9 minutes read

If you work in the digital marketing industry you know that the hottest topic of the moment is content marketing. 

It doesn’t matter if you are a freelancer, a CEO, a marketer or a designer, you should know that you need to invest in content marketing as much, or sometimes more, as you invest in marketing strategy, social media and other channels that bring you value.  Do you want to find out more reasons why content marketing is important? Here are some short numbers I found on Contently:

  • 36 percent of B2B companies with a documented content marketing strategy considered themselves very effective, three times more than those without a documented strategy. —LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community
  • 84 percent of B2B marketers said brand awareness was a top goal. —Content Marketing Institute
  • Creating more engaging content was B2B marketers’ top initiative for 2014. —Content Marketing Institute
  • 57 percent of organizations now have two or more people dedicated to content marketing. —Contently
  • Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to have a positive ROI. —HubSpot

And now, since we agree on the importance of content marketing, let me quote what Gary Vaynerchuk wrote in august 2014 about how every company should be a media company.

This is a world where you don’t have to invest in a printing press, or a satellite, or a sales team in order to distribute your story anymore. Everybody is able to use the internet – or rather the tools being built on it like YouTube, Medium, Instagram, and Twitter – for distribution of their content. Over the next decade, more and more people are going to come to realize this, be it companies or individuals.”

The faster your business realizes that it’s a media company, the more likely it will be to succeed in 2020, in 2025, in 2030…  (Every Company is a Media Company)

I know that some of you are doing a great jobwriting articles, e-books, tweeting out or sending good e-mails. But let me tell you something that some of you forgot to take in consideration – Does design related content plays an important part in your marketing strategy? Are you investing your resources in design as much as you invest in content marketing?

Here at Creatopy, we strongly believe that design is a major game changer in content marketing. This is why we work every day to create an app that will help you deliver professional visuals (banners, covers, social media ads) for your projects. Just think about Banner Score and how this feature can be your personal design assistant.

So, how important is marketing design for our content strategy? Very important.

To prove that design is important in today’s content marketing strategy, we asked a few friends to answer this question too.

 

Jacob Gube

Web readers now expect to be engaged visually. Thus, an effective content marketing strategy will involve the creation of useful imagery: Information-carrying visuals such as charts, labeled product screenshots, animated graphics, and illustrations.

In order to be effective in conveying the desired message, not only must your imagery be useful, they must also be aesthetically-pleasing, impressive, and visually-aligned with the brand being marketed. It’s not enough to create a pie chart in Excel and plop it onto a post. A good content marketing strategy will involve putting significant efforts towards developing and designing useful and aesthetically-pleasing imagery.

[Tweet “Web readers now expect to be engaged visually via @sixrevisions”]

Jacob Gube is the Founder/Chief Editor of Six Revisions, a popular web development and design site and the Deputy Editor of Design Instruct, a web magazine for designers. He has over seven years of experience as a professional web developer and has written a book on JavaScript

 

Joseph Kalinowski

Design is incredibly important in today’ content marketing strategy.

Considering the amount of channels that brands use to promote their content, they are always in competition for space and attention in the various news feed. Having a weak or unappealing design could cause your content to be totally skipped and lost in the feed.

[Tweet “Design is incredibly important in today’ content marketing strategy via @ringo66”]

Joseph Kalinowski is the Creative Director for Chief Content Officer Magazine, Content Marketing World and Content Marketing Institute

 

Joe Pulizzi

The “content” in your content marketing strategy does not just include the words, it’s the entire experience.  That means you cannot separate one from the other. If the design is not engaging or does not grab attention, the words may never be read.

What’s the purpose of a magazine cover?  To get opened.  The same goes for your design.

[Tweet ” If the design is not engaging or does not grab attention, the words may never be read via @joepulizzi”]

Joe Pulizzi is founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World.

 

Rob Wormley

As we head into 2016, it’s going to be more important than ever to take design into consideration when developing and publishing content. Just like we’ve seen with SEO, it’s not enough to simply publish words on a blog anymore—you have to take the time to develop high-quality content for readers and you have to do it in a way that makes it easier and more enjoyable to digest.

