It started with one of our weekly “content roundup” emails. Our CMO and President had received the marketing email direct to his inbox and after watching one of the featured videos, and clicking around the content, he noticed there were no calls-to-action accompanying our podcasts and when he clicked through to the Hub there were competing CTAs. And it didn’t sit well... with anyone. It was an oversight that sent our demand generation and content teams into a frenzy. How did this happen? We tested this! Who is responsible? The truth is, we didn’t really know.
We work for a content experience company. So naturally, you’d expect us to have it together when it comes to just that—content experience. But we quickly realized that the way we were doing things, didn’t exactly line up.
Now that’s not to say we weren’t mindful of our content experience. The content team thought through the experience with every new piece of content added to the Hub. And the demand gen team did the same as they built out their emails and CTAs. But when something broke that crossed lines between the two teams, who could be held accountable? And more importantly, how could we prevent this from happening again?
A Missed Step
What that email blunder illustrated was that we couldn’t work in a silo, caring strictly about the aspect of content experience that pertained to our role when we had the time. It was too risky. The second you do something cross-functional or get too busy, it’s easy to make assumptions and miss the experience altogether.
As it turned out we had missed a step on our path to real content experience ownership. If for us like most companies, this was a shared responsibility, then we couldn’t just assume that one person would look at the experience atop their other duties. We had to talk about it more, review it specifically, and collaborate on experience improvement and optimization with other people who shouldered the responsibility.
So that’s exactly what we did. In the short term, we scheduled content experience check-ins and turned our gaze inward to examine where we could offer an all-out better experience ourselves. (I’m not saying a refreshed Hub is coming but I’m also not, not saying it!)
And rather than assuming who between teams was responsible for what, we started defining what aspects of the experience we owned, and where we could work together. We started asking the question organizationally—who should own the content experience? We asked it of our marketing team, of our customers, and eventually, we even wrote an ebook on the topic.
But the biggest change we’ve made overall is hiring a Director of Content Experience whose main priority is ensuring our experience is optimized across all our properties and channels.
We’re still figuring out exactly what that looks like, but our new Content Experience Director sits between content, brand, demand gen, and product. Her top priority is assessing where our experience can be improved and mapping everything back to what’s needed at what stage of the buyer journey. In this way, she’s looking at the experience through the lens of environment, structure, and engagement. She’s responsible for ensuring the experience is consistent visually (the environment), that the user experience makes sense for our visitors (structure), and that everything aligns with what stage they’re at in the buyer journey and is optimized for them to engage with us further (engagement).
On the Right Track
With a better understanding of where each of our positions can help optimize the experience and a new Director-level role to focus on just that, we’re in a better position to truly own, manage, and optimize our end-to-end content experience. If something like that email blunder ever happened again, we’d know what questions to ask, and who to turn to.
But the beauty of this change is that it shouldn’t. It hasn’t so far.
And to think this all started with an email.