Through perception and articulation we experience and through experience, we transform.
The words and headers are just vehicles for delivering that experience.
The meat of every piece of content is that nebulous, intangible, yet oh-so-real Experience.
So how to nail this experiential component? Let’s chew on it together:
A user-centric experience isn’t created or delivered in a bubble.
It isn’t just a website, blog article, or email newsletter.
It’s about the world around your audience. Where are they coming from? Where are they going? Where do they want to go? How do they want to get there? What’s going on in their heads when they’re getting there?
What’s YOUR story, what’s THEIR story, and how they intersect at this moment in time to create meaning?
What’s the narrative in this experience? What’s your big picture, what’s their big picture, and how do they cross path?
User-centric doesn’t mean erasing yourself from the story.
It’s about how you change the course of that story, from your audience’s perspective.
Design with a big “D.”
Design thinking is an iterative process that connects innovation and creativity.
It encompasses the act of empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, and testing. (That means getting over yourself, stop sitting on your hands, willing to admit you could be wrong, and do something already.)
It includes people, product, place, process, and performance.
It’s a holistic and disciplined approach to creation that embraces the complexity of the world and the people who live in it.
It means the willingness to try different expressions, to fall flat on your face, to fine-tune so you can get closer to the dime.
An experience (e.g. taking the steps to place an order on a website) isn’t necessarily experiential. Something experiential delivers a deeper impact, speaking to the guts and not just the brain.
Transformation isn’t simply cognitive or rational. It starts with resonance. It’s driven by empathy, carried on by emotions, and anchored with a twist/punch in the guts that changes the audience’s perspective forever.
It’s more than the same old pain points, benefits, twist the knife.
That means you have to make your audience feel – not only their pain but also the possibilities. Get them to experience the transformative potential of your work at the cellular level… make them feel through the process.
How can you elicit a sensation when they interact with your content? How will you send tingles down their spines?
How will you deliver experiential transformation with the power of words by imbuing your intention in everything that you create?
But this experiential process isn’t just about your audience. It’s also about you.
It’s about you experiencing YOUR body of work.
In the process of articulating your values, convictions, POV, and beliefs, you experience them from a perspective that allows you to refine the narrative and connect the dots.
It gives you space to anchor to your niche by finding your place in the world.
Right them down, read them out loud. Do they sound true to you? (Not just your brain saying, “hmm, that sounds good.”)
How do you feel? How does your body respond?
Let the process bring you to your knees. Be responsibly vulnerable.
Chew on the words and question everything. You’ve nailed you unique point-of-view (POV) when you feel the tingle.
Gather the courage to tell your story. (Because when you do it right, it could be painful!)
Transformative storytelling helps you experience your own journey from the perspective of the world around you and give you the clarity of who you are within this larger context.
It’s the thread connecting the naked you and your audience in a deep, experiential level – the level of how they experience YOU.
Content Experience Design
All these pieces are woven together into a web that connects you, your audience, and your body of work into a meaningful whole that addresses the world around you and your audience.
HONEST MARKETING starts with creating a connection between our message and ourSELVES; and a resonance between our message and our audience.
It starts with articulating and expressing that inkling inside of you, so you know exactly what the hell you’re doing and WHY you’re doing it.
If you aren’t feeling it, then don’t blame your audience for not “getting it.”