Importance of Design in Content Marketing Campaigns

What is Content Marketing?

Chapter 5

Importance of Design in Content Marketing Campaigns

What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘content’?

Words… letters… alphabets?

However, content marketing doesn’t only include content that comprises of words placed on a blank document – design and visuals are just as important for content marketing success as words that make up the content. One thing to consider here is that good design has as much to do with how something works on a webpage as it does with how something looks.

Before visitors read even a single word of content they notice the design, this is what they judge your blog, landing page, ebook, newsletter and banner ads on.

Here’s how users assess trustworthiness on web pages:

Graph showing how users assess trustworthiness on web pages

Only if visitors like your content asset visually do they move on to read what you have to say. Which essentially means for your content to attract and engage your target audience you need to ensure that it is designed properly, has good user experience and has the necessary visual elements.

What Makes up Good Web Design?

Good web design is an integral part of content marketing, your landing page won’t get as many clicks if you mess up the visual hierarchy, nor will your readers go through your blog post or ebook if they have a hard time reading content because of poor typography choices and color contrast.

There are three basic characteristics that make up good web design i.e. visual simplicity, prototypicality and good UX – all your online content assets should have these three characteristics to make the right impression on your audience.

Visual Simplicity

Visually simple websites are perceived well by visitors because they don’t confuse them with too many elements, bad typography choices and non-existent white space.

A simple page design helps the visitor focus on one thing before they move onto the other which creates an optimal environment for them to read the content and perform the desired action.

Prototypicality

Prototypicality is the basic mental image your brain creates to categorize everything you interact with. For example, when you say the word ‘apple’ to a 4 year old they’ll probably think of the fruit while a millennial would think of the company.

Your users have specific mental images when they think of different web pages, for example when they think of a blog they probably think of long form content sprinkled with images with a side bar that has a sign-up form on it.

Something like this:

GIF showing how a typical blog is structured online

What they don’t imagine seeing is something like this:

Example of what a poor blog layout can appear like

And when they come to a blog that looks like this, their first impression is that of confusion and you can’t really expect for things to get any better from there.

Whereas when they think of a landing page they probably think of a content light page with a signup form and a big contrasting CTA button.

When your content asset has prototypicality and it follows users’ expectations you achieve cognitive fluency which means you make it easy for visitors to find what they were looking for which in turn encourages them to perform the action on the page.

Good User Experience (UX)

UX deals with how your visitors feel about the interaction they have with a web page. Your content asset page design should include certain UX principles to make it easier for visitors to interact with your content and take an action.

  • Add whitespace: Add appropriate white space or blank space in between every element on the page, this includes paragraphs of copy, the CTA button, a signup form and the headline.
  • Contrast: The color contrast on the page should be legible and visually appealing. Don’t put yellow text on a green background just because you think it looks good, because this color contrast will cause readability issues for your content.
  • Follow visual hierarchy: Arrange the elements on the page in such a way that it takes visitors attention from one place to the other in an ordered way. Get help from eye tracking studies to understand where users look when they’re viewing different content formats and arrange your assets accordingly.

Creating a proper brand design guide documents your design and branding guidelines, acquaints your team with your design strategy that helps with content design consistency which is essential in content marketing.

Content marketing is a strategic approach that is dedicated to creating and distributing valuable, engaging and consistent content that attracts and retains the attention of your target audience and convinces them to take a desired action.

For your content marketing campaigns to be a success it is essential that you create a content marketing strategy, use the distribution channels that are ideal for your brand and audience and add complementary design and visual elements.

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