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Multimodal Content: How Connecting with Audiences Should Smell, Sound, and Feel

September 3, 2019

Presented by: Zontee Hou, President, Media Volery

The way audiences engage with content has evolved drastically over the last 15 years. Our smart speakers tell us jokes. More of our screens involve touch than don’t. And we expect our brands to engage us in conversation. Are you ready for the multimodal reality of content marketing in 2020 and beyond? 

In this session, Zontee Hou explores the world of multimodal content and the key trends that will shape the future of content marketing. 

Session Notes

Zontee Hou was a very engaging and articulate speaker. She seemed genuinely happy to share her knowledge, made light jokes throughout the presentation, and allowed room for the audience to laugh. At the end of her presentation, she held a five-minute Q&A. At first, the audience was shy and not many hands were up, but Zontee gave examples and encouraged the audience to ask her questions about their own work that she might be able to help with. Once she loosened everyone up, people raised their hands and began to share. 

Be a “Voice in the Ears” of Your Audience

  • Content creation and consumption is more fragmented than ever
  • “The medium is the message” means that everything in your category (blog posts, for example) affects the audience’s perception of your content because they have the opportunity to compare pieces to one another
  • Smart device ownership continues to rise, meaning that our audience is always on and they are always consuming
  • Device functionality is converging, meaning that devices like fridges can now function like a smartphone or tablet. Your audience now expects to be able to do the same functions from almost any technological device

Understand & Create Multimodal Content

  • Multimodal means “multiple modes.” More meaningful, multi-dimensional content.
  • Multimodal information takes information and makes it deeper and richer for your audience. Combining modes creates better experiences for audiences.
  • Multi-sensory: Audio, visual, touch, spatial—Can your audience feel your content all around them?
  • Provide intuitive utility across platforms and spaces—a good example is Google’s lens tool. Your audience can now take a live photo of a dog on the street and Google will process what type of dog that is.
  • Multi-input: Are viewers able to participate? Is there instant feedback, co-creation, customization. Example: Apps like My Fitness Pal allow users to feel like they are able to co-create and customize their experiences and this allows them to get more value out of that brand.
  • Using interactivity and co-creation to educate audiences propels them to be more engaged
  • We create content on our websites, but we aren’t giving our audience the ability to customize what they want to see—which would give them more value and make them want to get more engaged in your company
  • Multi-dimensional: Can users navigate their own path? People respond to content that is gamified and non-linear
  • Provide feedback and offer your client the next steps
  • Audiences love to explore the world you create for them—capitalize on that
  • Giving your audience feedback and the next steps to take on your website makes them want to engage more
  • Multi-phase: Does it keep them coming back?
  • Create new ways to engage in the content
  • Evolve the medium
  • An example Zonte continues to use is The New York Times. With one story, the reader is able to read an article, listen to a further in-depth podcast, and view graphs to help them further comprehend the story
  • Newsletters are not passe! People want content to come to them, especially if it is curated to their interests
  • Find ways to reveal and open up your content further to your audience
  • Create content that’s worth following over time

Key Takeaways

  1. Multimodal content is already here and your audience is already looking for ways to further interact with your content
  2. Engage multiple senses to activate emotions—the more senses you activate, the deeper and more real the experience is for your audience
  3. Invite interaction to deepen learning/memorability - the delivery of your content will make your audience talk about it
  4. Provide pathways for your audience to explore - Can your audience find the content that serves them?
  5. Keep content and mediums fresh—this is your opportunity to not let your marketing department stagnate, constantly thinking of fresh ways to engage your audience seems obvious, but it will set you apart from the competition
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