Designers, marketers and business owners have a great deal to gain (and learn) from content strategy. A single sentence of copy can easily be ignored with a user scrolling right past, but if called out with the right mix of design and content implementations – it can be the key to conversion.
Whether digital media or print assets, beginning a design process with content strategy is a way to ensure that the brand will be shown in the most authentic and intuitive manner. When a design and content team work in tandem to create the framework for graphics and content, the user experience will be fully optimized.
Content strategy can take many forms, and a team may not even know they are tapping into its benefits – here are a few ways to take advantage of better user experience through content strategy methodologies.
In the beginning stages of content strategy, it’s all about gathering. The coming together of the brand and creative team as well as the compilation and review of existing assets. This could include anything from print material to both current and archived pages on a website. A strategist works with the brand to define requirements of the information that will be presented including business goals, demographics and marketing strategy.
Content strategy works in tandem with information architecture to create a better result. Information architecture is the outlining of a core navigation to help a user move successfully through a site. With the introduction of content strategy to this process, the user is equipped with a more refined language set, perhaps more tailored directly to the target user, allowing for a greater defining of the tonality of the brand.
Information should be broken down into clearly defined and digestible sections. Organize sections by how a user would search for the information – in this case – user pathway testing may be conducted. The most important information should be graphically highlighted in the first couple of sentences, with the supporting information to follow. In this case, headlines are the most important piece of the puzzle.
From user personas to the customer journey, mapping out where content will reside within the constraints of an interface is key to gaining conversions. Many times, content is optimized solely for the highly trafficked pages and often, only for the home or landing page. Following through an experience from top to bottom with consistent and timely messaging lends a sense of trust to the user and a better experience overall.
Establishing a brand voice is a critical element of engagement. Ensuring that the language is positioned appropriately, understandable and up to date is essential to connecting with an audience. This information can be found within a brand book, but content tonality has a tendency to get overlooked. Whether writing for social media, campaign taglines or creative assets – each channel or platform’s content should be outlined prior to any publication for both internal and external users.
Finding the right content management system (CMS) is an integral component to ensuring that a site will remain current, relevant and without error. If a website is the vehicle, then its CMS is the engine. In addition to updating content, this is the hub to analyze data, understand patterns and identify areas that may need improvement, and for that matter – areas that are succeeding. Seek and provide ample training for the team that will be at the helm of the CMS, which will provide increased productivity and ROI.
Its clear that a content strategy will provide greater clarity of messaging, but many still need convincing. The bottom line is that a well thought out approach to content will make for a happier customer both on and offline – and who doesn’t want that.Read More...