 

According to Spiceworks, Content experience is “the experience of accessing, consuming and engaging with and responding to a stream of brand content across diverse devices, platforms and channels, through the journey from prospect to customer.”

Great content experiences should be relevant, personalized, timely, consistent and convenient and should engage and delight your prospect, leading them along the path to conversion. This may sound like a tall order, but it is vital to put yourself in the shoes of your audience and understand what they want to hear and how they would like to access their information.

Of course, enterprises are constantly putting out content in a wide variety of formats, but are they thinking of the impact their content is having on the customer or are they just sending out the messages they want to broadcast? 

Each touchpoint is important and can either draw a customer in or push them away to a competitor. We all have experience of engaging with a business and then finding the communications are at best disappointing, and at worst irritating. Is the tone correct?  Is your name spelled correctly? Is the frequency of the marketing too much or too little? There are many ways to make customers happy or unhappy, and these emotions are what make up the customer experience. This decides whether or not the customer will keep doing business with a company or turn to its competitors.

The enterprises that prioritize content experience management are the ones that win your attention and get recommended to your friends and family. And that’s the goal, to stand out from the crowd and turn your prospects into customers and then into fans of your brand. If your customers are fans they will become loyal ambassadors, spreading the word, and that is the holy grail.

How Does Content Marketing Differ From Content Experience?

Content marketing is usually defined by a three-pillar system including creation, distribution and insights. This doesn’t take a significant pillar into account: experience. Content experience is a more holistic approach than just creation, consumption and measurement. It is the designing of a journey and the thinking about how the prospect would like you to talk to them, what they would like to find out, and giving it to them in their favorite format. Content marketing requires a bird’s eye view of all your marketing content and a strategy. Without a strategy your content marketing will be scattergun and although some of it might resonate, it’s too much of a gamble to rely on chance. 

The Challenges of Creating Content Experiences

Content experience refers to the way in which content is presented to users on a given platform and how it is received. CMS platforms and experience platforms provide different content experiences, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

One challenge of content experience is that it can be difficult to structure content in a way that is easy for users to consume. There is such a diverse range of devices, platforms and channels and each of these needs to offer a frictionless experience. Testing on a range of devices with tools such as browserstack that give a real-time simulation of devices and browsers can be helpful.

Content experiences can also be frustrating if they are not well-designed or if they do not meet the needs of the user. The prospect will quickly notice poorly designed engagement tactics or a lack of personalization. To avoid this, you must understand the different buyer personas in your target audience and tailor your content to each of them in a suitable format for each persona.

Lastly, the perennial challenge is determining ROI. Marketers need to be able to see what is working and use these lessons for future campaigns.

How to Create Great Content Experiences

Creating great content experiences takes strategy and planning. You need to identify who you’re speaking to and put yourself in their shoes. And once that’s done, you can start getting creative. In a crowded marketplace it pays to stand out and be remembered.

First, make your content easy and fun to digest. You don’t want to make your audience have to work to understand what you’re offering. Use a variety of formats including graphics, videos, podcasts, blogs, emails and more, because different people respond differently. Ensure it is mobile optimized because there is likely to be a mobile touchpoint somewhere along the way, even if it is not for the entire journey. Make sure your website is fast and responsive, as this is something Google measures and takes into account (see Core Web Vitals). A speedy website is more likely to keep customers engaged than one that is sluggish.

And lastly, ensure your content is personalized, not just with the customers’ names but in thinking about what is relevant to them. What are the benefits to the user? Is it useful and informative? Is the information trustworthy and correct? If it ticks those boxes you’re giving your prospect what they want and need. 

Infographic summarizing six ways to maximize user experiences.

So, what are the steps you need to take to create highly engaging content experiences? As with most marketing, before you can get creative you need to do the research and lay the foundations. Gartner finds that “30% of organizations have established their customer journey maps, but struggle to use them effectively.” The foundational CX elements must be in place, and actionable, accurate customer journey maps should be created. Once you have prepared the groundwork and created the engaging content, it needs to be managed, updated, refreshed, distributed and lastly, analyzed. After all, there is no point in creating great content and not learning from it.

5 Steps to Creating Content Experiences

  1. Content audit
  2. Content creation
  3. Content management
  4. Content distribution
  5. Content analytics

Examples of Content ExperiencesThere are a plethora of ways to use content to communicate with your audience and draw them along the buying journey. B2B businesses often need to present long-form technical content so the challenge is to make it sticky, interesting and useful. 

Here are some of the most common ways content experience is used by B2B companies:

White papers: Widely used as reference material, these can easily be linked to and shared.

Digital magazines and brochures: These formats are versatile, engaging and offer easy-to-measure interaction such as read time, sharing on social media and more.

Digital reports: The challenge with large amounts of data is presenting it clearly, accurately and in a format that can be shared easily.

Email and interactive newsletters: These are among the most cost-effective and widely used methods of interacting with prospects and customers and can support video, embedded forms, smart CTAs and personalization.

Common Mistakes in Creating Content Experiences

As with any complex and meaningful marketing activity, there are plenty of potential pitfalls to be aware of when creating content experiences.  These mistakes are easy to avoid with a good content experience strategy:

  • Poor personalization
  • Poor quality messaging and graphics 
  • Not planning the whole content journey
  • Overlooking distribution
  • Neglecting accessibility
  • Slow user experience 
  • Not optimizing for mobile devices
  • Not setting up tracking and reporting

The Future of Content Experience: How to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Nathaniel Hunter, writing on, said he believes “the future of content will be digitally defined in a more immersive, touchable and interactive experience.”  What we do know for sure is that the speed of change is increasing and more possibilities are entering the race with every technological advance.

Multiexperience will evolve in the digital world and according to Joseph Dickerson, “AR, VR and mixed reality experiences will become a more accepted part of how people engage with technology.”

All content experience creators need to eembrace new technologies on the market and continue to test new and immersive experiences.

What Tools Do You Need to Create Great Content Experiences?

​​For great content experiences you need a powerful content experience platform (CXP), and that starts with choosing the right foundation. To build an efficient and effective CXP, begin with a modern, MACH-based headless content management system.

MACH” is a term for modern technology that is:

  • Microservices-based
  • API-first
  • Cloud-native
  • Headless

A MACH headless CMS is the ideal foundation for an omnichannel content experience because, at its core, headless CMS separates content creation and management from content formatting and distribution. 

API technology enables the front-end display layer to communicate with the back-end content repository without intertwining their functionality.

Thanks to this modular architecture, marketing teams are able to create content once, reformat it and republish it across various platforms, devices and channels. The flexibility is endless. In addition, this means marketers can plug in microservices such as best-in-class solutions to upgrade the content experience — no expensive, slow development process needed.

See a Content Experience Platform in Action

Ready to level up your content experience marketing? Request a demo of the Contentstack platform and see why top brands are choosing our content experience platform.

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