While penning down my thoughts, I figured out a stark similarity between a writer and a UX designer. Both are creative & innovative, one in terms of words & ideas and the other in design & uniqueness. Though their fields sound very much different from each other, they are one.
If we go by definition then content is the medium through which we provide information to the end-users in a way that is easy and to which they can relate to in the most subtle and eloquent manner. But content has far more depth than estimated. In today’s scenario, where everything has gone online, right from the education to businesses, content plays a crucial role in generating work for the subject business etc. Akin to the wire-framing of websites, content strategy too needs to be wire-framed before it is given a final look.
First, the mission and goal should be clear before jotting down the content strategy for a website. Who is the target audience? What are their needs and expectations? How to best communicate the idea? And most importantly, how is the concept unique from that of the rivals? These are few of the important areas where the homework needs to be done for shaping the content of the website. Observing the minute details, which no other rival has noticed, and then pitching it in the right manner is what makes the content valuable and fruitful, like the UX design.
After the product, comes into effect the 3rd P of marketing, i.e. PROMOTION. In short, it’s now the turn to market the content, for which we need proper content marketing strategy. People generally end up taking content strategy and content marketing strategy as two names for the same thing but actually they are not.
Content Strategy – It is how you manage the content in creation & publication and convert it into a usable one.
Content Marketing Strategy – On the other hand, CMS revolves around the broad story of the organization. It delves into the factors responsible for engaging the audience and deriving profit out of the content.
Content Dipped in UX – An Invisible Advantage
It’s not only the content that needs to be marketed to dig out the profit but the background too has a crucial involvement to convert the prospects into clients. Here, I am talking about the role of user experience (UX) moulded in the form of UX design. A design is the layout of the emotions, attitudes and behaviour of customers using that product or service.
In general, UX is the designing of the website, mobile application or other such platforms for direct interaction with the customers in a manner that will also provide future leads with an experience synced with the business goals. A UX is an amalgamation of the content strategy, technology, information architecture, visual & interaction design. The easier it is for the customers to use the platform, the better will be the response and the outcome.
What is User Experience?
User experience is generally misunderstood as the combination of raw information, website design and well written code.
The standard definition says, “[a] person’s perceptions and responses resulting from the use and/or anticipated use of a product, system or service.” (Source: ISO 9241-210 about Ergonomics!)
In simple words, user experience is the way we influence customers’ feelings, their actions and decisions. Framing topics or messages that sound familiar or inspire them and packaging the offer in attractive and engaging design and visuals will surely have a positive impact on users.
Who are the Target Users?
This is the million dollar question. In order to optimize the user experience and content marketing strategy, it is mandatory to identify the target audience on the basis of sex, age or social status (income). In the second phase, segregate the ideal customers from the rest of the crowd and find their common problems and needs.
Once the target audience is clear, it becomes easy to frame the content, visuals and designs as per their taste.
Bad UX Assassinates the Effort
The Nielsen Norman Group, affirm in their study that bad UX has the potential to kill the effort deployed in making the website/app and the influencing content. As per the study, slowness was the major issue faced by users, which is normally ignored by the marketers. Hence, while marketing the content it is essential to focus on the UX design, as this can result in kindling the trust of customers and brand attraction.
Where to Market the Content?
It is absolutely essential to delineate the areas where the content has to be laid out, which will ensure the content’s maximum visibility before the target audience and across various platforms. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube et al shape much of the public opinion these days and cannot be ignored. Presentation being equally important, visuals and designs along with apt titles, crisp images, influencing content and attractive background also help in converting a prospective user into a client. It has been observed that UX impacts maximum online conversions. Immersive advertising too invites many of the customers.
Content can be Skipped Sometimes
There are times when content may be ignored. Take the example of mobile apps; all that a user wants is a clear and easy to use interface sans cluttering the space with infographics, ads, clips, blogs, etc. Provide content where necessary and ignore where it can be skipped, like omitting the word ‘menu’ below the hamburger icon. The icon itself is sufficient to give information about the functionality of the same and its hidden features.
First Impression is the Last
Source: Quotesgram Image Credit: Lucy Hester
Always remember, the minimum the distraction, the better will be the impression! Based on the visuals (how complex the visual design is) and similarity (alikeness to that of contemporary sites) first time users form opinion in 17-50 milliseconds for the website. Hence, the contribution of content and UX design forms the first impression that lasts forever (in most of the cases).
While keeping the website’s design in line with the standard expectations of visitors, usage of different language or words for heads or so can help in grabbing the attention and interest. Animated designs and visuals can also contribute to the success of content campaigns in a long run.
In the 10 years’ time, blogging is expected to be one of the four pillars behind the success of any business or brand online. In the time to come, when a major chunk of the population will embrace the web technology, people will start judging the business through its website and will show interest in their blogs to get an in-depth knowledge of the business.
Blogging is one of the best ways to engage customers where they are free to express their emotions, feelings, needs, etc. and can feel connected with the brand or website. Blogs in the form of listicles, inforgraphics, cartoons, et al have the tendency to attract more readers. ScoopWhoop is one such example that represents its content in the form of listicles supported by GIF images.
It is high time to give your website a new look with refurbished UX design and engaging content.