There’s much more to a successful content marketing strategy than, well, great content. Sure, you may have a team of talented writers, and your social media strategy may be the perfect enhancement of an otherwise solid content plan. But, what you may not realize is that text isn’t everything.
Despite being the most widespread form of content on the internet, blog posts leave a lot to be desired. First and foremost, in-depth articles can be lengthy or require an above-average command of English. Moreover, they don’t necessarily make the best teaching material, seeing that most people learn more effectively when they combine different types of media.
That being said, it’s certainly a good idea to rethink the visual appearance of your online assets. In the end, you might just find that good design has a ton of potential to enhance content marketing performance. Here’s how.
The Role of Design in Boosting Metrics
Let’s start with the essential role of content marketing: getting organic traffic to your website.
For most businesses, starting a blog, a podcast, or YouTube channel serves the purpose of getting eyeballs on the brand itself. And, with proper production processes, types of content definitely play a crucial role in SEO. But, the thing is, quality or informativeness don’t necessarily equal appeal.
According to a now-famous Adobe report from 2015, 66% of internet users prioritize aesthetics over simplicity when consuming content. In fact, the three most impactful factors in content consumption include the ability to hold attention, displaying well on a variety of devices, and appealing layout and photography.
Considering this data, you might want to review the overall appearance of your distribution channels. What type of layout do you use on your website and landing pages? Are your CTA buttons designed with data-driven decisions? Or did you just go with standard practices? Are your visuals consistent across all the platforms you use?
By paying attention to these details, you’re sure to see a spike in marketing performance. Don’t believe us? Conduct an A/B test for a page with aesthetically pleasing visuals and one that uses text-only. You’ll change your mind as soon as you witness a boost in impressions and conversions. And, of course, your bottom line.
Recollection: What We Remember
One of the most impressive statistics about the impact of visual elements on consumer behavior is a statement by Insivia. According to the resource, viewers retain information 9.5 times more successfully when watching video vs. reading text.
Now, you may not be prepared to produce videos as part of your content marketing strategy, but why not make your posts more visually-oriented?
Perhaps, instead of a text how-to guide, you can create a resource that combines text, images, and animation? Or you might find that an infographic is an ideal way to communicate information to your consumers.
For an example of a brand doing amazing things with simple resources, look no further than Bear. The writing app’s content marketing team creates beautifully designed guides for their users. These feature a minimalistic design with a black background and combine text, images, and short videos, all obtained through taking screenshots and screencaps.
Because the blog posts in question feature a variety of multimedia assets, they’re not just appealing. But, more importantly, they’re more likely to be remembered by users, thus ensuring that the app becomes an irreplaceable tool in each customer’s note-taking routine.
Connection: Showing Audiences That You Understand Them
What makes customers return to a brand over and over again? You’ll find that one of the most sought-after elements of shopping consists of customer experience.
Let’s look at some data by Salesforce.
It turns out, 85% of consumers say that the experience a company provides is equally as impactful on their purchasing decisions as product quality. Moreover, 66% of people would be willing to pay more for above-average service. And, finally, 73% of consumers expect brands to predict and meet their needs.
Looking at these statistics, it becomes clear that UX, driven by good design, makes for an excellent investment for businesses who want to improve their content marketing performance. Simple considerations like adopting better blog post layouts or making website navigations more intuitive can significantly boost conversions. This is why companies are always looking for ways to improve the UX of their website content.
For example, Aura’s blog section has a handy visual tool that tells readers how far along they are within a text. Moreover, the blog features two highly visible share buttons (for Twitter and Facebook), encouraging readers to pass on their newly-acquired knowledge and thus helping boost organic traffic to the website.
You may think that these small design features don’t actually impact the brand’s content marketing strategy. But, if you take a closer look, you’ll realize that they do exactly what they’re meant to. They predict user needs and answer them without requiring any previous input. In the end, such UX isn’t easy to develop. But it makes a great way to ensure that every reader who lands on the blog leaves with a positive impression of the brand.
Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose: the Economics of Content Production
How much new content do you churn out every month? Plenty of guides look at the ideal frequency of publishing content on different distribution channels. For example, Buffer suggests going with 5-10 Facebook posts per week, five tweets per day, and one post per day on LinkedIn. Add a blog, podcast, or video content strategy, and you’ll find yourself with more work than you can physically accomplish.
But surely, there must be a better way to get results from your content marketing, other than to spend every waking minute composing new posts? Well, it turns out that there is.
An experiment from 2013 found that tweeted content, which performed well the first time it was shared, would get an equally high number of retweets the second and third time it was shared on the platform. Moreover, social media analysts advocate for adjusting to your brand’s audience, covering more than a single time-zone to enhance impressions.
So how does this connect to design?
Well, the one thing that visual design does for your content marketing strategy is that it gives you two things:
- It allows you to present your subject in different manners and formats, ensuring that you reach as many people as possible by appealing to varying aesthetic preferences; and,
- It reinforces your name through visual branding, making it easier for you to inject your content with elements that’ll automatically remind your audience of the value your brand offers.
For one of the best examples of reusing and repurposing content, look to Lululemon. In December 2020, the brand collaborated with dancer Ebony Williams, creating an artistic IGTV video. The video was only to be published on Instagram. But, they also produced an interview for their website, which combined traditional content marketing with the visual appeal of the dance video.
By taking this route, Lululemon displayed an excellent understanding of how different media types could work together in bringing about a complete experience.
Does your budget have room for a whole video series based on your how-to posts? Or you need to ensure the highest ROI with the bare minimum? Whichever of the two is true, remember that making slight changes in the visual presentation can help you get more out of the content you already created.
As you can see, there are multiple ways in which design enhances content marketing performance. But, the one thing you’ll be most happy about is that boosting your content production strategies with a clear visual direction will ultimately add to your brand’s success.
Whether you’re running an ecommerce store, a SaaS company, or a blog, 2021 might just be the time to bring your design elements to the next level. You’re sure to see the benefits quickly enough.