With great content comes great design responsibility.
While some content marketers often consider content design as their strategy’s sidekick, it actually makes it more powerful. In fact, design done right can be the deciding factor in whether or not your content is the hero of your marketing strategy.
Stringing strong sentences together may be essential to content creation, but design is one of the biggest factors in how consumers absorb and engage with content. In fact, up to 50% of businesses report very successful results when dedicating marketing efforts toward content design.
Design elements like infographics can take complicated information, break it down, and organize it in ways that are attractive, user-friendly, and easy to digest.
At Siege Media, our team boasts decades of experience in content design across more than 17,600 projects for various clients. Content design is crucial to upholding the integrity of our strategies and beyond, which is why it’s integral to our content creation services.
- What Is Content Design?
- Why Does It Matter?
- Content Designer vs. UX Writer
- Content Design Best Practices
- How To Execute Content Design in 4 Steps
- Content Design: The Real Superpower
What Is Content Design?
Content design is a visual representation of data or information that can quickly and easily answer a user’s questions.
This can include text, images, graphics, graphs, videos, and any other type of content that communicates with viewers in a digestible way.
Content design prioritizes a business strategy while also combining creative thinking with design theory, principles, and image best practices, which can all accommodate various user needs. Consumers can also interact with the content design of a post — even on social media platforms or other sites.
Instead of telling the consumer what they should know, content designers illustrate the main points, fun facts, and important data of a post. Content design is more than just pictures — it’s a game-changing information delivery system.
Why Does It Matter?
Shareability is nearly as important as readability — especially if you want to reach new audiences or target specific industries. By creating clear and captivating content design, you can increase the possibility that your audience will both consume and engage with your content.
No matter your performance goals, this domino effect can boost several metrics, including:
- Brand awareness
- Linking root domains (LRDs)
- SEO optimization
- Lead quality
But content design’s importance doesn’t stop there. Raw data and evidence can also enhance the credibility and value of your content — naturally helping you establish E-E-A-T. This content authority can increase the number of repeat visitors or customers your site sees.
Content Designer vs. UX Writer
Content designers and UX writers — sometimes referred to as UX designers — frequently get mixed up because they both have backgrounds in design. Despite this similarity, these professions differ pretty significantly.
A content designer:
- Holds a more strategic role with a larger impact on the overall look of a project
- Executes the visual aesthetic
- Understands and knows how to effectively communicate to their audience
- Possesses skills in writing compelling copy
- Designs on-page visual assets
A UX writer:
- Focuses on the user’s journey
- Studies how people interact with a digital piece of content or website
- Constructs data analytics
- Sends products and content through various tests and adjusts the user’s experience based on the results
- Designs website templates and writes conversion-focused copy
Neither role outranks the other. In fact, it’s common for a content designer to work side by side with a UX writer to achieve optimal design results.
Content Design Best Practices
Good design can take your content to new heights — no hero’s cape needed! However, your content design needs to be accessible, valuable, and impressionable to stand out from the crowd.
Accessibility isn’t a buzzword — it’s an incredibly important design element that can make or break the success of your content. Creating accessible content means that everybody can engage with it — a cornerstone of DEI in marketing.
Optimize for SEO
If your website isn’t SEO-friendly or you don’t follow blog design best practices, you’ll likely have a difficult time ranking on the SERP. Pages that efficiently communicate relevant information for all consumers are more likely to be rewarded by search engines.
To create optimized original content, follow SEO writing tips for content design, like:
- Writing keyword-focused alt text
- Including the keyword in an image’s name
- Creating mobile-friendly design assets
- Optimizing a site’s loading speed by keeping smaller images under 250KB and larger images under 1MB
- Making your designs scannable
Keep Disabilities in Mind
While considering optimization, you should create disability-friendly content. Your content design should be inclusive of all individuals, including those with physical, cognitive, visual, auditory, speech, language, learning, and neurological disabilities.
You can create this type of content design by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requirements, including:
- Providing clear navigation options
- Adding descriptive alt text to all images
- Checking the contrast of your colors
- Using multiple colors to define elements
- Designing with fonts at least as large as 16pt
- Identifying interactive elements
Create Mobile-Friendly Assets
Users view more than 52% of websites on mobile devices, effectively outpacing any other type of web browsing device. As this statistic grows, your content design must prioritize mobile optimization for images and design assets.
To create mobile-friendly content design:
- Use live, self-adjusting copy whenever possible.
- Keep your minimum type size at 16pt.
- Create mobile-specific images that will automatically adjust to a user’s browsing device.
- Design simple images and content assets.
- Allow data visualizations and charts to scroll up, down, left, and right.
Even if your content design is accessible, it won’t make a difference if it’s not valuable to the consumer. Gaining their attention is one thing — keeping it is another.
