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5 ways content and design can complement each other

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1 — 1. Adopt a human-centered approach
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1 — 1. Adopt a human-centered approach
2 — 2. Bring value
3 — 3. The relationship between content and design is dynamic
4 — 4. Instant gratification is what converts
5 — 5. Create thought leadership and long-term partnerships
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5 ways content and design can complement each other

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By Nelly Thomas & Shawn Lee - 19 March 2020 / 07H30 - Updated 20 March 2020

If you own a company and have been trying to get your brand’s message across to your audience, you’re probably aware of how short the average attention span of your visitors is getting. Converting visitors to customers has thus become a challenge and the cornerstone of the consumer journey.

As a designer and copywriter, and business owners ourselves, we gathered and got our ideas together to share our vision of content and design. We’ve thus come to compile 5 reasons why you should consider content and design at the same time when aiming at conveying your brand’s purpose.

  • Adopt a human-centred approach
  • Bring value
  • The relationship between content and design is dynamic
  • Instant gratification is what converts
  • Create thought leadership and long-term partnerships

1. Adopt a human-centered approach

“The design of interactive products requires effective communication with end users. Each product (via its interface design) needs to “tell” users what features it offers (its utility), how to use those features (its usability), and why they should care (its desirability).” – Luke Wroblewski

In that sense, by putting the visitor’s needs at the center of their focus, content and design create empathy. Your brand is built for people, to help them alleviate their problems or realise their goals. Humans are wired to feel connected to others, and find that need via common interests, traits and experiences.

As content strategy, when paired with design and empathy, aims at defining when, where and how you will reach your target audience, design creates value by reducing friction in finding the content and making it appealing. By enabling a smooth and easy access to the content customers need at each step of their journey, design plays a pivotal role in so far as it articulates user experience and content.

2. Bring value

You can’t build trust with a potential client without creating a first impression with content and design that are paired to improve communication. It’s a delicate balance”- Philip Westfall

Whether it is written, image or video, content has become the most relevant and significant way for a brand to reach its audience. It can serve various purposes such as educating, raising awareness or providing readers with technical specificities on a given product and has thus become the central element prospects look for. By bringing value to your audience, you build your brand’s trust and ensure steady and increasing traffic. In other words, the better quality the content, the more time people will spend on it. 

Not only does design bring value by understanding and addressing the customer needs as when, where and how they interact with your content but it also aims at stripping away the unnecessary, this is especially in today’s world of noise and clutter. By creating responsive experiences and optimising information architecture, design is something the customers don’t think about but helps you bring the type of content the customers need at the right time of their journey.

3. The relationship between content and design is dynamic

Thinking about hiring a designer and a copywriter separately?

Maybe not the best idea.

In our opinion, your digital presence and strategy should be seen as a means rather an end. As such, design and content work together within the brand strategy to create a dynamic experience for your customers.

Design and content interact within content strategy on two levels :

  • By creating cross-platform conversations between social media, newsletters and the website itself
  • At each step of the consumer journey within the website and the funnel

4. Instant gratification is what converts

The challenge is about taking things that are infinitely complex and making them simpler and more understandable” – Robert Greenberg

Social media and the multiplicity of screens have resulted in the dramatic reduction of attention spans. By working together to craft perfectly timed, perfectly located and well-worded calls-to-action, content and design will make the most of that emotional reaction. 

Short attention spans combined with the ability to obtain what they need with a click have led your customers to drop off whenever they don’t get what they want. While content aims to retain visitors on your pages, design gets them to the call-to-action as seamlessly as possible, without them even realising they are actually acting. Conversion occurs when the ratio between exploring and reaching out finds the perfect balance.

5. Create thought leadership and long-term partnerships

Consistency, well thought-through and well-positioned content builds trust showing your brand knows what it is doing. This level of trust is basic but is an essential building block on which to build your brand, becoming the operational reflection of your brand’s value, building optimal awareness and brand retention.

So, by enabling a smooth user experience with quality content sprinkled with precisely positioned and well-thought call to actions, your brand’s online presence will build a deeper and more emotional level of trust. This shows the brand’s concern, care and interest shown for its customers beyond the consumption of their products and services. It will then result in increasing traffic rates, enhanced SEO, higher conversion rates, returning customers and keen brand advocates.

Furthermore, beyond the conversion rates, premium content puts your brand’s purpose at the centre of the user experience. Not only will your digital strategy convert but it offers you the opportunity to turn your brand into a media in itself and your customer into ambassadors of your purpose. If it is what you are aiming for, then you should consider content and design as a single entity.

Nelly Thomas is a Paris based bilingual copywriter and content strategist and the founder of CarboneCopy. The versatility of her experiences and projects have enabled her to create custom-made content solutions for a wide variety of audiences.

Shawn Lee is the Business Lead of Monocoque, a Singapore-headquartered design consultancy. His diverse background and experiences help businesses gain an edge with design in today’s experience-oriented world.

By

Nelly Thomas & Shawn Lee

19 March 2020 / 07H30
Updated 20 March 2020
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