Content Strategy

Content and UX: It’s a Marriage, Not a Date

Having attended Skyword’s Content Rising Summit, I had the great opportunity to sit in on Ian Fitzpatrick’s conference from the agency Almighty. Here are my thoughts on his presentation which I found to be very interesting.

To create content with great impact, it is crucial to follow certain rules that are more often than not, forgotten. Understanding and defining the purpose of the content we are offering is the essence of success. Not following through is the main reason why many people only see content, but do not make use of it. Firstly, what if we stopped using terms like ‘target', 'user', 'client', ‘audience’, and 'persona'? Secondly, it is important to be useful and provide insight to the reader: which is the foundation to building our strategies.

Let go of the marketing jargon and be more human. Here are 7 rules that can facilitate our approach to creating relevant content...for the right reasons.

1. To interrupt them, we must understand them

If we want to win people's interests, we must understand their reality. People are busy and do not spend their entire lives online. We must stop thinking that they all work the same way and at the same time. We must offer rich, entertaining content, that is useful and very attractive to merit their attention amidst the daily interruptions faced, and encourage them to ask for more content in the future.

2. Give clear requests

When creating content, clearly put forward your demands. Putting share buttons is simply not enough. Clarify your intentions and be specific.

3. Design for context, not for the device

Mobile is not a mere screen, in fact it is not simply the opportunity to submit content that you create. Mobile is a device that lets you view the content in context; we must understand the situation in which an individual finds your content in order to use it well. For example, it might not be the appropriate time to ask the reader to sign up to your newsletter or share a blog post on Facebook if he/she is seeking quick instructions. Understanding people who use or associate with your brand is essential for the sake of giving them access to relevant content in real time, while responding to their needs.

4. Provide reason to share

What is the purpose of your content? Do you create content just because you're told to produce? Will it answer people’s’ questions? For content to be shared, it must be useful and offered for a reason. Content is critical to performance in search engines, however, to increase its efficiency it must be relevant. We must learn from the conversations happening and adjust our editorial plan based on people’s reactions. Here is a good reason to not only produce content, but to adjust it according to the ever-changing needs:

People share for 3 reasons: for themselves, for people they like, or if the company helps them in return. A user never shares FOR the brand.

5. Understand the everyday life

Imagine a regular day. One must know how to respond to those looking for content and stop thinking people use the same patterns; the same means to achieve an end. Not all are ready to buy. Aim to inspire, to answer questions, to understand where they are in real time and to listen. In due course, people will buy. We should stop believing they will buy instantaneously in accordance to your strategic plan.

Take the example of a museum. It is very rare that someone enters the museum and goes directly to the souvenir shop. The normal sequence goes like this: I learn, I live through a wonderful experience at the museum and later, if I have been influenced by my visit, I buy a souvenir.

6. Establish a customized plan

Stop using the same approach for everyone. Show me that you know who I am, that you use the same networks I do, that you understand my life can change and evolve. Customization can be easily explored and played around with. For example, Netflix requires users to identify themselves in order to suggest the right content based on their habits.

7. Present solutions, not content

The term 'content' is used too often as a marketing tactic. Stop producing content for the sake of having content. You need to take a break from being a marketer for a moment. Performance comes through understanding people's needs and the relevancy of what is being produced. It should help an athlete complete the 10K run without the intention of pushing him/her for a shoe endorsement. Performance also requires understanding how we can ease and inspire people's lives, everyday.

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