When someone utters the word “content,” most people make the assumption that they’re referring to the written information presented on the media that is displayed in front of them. However, not all content is written. From the visual story presented by images, to the memorable and engaging videos published across the web today, content comes in a variety of forms and each form has its own function.
As digital advertisers and marketers, we’re always presented with the obstacles and challenges associated with providing measurable results along with an interactive and enhanced user experience. Ask any copywriter, content strategist, web analytics specialist, or social media specialist, using content to enhance a user’s overall experience isn’t easy. However, when content is produced by professionals who take the time to cater it for humans, it can create lasting and fruitful online relationships.
The Science of Content Placement and User-Experience.
When developing content to enhance a user’s experience, there are many elements to take into consideration. Content must always be a usable, useful, desirable, accessible, discoverable, credible, and valuable commodity. But first and foremost, digital content must be catered to the platform it’s being published on–and that platform should take into consideration whether their online consumers will be viewing this content on a small scale device, like a mobile phone, or a standard or larger scale device. Consider how a web user uses digital devices and content before generating anything. Multiple eye-tracking studies have indicated that Internet searchers quickly scan digital content, identifying and stopping on a headline or a keyword that catches their attention. Other findings indicate that digital content is examined in an “F-shaped” pattern. Web visitors start by looking in the upper left corner, sweep their focus in two horizontal strokes across the continent, and then carry their gaze in a vertical pattern down the left corner of the screen.
Based on how users examine digital content, it’s vital to cater your content–visual, audio, and verbal–to enhance their experience. Make sure your content gets to the point quickly and efficiently, and don’t waste your time or theirs on unnecessary fluff. Try highlighting keywords with various typefaces, hypertext links (when appropriate and ethical), or color to draw dedicated searchers to their desired information. Also, make your text more scannable with bullets, objective language, and engaging visual content–and don’t forget to place it on the left side, for easy readership.
Grab Users and Keep Them Coming Back for More.
Now that you’ve made your content more user-friendly, it’s time for the fun and creative part–the production of content. As the title suggests, content’s sole purpose is to educate, engage, and enhance your digital visitor’s experience. No matter what form of content produced, it should be creative, accurate, engaging, informative, and produced for humans–gone are the days of producing content for SERP rankings.
In the world of content, quality ALWAYS trumps quantity. Since the Internet is infinite domain, chances are your great content idea has already been produced before. Whether it’s an image of a man fixing an AC unit for your company’s new website or a blog describing the various noises a broken HVAC unit is making, make it unique, make it memorable, make it engaging, and make it BETTER than everyone else. Use a variety of media to elevate your content and quash the mediocre competition, and publish on a variety of channels. Blogs and website content are important, but no matter how amazing your content is, you have to grab your reader. Adding an image can increase engagement and enhance your user’s connection with your brand. During an ROI research report, researchers found that 44% of online users are more likely to engage with brands that use interesting imagery. These various forms of content will provide an experience that your viewers will appreciate and in exchange for your quality work, they’ll give you their attention. If your various forms of content don’t stand out from the crowd because too much energy is expelled producing mass quantities–you’ll be buried and discarded with the other SPAM-like pieces of content plaguing the web. Brand your content and display it on various, and appropriate, mediums to build and maintain relationships with your loyal followers.
Pew Internet conducted a study with results that suggest that online content consumption has played a major role in reducing the average American consumer’s attention span. Therefore, it has become necessary to use digital content to capitalize on a less attentive and multi-tasking audience. Provide your viewers with a navigation that is catered to their experience; the opportunity to create user-generated content, like reviews and testimonials; and provide them with valuable and engaging content that’ll keep them coming back for more. Remember, write for your human readers, consider the medium your work will be presented on to increase user experience, always edit to ensure credibility, and make sure it’s a commodity worth having.