To create valuable content, focus on:
- Answering the user’s query immediately
- Creating design layouts based on the solution your audience needs
- Using engaging headers
- Writing scannable design copy and using bullet points where applicable
- Providing information clearly and concisely
- Breaking data into manageable chunks
- Designing charts, graphs, or graphics that help users interpret what they are reading
- Keeping jargon and niche references to a minimum
You have approximately eight seconds to make an impression on your readers — are you confident you can? With mountains of other content on the web, how do you engage your audience and make your piece stand out?
Simple: By going out of your way to create out-of-the-box designs.
Alright, maybe it’s not simple, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. As a matter of fact, we know a handy dandy little acronym that can help make creating unique content designs a breeze — V.I.N.E.S., which stands for:
This research method can help you find and create new, interesting design alternatives that are sure to keep readers scrolling across your page. Anyone can slap together decent design — it takes a knowledgeable content designer to create content that will stick.
Additionally, you can create impressive designs by:
- Using popular and current design trends
- Keeping color theory in mind for specific industries
- Making assets shareable across social media platforms
- Avoiding stock illustrations
- Targeting an emotion in a single piece of content
How To Execute Content Design in 4 Steps
Content designers can’t do it all — they need a tried-and-true process to help them create high-quality designs. Follow these four steps to create successful content that ranks by impressing and engaging users.
1. Conduct Audience and Keyword Research
Before hitting the ground running, you need to ask two simple questions: Who is my audience and what does the audience want or need?
Without answering these questions, your content design could fall victim to the greatest supervillain out there: being generic.
To combat the creation of boring, general designs, consider these questions to narrow down your target audience.
- What is the targeted age group?
- What is their income bracket?
- What do they like to do in their free time?
- Where are they in their career and where do they want to be?
- What do they love?
- What do they dislike?
The answers to these questions will help you put yourself in their shoes and identify how they need to receive the answers to their queries. But understanding the audience’s journey doesn’t stop there — now you must identify the most effective keyword for your content.
Your keyword research will help your content design team create high-quality, valuable content that converts.
2. Evaluate Search Intent
While your audience may type a short keyword or keyword phrase into their search engine, they are expecting to receive a specific type of result — this is known as search intent.
Did your audience search for a product or service expecting to make a purchase? Or did they ask a question they need to know the answer to? Understanding your reader’s search intent is crucial to creating valuable content.
There are four types of search intent:
- Informational: Users want to learn more about a specific topic.
- Commercial: Users want information to help them make purchasing decisions.
- Transactional: Users want to make a specific purchase.
- Navigational: Users need to get to a destination.
At this stage, content designers need to understand a user’s intent to create a helpful, cohesive post structure. Content design answering a “how-to” query should look different than an infographic, interactive calculator, or listicle that matches a user’s intent.
3. Map Out Content
Many writers skip the outlining phase when creating content. We’re here to tell you that mapping out content can actually save time and prevent mishaps.
At this point, your keyword research and intent evaluation should give you a good understanding of what your post needs to include.
When you outline your content, you’ll want to include:
- An attention-grabbing working title that includes your target keyword
- An optimized URL slug using your target keyword
- Your meta title, which should be nearly identical to your working title
- A series of headers — including potential H2s, H3s, and H4s
- Possible internal links to help direct readers to other pages on your site
- Placeholders for introduction and conclusion paragraphs
- Potential areas for design assets to break up the copy
Mapping out your content before beginning the writing and design process can help you efficiently create optimized content for your audience. Plus, this step allows you to focus on the correct user persona and tone while creating SEO-friendly content.
4. Create Engaging Design Assets
This is where the content designers shine!
At this stage in the creation process, content designers should evaluate the SERP to determine what types of content each ranking post utilizes. Elements like videos, photography, interactive GIFs or images, and static designs all play a vital role in building SEO-friendly content.
Content designers should also consider mobile users at this stage. Will each design concept transfer smoothly from one device to the next? If not, it’s best to determine how to maximize every reader’s user experience before moving forward.
Additionally, content designers need to be aware that brand-friendly content should be polished and use consistent styling and typography. Only high-quality images — from stock photos to professionally-curated images — should be in the copy to tell a well-versed story.
If you’re searching for areas to add design assets, look for:
- Bullet points
- Step-by-step instructions
- Difficult concepts
Many of these sections — which are often wordy — can benefit from creative, engaging designs that help break down copy into manageable pieces.
Content Design: The Real Superpower
Content designers are superheroes. They may not fly across the city fighting crime on every corner, but they fight the good fight for exceptional user experiences and optimized content.
By investing in Siege Media’s content marketing services, you can take your business from underdog to superhero in a flash. Saving the world takes time, effort, and expertise — and producing top-tier content design is no different.