To begin with, the very concept of "content marketing" is currently unsustainable. In fact, only in 2012, foreign marketers are starting to dwell on this term, before using others as well: educational marketing, inbound marketing, engaging marketing, etc. But the essence remains the same: content marketing is the creation and distribution of branded content that has independent value for the client. Technologically, this is an approach to the company's website according to the principles and patterns of thematic media - with a schedule of publications, editorial staff, work on the distribution of content.
Content marketing is often confused with copywriting. But this is not the same thing. The task of the copywriter is to create content. In content marketing, content is a basis, but not an end in itself. The key difference from copywriting is having a content strategy. The main “engine” of content marketing is not a copywriter, but a content strategist. In this case, the content strategist builds a long-term plan for the distribution of content.Content strategy is a kind of glue that holds all parts of a project together. If it does not have a clear direction or is completely absent, the likelihood that you will suffer a commercial failure is almost one hundred percent. If it is applied in the right place at the right time, then you will have a direct path to achieving the desired results.
However, to achieve these results is not so easy. The process of implementing the content strategy harbors many nuances and difficulties and requires not only decent knowledge in the field of content marketing, but also debugged interaction scheme between all team members: content strategist, developer, copywriter, designer, seo optimizer and other project participants. And since most of the problems arise in the joint work of the designer and copywriter on the landing pages, this is what we will focus on in our today's article.
We hope that our experience in this field and our mistakes will help you to improve the level of management of your projects and improve the quality of the products and services provided.
- Brief tips for a successful start:
- Process Improvement: Problem Solving
- Brief tips for improving processes:
- Conflict resolution: why don't we get along with each other?
- Allocating separate space for SEO content
- Clarity of thought VS. Kreatif
- Homepage header design and content
- Call to action blocks
- Brief tips for better conflict resolution:
- Verbose copywriters VS. Creative thinking designers
Start: the first step, it is the most difficult
Project Manager: We need a landing page for client X.
Designer: I can't start developing a design until I see the content.
Copywriter: I can't start writing until I see the design.
This dialogue may seem funny to you ... until you yourself are in such a situation. How to solve this issue? Very simple: first create content and then design. Agree, when there is ready-made content, it is much easier to choose the appropriate form. It has been repeatedly empirically proven that a design based on content reflects the essence of a product or service as fully as possible and thereby attracts a much larger number of customers.
In this way, The scheme for creating content is as follows:
- Content strategist develops a website promotion strategy using content and prepares the following data:
Type of audience. Demanding, benevolent or indifferent? Mostly men or women? Kids, teenagers, middle-aged or older people? What do they even get? What can you give them?
Text size. Some products require the writing of a long advertising text, while others lack an absolute minimum. By the way, this point should be taken into account and SEO-specialists, because In case of errors while creating the landing page, chances are high that your content simply will not receive search traffic.
The priority of the message. What is the most important thought, and what is secondary? What needs to be said to “hook” visitors? And what should motivate him to action?
Call to action. What will be the exact formulation of the call to action? What emotional and intellectual factors will motivate the visitor to go to action?
- In accordance with this data, a copywriter writes a competent selling text.
- The designer studies the data content strategist, the work of a copywriter and creates a visually attractive design.
Brief tips for a successful start:
- Make sure that your company has one specific person who is responsible for implementing the content strategy. If responsibility is not defined, your final product will be equally uncertain.
- Do not hurry! Many seek to plunge into work on a new project as soon as possible. However, this tactic is not effective. Before you get started, make sure your colleagues are on the same wavelength as you.
- If, as a designer, you are forced to perform the functions of a content strategist, develop an understanding of this discipline. Study the literature, read blogs, learn from experienced professionals.
- Make sure that designers and copywriters understand what they should do and what they should not do. Copywriters should not teach designers to create designs, and designers should not teach copywriters to write. Everyone must do their job.
Process Improvement: Problem Solving
Project Manager: How are you doing?
Website developer: I am waiting for a designer.
Designer: I'm waiting for a copywriter.
Copywriter: I am waiting for the project manager.
The process of developing the site hides a lot of difficulties. Often problems arise completely unexpectedly and at the wrong time. If you are busy in this area, the following situation will probably seem familiar to you:
Of course, this process is not perfect, but it is constantly being improved. So, in order to help designers customize the text under the "frame" and page design, you can use content templates. This not only facilitates their work, but also allows customers to get an overall picture of how the content on the site will look, as well as quickly calculate words.
As for communications, their quality can be improved with the help of project management software. Personally, we use the Bitrix24 service, although we recognize that there are other good alternatives. The big advantage of a project management system is that it provides A single place to manage tasks and effectively interact all team members. Here you can discuss working moments, share information, leave comments, mark referral points, set deadlines, etc. Such extensive opportunities eliminate all gaps and misunderstandings that may arise when managing a project through e-mail. Reviews, edits, comments to the project - all this is in one place. Each of the employees participating in the project keeps track of what is happening and remains up to date with any events.
Brief tips for improving processes:
- Make sure that there is such a person who is personally responsible for managing the project. Without a project manager, the movement will be slowed down at all stages.
- Regularly arrange "fly-outs" to discuss various problems on the project. Train yourself and others to account. Compile daily and monthly activity reports. Not only for customers, but also for their project teams.
- Agree with the client every stage of their work. Do not be afraid to disturb him once again, because your task is to make the final product meet all his expectations. Otherwise, you have to redo everything, change the size of the budget and shift deadlines. And this is not beneficial to you or your customer.
