Probably you don’t know yet, but your marketing department should hire a content designer.
Similarly when companies began creating profiles on social networks “because they had to be there”, without really knowing why, now companies follow the trend of content marketing. Certainly, they create content, but I doubt that it can be called “marketing”.
What does content design mean?
As products, services or businesses, content needs to be designed. Valuable content is useless if it is incomprehensible, boring, overloaded, poorly structured or it simply cannot be found.
In his book “The Elements of User Experience”, Jesse James Garrett defines information design as “the presentation of information in a way that facilitates understanding”.
Although we could apply this definition to content, we must not forget that we’re analyzing this issue from the marketing perspective. Consequently, our goal cannot be only the creation of understandable content, but also appealing content. We need to convince our audience that it is worth devoting time to consume our content.
Thus, we could define content design as the presentation of content in a way that communicates its value and facilitates understanding in order to promote or sell a product, service, or brand.
The elements of content design
When we create, publish and share content we need to consider a number of elements if we want to use that content as a marketing tool. The following is a brief summary of the elements of design content.
Information is our raw material and its quality is essential. The basic principle of marketing is to offer valuable content and quality information. To do this, we need to produce original ideas and materialize them as content.
The channel is the medium through which we will convey information. The choice of the channel is paramount, since it will determine the next design elements. Sharing content through a tweet it’s no the same as sharing it through a post, a book or a screen. Each channel prioritizes certain formats and, in turn, poses certain limitations.
The information may take different formats: text, images, sound or video. Content may be limited to one of these formats or combine them (something increasingly common). It’s important to know which formats are most suitable in every situation. In this article, for example, I have included several pictures to support the text.
Content needs to be structured. This involves different things.
First, the ideas we want to convey must be organized following a thread, an order. Secondly, content can be structured through different channels (for example, using microcontent or transmedia storytelling) so it can be consumed in different contexts. Third, a good structure can help the public to quickly understand the message. In the figure below I show an example of content in text format.
Finally, all these elements should be combined considering a strategy: choosing the type of content, channel, timing, the target audience, the use of certain keywords, metrics…
As we can see, content marketing cannot be confined to the production of content. This needs to be designed so that it can reach our audience and be consumed. Content design requires the use of very different skills and, for this, professionals with transversal key competences are required: copywriting, graphic design, marketing strategy…
We’re just at the beginning of content marketing, but we can be sure that the content designer will be one of the most important profiles.