Content Design: How Improve Your Content Effectiveness

7 Actionable Marketing Tips To Guide Your Content Design

How will you improve your content designContent design matters.

If you’re a content creator, you feel that once you’ve finished writing, your piece is done.

Yet the reality is that the work has first started. You’ve a raw piece of content but it needs more work to achieve your business goals; to break through and grab your audience.

Before explaining how to do this, let’s take a very basic example to illustrate the point.

Growing up, my mother had a set of 3 Pyrex mixing bowls that nested inside of each other. They were turquoise on the outside and white on the inside. As with other homemakers, these bowl were at the core of my mother’s cooking equipment. They were popularly priced and functional. Now they’re retro and available on eBay.

By contrast, my husband has one stainless steel Alessi mixing bowl. As an Italian designer product, the one bowl was expensive. Yet it’s still a core part of his kitchen many years later.

Like my mother’s Pyrex bowls, The Alessi bowl is functional but it has a beautiful design that’s both ergonomic and fun at the same time. It has 4 little rubber feet that stabilize it as you’re working. It’s got a handle cut out of the top rim of the bowl so that the cook can get a good grip on it. The other side has a spout to facilitate pouring the ingredients into another pan or bowl. The curves are pleasing to both the hand and the eye.

You may wonder what your content has to do with mixing bowls.

The point is that you can serve your content utilitarian style like my mom’s mixing bowls or you can make your content into a thing of beauty like my husband’s mixing bowl.

Before you tell me about your budget and resource constraints, I already know that. Everyone wants to do more than their budget will allow.

When it comes to your content design, your decision depends on:

  1. What your content must do to achieve your business goals.
  2. Who your target audience is in the form of your marketing persona. Not just the buyer but also, the influencers, experts, end users and the public.

Once you know these elements, it’s about how you transform your basic information. The key question is: How will you improve your content design to make it more effective? 

How will you improve your content design

7 Content marketing tips to guide your content design

Here are 7 tips posed in the form of questions to help you improve the quality of your content’s design and make it more effective. Of course, this assumes that you’re providing the 5 basic content formats.

1. What is your brand?

  • What does your product or company stand for and how is this incorporated into your content? To answer this key question, think beyond your logo and colors.
  • How do you represent your 360° brand in terms of your content?

2. Who are your competitors or close substitutes?

  • Think like your consumer. It’s not how you define your market, but how do your customers, competitors and close substitutes do.
  • Examine their information? How have they defined the market and your offering?
  • How is their information formatted? Does yours stand apart and supply the information that your audience needs?

3. How does your key audience find information in general and yours in specific?

Do they use search, social, their family and friends or other means? Forrester research has revealed that more people start their searches on Amazon than Google. Forrester Blog - Amazon

  • Is your content optimized for search? Consider other options than Google. This means YouTube and mobile.
  • How is your content distributed? Does it need to be reformatted to stand out on each platform?
  • Do you need paid advertising to support your content distribution on search, social and other media options?
  • How is your product presented on Amazon (if applicable)?

4. How do your key audiences consume your information?

Are they on the go or in deep content consumption mode? This talks to how focused they are on your information.

  • Is your content formatted for easy consumption? This means outlining and bolding.
  • Have you considered both sentence and paragraph length? Make them bite-size.
  • Does your word usage make sense to your audience? When in doubt use short words versus long, complex words.

5. When do your prospects and customers consume your content?

This has an impact on the type of information, the time spent with it and the formatting.

  • Are they at work, on the go or at home? Bear in mind that this applies to B2B and B2C purchases. With 24/7 access, employees may check information later after dinner.
  • Where are they in the purchase process? This has impact on the type of information they’re seeking and what they’ll use it for. Each piece of content can have multiple uses during the purchase process.

6. What device does target audience use to consume your content?

  • Think computer, smartphone, tablet or other device. This has to do with how your content has to render. Understand that a good proportion of your audience is mobile first or mobile only. If you’re using responsive design it’s best to start with it than to retrofit it.
  • Don’t overlook email and offline options, depending on your audience.

7. Where is your reader when they consume your content?

This talks to type of content presented and other factors competing for their attention.

  • How much information can your audience take in that environment? Does your content have to be short and to the point or lengthy?
  • How are they taking in information? Does it have to be visual to break through or audio since they’re otherwise occupied?

Content design is critical to facilitate content consumption. To this end, it’s important to understand what else is competing for your customers’ attention – including your competitors and close substitutes.

While there are times when plain utilitarian content does the job, there are other times when you need to put more effort into it.

What else would you add to this content design list and why?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo Credit: 

Pyrex Mixing Bowl via

Alessi Mixing Bowl via Larry Aronson

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