The marketing world has long been considered to be based on the four P’s: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. While these are still mostly relevant today (depending on how you’re marketing), they aren’t the only P’s you need for a successful marketing strategy.
Content writing doesn’t follow the rules of traditional marketing practices, especially when it comes to UX. Take a look at the five new, improved (and lemon scented) P’s of today’s era of digital content and learn how you can leverage them better than your competitors:
Every successful UX design starts with a plan, especially when you’re adding written content into the mix.
However, if you’re clueless about where to start, it’s easy to fall in line with what your competitors are doing. A lot of companies do this (perhaps even some of your own competition), but mimicking them does nothing to help you stand out as a leader.
Instead, start by building your three-part roadmap to guide you on your own content journey:
Determine what you hope to get out of your content. More paying customers? Brand exposure? A boost in social media followers? When crafted correctly, your content can help you do all of the above, and then some.
Understanding who will benefit from your content will direct the production phase of your strategy. If you don’t already have a buyer persona, make one. Consider things like
- Age Range
- Geographical Location
- Role in the buying process
- Reason for Visiting Your Website
The more specific you can be with your buyer personas, the better you can focus your message to speak directly to those people.
Types of Content
Content can take a multitude of forms, each offering its own set of pros and cons. Regardless of what your competitors are doing, some types of content may do nothing to help you reach your goals. Consider what content formats make the most sense for your audience:
- Blog posts – can help boost web traffic and give you plenty to share on social media
- Videos – can help you earn more attention on social media
- White papers – can give your credibility a thumbs up and strengthen your image as an authority in your field
- E-books – can be a perfect tool for lead gen
- Infographics – images are easily shared and deliver bite-sized information in an easy-to-scan format
- Podcasts – helpful in building a loyal fan base
Each of these three supporting pillars of your plan should work in tandem to propel your strategy. Make sure every decision in the design process aligns with your goals, audience, and the type of content you produce. If you find that something seems out of sorts, rethink your decision to stay on target.
Once you’ve established your starting point, begin building on your UX design with the right content.
For example, if your goal is to boost traffic to your website, part of your content strategy will include creating SEO articles. If you want to increase your leads, you might write an informative white paper or e-book that allows people to exchange their information for a free (or paid) download.
You also need to figure out how to best display your content on your website. For example, some blog layouts appear in list format while others are in grids. Some offer titles only while others display a short preview. If you’re featuring a content upgrade or other lead gen tactic, consider how long should you wait before presenting the opt-in box, what the opt-in box should look like, and CTA copy, to name a few choices.
In other words, for every piece of content you create, plan on creating additional content to promote it, anything from social media copy to images to landing pages. How you present your content to your readers is just as important as the content itself.
All that great content you create needs to be seen somewhere, but where?
Your website makes the obvious answer, but there are other worthy outlets that can expand your content’s reach and bring you one step closer to meeting your goals.
Start by pushing your posts to your social media channels. If you are writing blog articles or creating infographics or videos, all you need is a click-worthy caption and striking visual element to get people interested. It helps to use the same images on your social media posts as the ones they’ll see when they click through to your website to keep their experience consistent.
For e-books, white papers, and other downloadable content, you can create landing pages for each one that captures the viewer’s information before they are granted access. You can post information about your digital content on social media and include a link that directs viewers to the landing page.
Not all companies can rely on organic traffic. If you’re one of them, you may need to do a little extra work to get your content noticed.
If you’re posting on social media, you can pay a few dollars a day to boost your post to people who don’t already follow you on your social channels. Paid social media advertisements, such as Facebook ads, offer unique targeting options to ensure your content only appears to those who are most likely to be interested.
For example, if you are producing a podcast, you can create an ad that details what your podcast is about, what time it starts, where listeners can download episodes, etc. You can create a new ad each time to let listeners know when there’s something new to hear or if you want to talk about upcoming shows. Use these ads in your paid posts on social media to direct them to your podcast on your website.
Content UX via social media has its fair share of tips and tricks you’ll need to know before you start sharing:
- A/B test different titles and images to see which ones get the best response
- Keep your explanation short and to the point
- Include a call-to-action to direct viewers to the next step
In addition to content marketing on social media, you can send your blog articles and other content to those in your email database. Some companies send out emails whenever there’s a new article. Others prefer to create drip campaigns that automatically send certain emails at certain stages of the sales or customer life cycle.
Regardless of what you’re creating, take care to understand why someone is visiting your site. Be forward thinking in what else they might want to know after viewing your content. This can help ensure you strategically place correlating elements to help the reader find additional information.
Once you complete the previous four P’s, you’ll need to put your actions to the test. But first, you’ll need to define your metrics based on the goals you established.
For example, having 100 new people visit your website an hour after you posted an article to social media might seem like something’s working, but if none of those visits result in a new customer (and your goal was to gain new customers), then your efforts haven’t lived up to your expectations.
If you are using paid ads on social media, your analytics dashboard can tell you how many views, clicks, likes, and shares your ad received, as well as crucial user information such as location, how viewers found your ad, how many were mobile users, and the ratio of new visits to total visits.
You can also look at your website analytics to see how much your web traffic has increased and other valuable facts. Through hard, cold data, you can develop deeper insights into your audience and gauge what’s working and what needs to be tweaked for better results.
It’s important you discover exactly how much ROI your content is responsible for. Whatever metrics you establish should align with your initial goals. Using the right metrics to measure your success can mean the difference between a good campaign and a failed one.
Perhaps one of the most fatal mistakes some companies make in content writing is giving up too early. Instead of honing their strategy if it doesn’t give them the results they want, they throw in the towel and declare content writing doesn’t work.
The fact is, it does work, but only if you know how to make it work. Using content to improve UX isn’t always intuitive, and results don’t happen overnight. But if you can remain consistent, give it a fair shot, and make changes when changes are needed, your competitors will have plenty of catching up to do.
- Ben Shepardson is the founder of NoStop Content, a boutique writing agency focusing on helping small business clients take their websites to the next level.