- Copywriters and designers should quickly resolve all issues that have arisen between them.
Conflict resolution: why don't we get along with each other?
Designer: All these words make me tired.
Copywriter: All these pictures confuse me.
Project Manager: All these disputes kill me outright.
Regardless of how well your strategy is worked out and how well the employee interaction scheme is worked out, the design and content will contradict each other in almost every project. And that's fine. Much worse, if at all there are no disputes and questions. Our experience shows that this may mean that the project is in serious trouble. The following are the main problems that you have to face on a fairly regular basis, as well as ways to overcome them.
Allocating separate space for SEO content
Volumetric texts annoy not only the designers, but also the majority of readers. However, sometimes SEO optimizers require a large number of landing keys that are not related to each other semantically - and copywriters are forced to create long tests. Fortunately, there are several tricky ways to solve this problem without compromising the quality of optimization:
- Tabs are a great way to hide text.
Tabs allow you to save the page in a vertical plane. More importantly, they allow visitors to easily find the information they need and skip the one that they are not interested in. Below we give an example of how we will implement this, for example, for the Saxo Bank website.
This is a page about the capabilities of the Saxo Trader mobile trading platform. On the page it was necessary to give a lot of different information, the implementation was through tabs-tabs (see the sections "Price and trading", "News", "Report on the account", "Opening positions", etc. - this is a description of certain functions which are present in the trading platform).
- Place SEO content in the “basement” page
Of course, an SEO strategist would prefer optimized content to appear at the top of the page. However, if the purpose of the website is to convert traffic into customers, then visitors should see an attractive design, and not a block of text consisting of 3000 words. But the main thing is not to overdo it. Still, the text should not be just for searching. If real people do not read it, believe me, the importance of such content will also fall for search engines (remember the behavioral ranking factors!).
- Increase the creativity of non-leafy landing pages
The most important pages for search engine optimization are those that talk about products and services. The purpose of these pages is to provide useful information, and not to surprise them with great design. Therefore, it is best to show your design skills on non-messy pages. For example, in the section "About the company" or "Customer service". Creatively here - and you will be rewarded for it.
Clarity of thought VS. Kreatif
The eternal battle of "design content" erupts with particular force when creating navigation elements, main page headers and blocks calling for action. The essence of this battle lies in the following question: "What prevails over the hearts and minds of visitors to a greater degree? Awesome design or clear and accessible information?" And we must understand that there is no clear and unambiguous answer.
Creating a site navigation menu (as well as its individual elements) is one of the best practices for a designer and one of the most difficult tasks. It is very important predictability and expectation of the result: if the user goes to a particular section, the content of the page must meet the user's expectations: information about the company should be placed in the section "About the company", information about the services - in the section "Services", etc. Show your creativity where you want, just not in the navigation menu. To make it easier for visitors to navigate, the text and design of the navigation elements should be as simple and clear as possible.
Homepage header design and content
Various types of headline animations are in fashion today. And no wonder - it seems to be a great way to convey the main features and cost of the company's services, to attract attention. Content must convey information concisely, and the heading should work on an emotional level. At the same time, the emotional response to the heading should be born all the same (this is our deep conviction) not at the expense of the design, but, first of all, at the expense of the essence, the meaning, the content.
We strongly encourage you to familiarize yourself with this our headline creation material. Despite the fact that the material indicates that this adaptation, believe me, we have changed a lot in the article, based on our own experience.
Call to action blocks
First of all, make sure that the pages of your site have calls to action, because this is a great opportunity to lead the visitor to the next logical step. A call to action can be in the form of a simple text link (for example, “Learn more about our services”) or in the form of an interesting design element, which also functions like a miniature landing page.
The most important thing in creating a call to action is its formulation. The phrase should be simple and understandable and fully relate to the page to which the visitor goes.
Brief tips for better conflict resolution:
- Maintain good communication between all team members and customers.
- Choose a project manager with great communication skills and an objective point of view.
- Focus on the goals of the project: to persuade, motivate, inform or something else? Creative differences should not be theoretical, they should always have a real expression. This will increase the efficiency of collaboration.
Verbose copywriters VS. Creative thinking designers
Another common problem faced by many project leaders is that copywriters talk too much, and designers do not speak at all. Ask the copywriter how much time it is and he will describe the process for you to make watches. Ask the same question to the designer, and he will draw you a beautiful picture of the pendulum. Alas, neither one nor the other answer will be useful to you ...
Differences in the mentality of these two professionals really create problems in the process of implementing the content strategy. Everyone pulls a blanket to their side. But think about it. Can an image convey complete information about the key benefits of a product? And just a verbose text, without design at all? Hardly ... Only in aggregate, these two elements can bring decent results. That is why we promote the development of communication between all team members. Only in communication and cooperation can all disputes be resolved and an optimal solution can be found.
True, there is another way. Very effective, but for some reason rather unpopular - getting feedback from end users. Just show them the web page and ask them to express their opinion on its design and content, and you will find out what needs to be corrected and what to leave as is. Why can't you do it yourself? Yes, because your opinion will always be subjective. Working on a project, you put so much effort and emotion into it that it seems beautiful to you anyway. And only the real judge in the person of the end users can make an honest verdict to your creative effort. So why not throw all doubts aside and not immediately entrust this matter to those whose opinion will be the most objective?
We thank Brad Shorr (Brad Shorr) for the Content Strategy Within The Design Process - we learned something from there, rethinking and adding examples from our experience.