In addition to guest posting on the UpCity blog, Clique Studios is featured as one of the Top Content Marketing Agencies in the United States. Check out their profile!
Imagine a customer lands on a restaurant’s website after a Google search of “restaurants near me.”
The customer is deciding whether or not to go to this restaurant while scrolling through its website.
When the customer gets to the homepage, they are already deciding whether or not they trust the restaurant: first impressions are 94% design related.
Because so much of first impressions are about the design, design and content need to be synced in order for your website to depict credibility and trust. It’s hard to make an impact on customers when you have words on a page, but not the right design to go with those words.
There are all kinds of different ways content and design work together in content marketing — website design, blog articles, infographics, videos, and social media. No matter what kind of content, design and copy need to work together for the entire user experience to be geared toward the audience.
This article provides a short overview about copy and design on a website: why design needs to be part of your content with steps on how to get started implementing design with content.
Content and Design: Good for the User
In one report from Stanford, 75 percent of people say a credible business is based on how a website looks. In another study, researchers found that it only takes .05 seconds for visitors to form an opinion about your website. And another study found that 90 percent of information sent to the brain is visual. It’s clear: The overall design of your website directly affects how a user feels about your business.
Content and design are both incorporated in first impressions. Natalie Gotko, content strategist at Clique Studios, says, “A user doesn’t experience content and design separately, so why should we create a product, an experience, or a website any different?” Gotko says designers and content creators should work together to create the best experience for the user.
For example, when a designer creates a call-to-action (CTA) on the homepage of a website, the content strategist needs to write words for the CTA. Maybe that CTA is for a social media management software company. That button might have a blue background with white space leading up to it. The CTA says, “Advance your social media strategy.”
The words and the design need to go together.
“We problem-solve together, knowing that small decisions with copy can affect the design and vice versa,” Gotko says
Emma Foley, design lead at Clique Studios, agrees that design and content work together.
“When content and design is successful, I think they’re impacting one another rather than one guiding the other,” Foley said.
“So good design highlights content and aids in its tone, feeling, and importance,” Foley adds. “Good content is sectioned on a page so it does not break the work a design is doing — the design is guiding a person through a story at the right pace with the right intentions.”
‘Copy is Design and Design is Copy’
Natalike Gotko said that as a content strategist, she works with designers at Clique to make holistic decisions about what an experience for a specific website needs.
“For example, if we want to have a company’s services listed on its homepage, rather than telling a designer how the display should look (‘use a slider here’ or ‘the client mentioned icons, so add icons’), we talk to the designer about what they think would work best for the business and its users.”
She added, “When it comes to the actual writing of the copy, we work even closer together because copy is design and design is copy.”
What does that mean? Let’s say a designer and content strategist are building a website for a software company. The designer and content strategist need to work together to decide how to list the services the software provides.
For example, the designer and content strategist might decide that the services provided listed on the homepage should be communicated in a bold and simple way. Then both the designer and strategist can come up with an action plan from there — maybe they both decide to list one strong word for each service provided, with a simple description under each service.
How to Start Implementing Design into Your Content Marketing Strategy
Before you can implement a process that incorporates both content and design, you’ll need to understand your audience.
Here’s a brief and simple process you can use:
- Interview and observe multiple people
- Analyze the data you gather
- Uncover patterns in their behaviors
- Group participants into “archetypes” — more info on that here
- Create a digestible summary of these insights
You can also use Google Analytics to inform your research. Just make sure you don’t rely too heavily on analytics.
So that we don’t go too far off-topic (here is an article about creating personas), let’s say you’ve done all your research. You know your target audience.
Another step that’s important before you begin the process: a brand style guide. What colors and typography should you use based on your audience research? This will be important for everyone in your organization to know — from developers to event marketers.
Let’s use a simple example. You just wrote a case study about one of your clients. You send it to a designer. The designer can work with the content to create what is best for the user experience when reading the case study. Maybe the designer puts an infographic at the top of the case study so that the reader can easily get a quick takeaway.
Both the designer and content strategist needs to think about the user with every piece of content. The copy on your homepage, your product page, a blog article, an infographic, a newsletter — all of it.
If you read one section from this article…
It’s not easy to create both content and design that sync up beautifully for the user.
But the fact is the right combination of design and content make an impact on your audience — and therefore on your business. You need both design and content to work together to create truly good content in your marketing.
Work to implement a process for web designers and content creators to work together if you haven’t done so already. It doesn’t need to be perfect. This is difficult stuff, after all. What matters is that you do it and work to get better each time.