Although UX is often talked about in relation to website and app development, the relationship between UX and content marketing is typically overlooked. In this article, we explore the concept of UX and why marketers should take it into consideration.
First up, UX stands for ‘user experience’.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll be referring to UX in the context of digital marketing and website development. More specifically, it’s about improving the experience users have while visiting your website or using your app. By meeting – or exceeding – their expectations, they’re more likely to stick around and spend money.
As Tom Haczewski, founder and Director of The User Story, explains: “A good UX practitioner is focused on bringing different ideas together and facilitating improvements over time.
“Really, you want to bring in UX right at the beginning of a web project to make sure you get a great experience first time.
“Consider building a house. You wouldn’t say: ‘We don’t need blueprints. I’ve got a bunch of bricks in the back; we’re just gonna start building and see where we go.’
“When you get halfway through, you realise it would have been better to plan the project out. You don’t know where the kitchen is going to go because you’ve got no space for the plumbing.
“It’s the same with web development. You’ve got to bring in people who understand how these things work in the macro so that you can actually fulfil your goals.”
Tom emphasises that while the discipline is still in its infancy, the current lockdown – and its aftermath – might mean that UX comes to the fore. As more commerce moves online, businesses that neglected their online experience will need to adapt to keep pace with their competitors, who offer a better website experience and a smoother path to purchase.
Content marketers and creators should take UX into consideration because every person who sees or engages with their content will have some sort of experience.
Ideally, you want that to be positive.
You don’t want users to feel confused or frustrated by your content. You want them to stay on the site and learn more – or even part with their cash.
And you can do this by anticipating their needs and providing useful, engaging content that makes them want to hang around.
Within the context of a website development project, UX guides the content that sits on each page. Which headings, text and CTAs are needed to drive engagement? Which images and videos are likely to resonate with the user? Where should these sit?
Similarly, in relation to an ongoing content strategy, you’ll want to consider user experience at the outset. What are the desired outcomes of your strategy? How do you want the user to feel? How can you use content to achieve both your goals and the goals of your customers?
For instance, if you want to promote a new product or service, you might opt for a short animated explainer video to introduce the benefits to your audience, rather than publishing a convoluted written article. Or if you’re keen to demonstrate your reliability, you might choose to create a ‘talking heads’ client testimonial in order to demonstrate your customer service credentials.
Read more: How to Write a Content Marketing Brief
“A good marketer will always be thinking about what the point is,” Tom continues.
“In fact, that’s a good UX principle: What’s the actual end goal here? What do we want people to achieve? How do we nudge them in that direction? It’s important to take a test-and-learn approach, rather than fire-and-forget.
“Marketers should be thinking about what’s my call to action? What do I want the user to do when they read this? Do I want to have a conversation? Do I want them to buy something? Do I want them to apply for something? Do I want them to investigate our services? Or leave an email address?
“When I see things like the editing process, you often get this process where someone writes something and then it gets edited. It goes back to the writer and they rewrite it before it’s edited again. Eventually, it goes out and the business thinks it’s really a good new blog post, but nobody outside the company has read it.
“When you think about it, you’ve had no [client] feedback about whether or not that thing’s gonna work. It’s quite a high risk to take.”
To minimise that risk, put yourself in your customer’s shoes before you start the process. Try to pin down what the benefits of consuming your content for that audience.
Then, after it’s been published take a look at the analytics. Are visitors reading the whole article? Are they staying on the site to find out more? Or are they bouncing off? Could you alter the content so they’re more engaged? Taking a test and learn approach means you’re always focused on improving the user experience.