The Content Revolution: Rethinking Content Strategy for an Adaptive World

fistHow to use the tools you’ve got to implement a brand new adaptive content strategy.

Adaptive content is the new kid on the block who’s here to stay. The budding new content revolution amounts to delivering a consumer-oriented experience with content that is contextually relevant and adapts to user changes. This means changing the way that we think about and create content.

Here are three pointers to consider in the context of adaptive content. When embarking into the exciting new world of adaptation, it’s helpful to remember the basics, in a brand new way:


1. Know Your Target Audience

This is one of the most fundamental aspects of marketing. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that most of you reading this are not only already aware of the need to know your target audience, but also have shrines dedicated to buyer personas erected around your office to which you periodically offer sacrificial bags of Cheetos. Which is all to say, you’re familiar with the concept of getting to know your consumer.

Whether you are marketing directly to customers or to other businesses, buyer personas can allow you to develop a deeper and more personal sense of who your consumers are. Understand their motivations and what might lead them to your product or service, estimate their income bracket, and even try to tap into some potential personal interests and hobbies. This all serves to help you create relevant content.

While buyer personas are nothing new, adaptive content takes them to another level.Implementing an adaptive content strategy means considering which devices your buyers are likely to use, at what stage of the buyer journey specific content might be relevant, and which formats to offer for deliverables on which devices.

Whether your buyer is on a PC, tablet, smartphone, e-reader or using social media, your content should be accessible and deliver an experience suitable to the user context. Moreover, if a user switches devices, his or her experience should flow as seamlessly as possible to the next device.

2. Stop Generating Format-Specific Content

We’re switching to an omni-channel experience, which means no more format-specific content. In the words of NPR, a leading adaptive content strategist: Create Once, Publish Everywhere.

Let’s say I write a blog post about how much I love my cat. This can easily be converted into an infographic of all the reasons I love my cat. Infographics are readily transformed in animated short videos or PowerPoint presentations. I can even record a podcast about how awesome my cat is, and in the end, wrap everything up neatly and publish as an e-book. See how much content I got out of one topic?

This is relevant to adaptive content because not only should content be published in as many deliverables as possible, but web pages must also be designed to convert into as many device-appropriate formats as possible. This means an Internet page can load on a PC, a mobile device, a tablet or an e-reader, offering a similar user experience on all channels, but catering to the user’s context with relevant deliverables.


3. Consider How You Will Use Customer Information

While some businesses prefer to only use information that has been consciously provided by the user, others are okay with using anonymous information, such as location provided by an IP address. An Econsultancy report found that 42 percent of marketers use anonymous data to personalize their user experiences.

However, businesses may be surprised at how willing users can be to provide personal information, as long as their information can enhance their experience. According to a Janrain study, 57 percent of consumers are okay with providing personal information as long as it’s used to their benefit. What’s more, 74 percent of online consumers get frustrated when they are shown irrelevant content, making personalization a must.

Some other data points that can enhance user experience may include:

  •    Their stage in the buyer journey
  •    Their purchasing history
  •    Micro-conversions — In other words, a user’s history of zooming in on a photo of a product without actually purchasing it.


Fine-Tune and Do It Again

Adaptive content is still a budding new concept in the marketing world, and it will take substantial fine-tuning to really get the hang of it. Technology that can handle implementing content across all devices has yet to grace the marketing world, but when it does, adaptive content is going to skyrocket. Strategizing for adaptive content sooner rather than later can help businesses keep up with the Joneses instead of being the last one to the party.

What techniques will you use to implement an adaptive content strategy?

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