Content is Measured in Moments

Emotion is energy waiting to be expressed. Often, the energy is expressed in moments.

A fit of laughter brought on by an irreverent joke. A startled gasp inspired by scenes of the latest horror flick. An outburst of tears, egged on by a particularly sentimental holiday commercial.

These emotional moments are the moments that shape our lives and tell our stories.

Now more than ever, content is demanding that we slice and dice content to fit into the moments of our day. It’s less about chapters and more about novellas. The Apple Watch, for instance, has reintroduced the word ‘moments’, and app developers are reinventing the nature of their user experience to understand what it means to cater to users at the intersection of right place and time.

The conventional advice for content creators is to build personas. And while personas have a place in the sun when it comes to mapping out contextually relevant content moments, I’d like to argue that we go one step further.

Map the moments that make up their day. 

If we can plan not only our audiences’ moods and motivations, hobbies and interests, pain points and frustrations, we can also get granular about the moments that make up their day, and thus, fit content in accordingly. When we make content relevant to both emotional need states (how they’re feeling) and contextual queues (when and where they’re feeling it), we have the perfect ‘in’. Audiences are not only emotionally primed for the content, but they’re open and accessible to the method of delivery. 

I want to make one thing clear, however. Seizing the “moment” should be done with an intention of interaction, not shameless self-promotion. Publishing content when and where it’s wanted is the most important factor – and should only be done when we’ve collected accurate information about our audiences to reach them in meaningful ways.

What’s the first thought they have each morning? (Moment.) Do they reach for their phone? (Moment.) If so, what’s the first app they check or the first action they make? (Moment.) How do the feel after completing it? (Moment.) What happens next? (Moment.) Do they spend a few minutes applying makeup and getting dressed? (Moment.) How do they feel when they’re searching for something to wear – and is it neatly folded or hopelessly wrinkled at the bottom of a hamper? (Moment.) Then what? Do they sit in frustrating lines of traffic or board the subway? (Moment.) What do they do there? What are they thinking about? What’s the first thing that happens when they get to their desk? (Moment.) How do they pass the time between to-do’s and tasks? (Moment.) Do they mindlessly scroll social networks or keep a militant schedule over their day? (Moment.) What happens during their midday slump? (Moment.) What time of day is most challenging to stay awake? (Moment.) How do they boost their energy back up again? (Moment.) How do they finish their workday? (Moment.) And how do they feel about the evening that lies ahead? (Moment.) Are they hungry for dinner yet? (Moment.) Do they enjoy cooking for their family, or are they squeezed for time? Will they try a new recipe, stick to an old favorite, or order in? (Moment.) How do they kick back after dinner? (Moment.) Do they do the dishes or opt for reality TV instead? (Moment.) Do they have to get kids bathed and in bed? (Moment.) How do they wind down? (Moment.) And what’s the last thing they do before hitting the pillow? (Moment.) 

There are are dozens, if not hundreds, of emotional moments that make up our days. Moments where we fluctuate between frustration and apathy, joy and satisfaction.  

Idle moments can become moments of opportunity – to connect, to feel, and to empathize – but only if we understand emotion from their side of the screen.

Kiip, a San Francisco based mobile advertising network, has hit the nail on the head when it comes to understanding right time, right place advertising. Since launching, Kiip and its brand partners have collected millions of micro-level data to build a “Bank of Moments”. Using mobile app data and infinite feedback loops to learn when users reach another level in a game, finish a yoga sequence, open a new recipe, finish a to-do, or run an errand, Kiip is there to ‘carpe the moment’ with a sponsored reward that fits content with context. Now that’s smart.

As brands, nonprofits, and small businesses, we don’t need to collect data sets to start delivering content that’s made for the moment. We just need to understand:

• How our audiences find our content
• Why they interact with it 
• When they use, download, or consume it
* Where they are most likely coming into contact with it

Above all, there’s one golden rule when it comes to creating content that matches the moment.

Emotion-driven content should be curated based on how people feel and when they feel that way.

Think about the types of content you typically publish. If you send out a morning newsletter, how is your audience most likely feeling when they open their inbox? Is there a way you can elevate their mood with a headline or tell a story that gets them feeling like they get you? Or if you’ve set up an autoresponder, can you create messaging that encourages people to find you online? If it’s midday on a Monday, can you schedule some freebies to add some delight to your audience’s day?

Being mindful of how your audience is feeling and when they’re feeling that way is mission critical when it comes to planning, building, and publishing content in the moment.