If you want to get readers to return to your blog more often and stay on your pages longer, you have to be willing to add more “value add” components to your content—like mini infographics, content upgrades, breakout boxes, etc. That’s where effective design comes into play.

[Tweet “It’s not enough to simply publish words on a blog anymore via @RobWormley”]

Rob Wormley is a content marketer and writer. Over the past seven years, he has developed digital marketing strategies and content for best-selling authors, Hall of Fame speakers, and brands all across the country. He currently works as a content marketing manager for When I Work.

 

Neil Patel

Design is important in the world of content marketing. Through design and images you can more easily get your message across, which will help you get more social shares and traffic. Don’t take design for granted… just look at my advanced guides on Quick Sprout… they have done well mainly because of the design.

[Tweet “Through design and images you can more easily get your message across via @neilpatel”]

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy EggHello Bar and KISSmetrics. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

 

Samuel Scott

Websites and online content need to conform to the specific way that people scan websites and consume articles and blog posts. People don’t like long blocks of words — it is better to break up text with bullet points, headings, and images. Paragraphs should consist of three sentences maximum rather than the five to ten sentences that generally occurs in traditional writing.

The main points and takeaways — the thesis statements or nut graphs, if you will — need to be bolded or otherwise highlighted because people do not read content in-depth. Instead, they merely scan to get the major points or themes.

For better or worse, peoples’ attention spans are declining — and we need to incorporate that reality by communicating marketing messages as quickly and concisely as possible in all content and on all communications channels.

[Tweet “We need to incorporate marketing messages as quickly and concisely as possible via @samueljscott”]

Samuel Scott, Global speaker on SEO & digital marketing. Director of Marcom for Logz.io. Digital marketing consultant.

 

Ted Rubin

For me design, with regard to content and content marketing, is about ease of use, ease of access, and being certain about sending people to where they expect to go.

Be careful about over designing for aesthetics that take away from your goal. And… if you are content marketing with an eye to getting me to click on a link or a photo of a product, be sure to land me on the page with an offer for the product that enticed me to click, not on a general inventory page with this item no where in sight.

[Tweet “Be careful about over designing for aesthetics that take away from your goal via @tedrubin”]

Ted Rubin is a leading Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist and Acting CMO of Brand Innovators and in March 2009 started publicly using and evangelizing the term ROR: Return on Relationship™ 

 

Phillip Brooks

As a writer, I often find myself struggling to find the perfect words to make my copy resonate with my target audience. With the explosion of analytics, I have a pretty good idea what kind of content will appeal to our userbase.

Designers, on the other hand, have my unwavering respect because what they do is so subjective. Even the feedback they get can be difficult to parse in a meaningful way. I can take notes on what needs updating when I see how my content goes out into the ether, but designers rarely get feedback unless it’s negative.

Everyone has an opinion about design but designers rarely get feedback that articulates exactly how to make that vision into reality.
Good design is the unsung hero of content marketing. It’s the absolute top of the funnel. If design isn’t a primary focus in your content development, prepare for a bounce rate that’s through the roof.

People may not always be able to articulate what they like about a design, but they know what they DON’T like, and those results can be catastrophic to your content.

[Tweet “People may not always be able to articulate what they like about a design via @PBrooks_SEO”]

Phillip Brooks is a prolific content creator who has engineered content marketing strategies and new media materials for clients ranging from Fortune 500 Companies to local small business owners. Also, he is the Director of Content Marketing at SEMrush 

 

Raul Popa

Design isn’t just the way something looks like on the outside, design is not just the style of a page, but how it’s meant to be understood, how it’s meant to be read, to be known.

When you design content you have to keep in mind a lot of aspects: what do you want to communicate, how search engines see it, how people see it, how it looks in a summary version, how it looks when shared over social media, how it emphasizes the main “takeaways”, and ultimately how it sells.

[Tweet “Design it’s meant to be understood via @raulpopa”]

Raul Popa is the Product Manager @Creatopy. Raul describes himself as a “Future thinker, product strategist, growth hacker, lifetime coder, manager and founder“. He is passionate about innovation, building disrupting products, and using statistics and data to solve impossible problems in creative ways. 

 

Gregory Ciotti 

To me, the two are inseparable. As Paul Rand says, “Design is the method of putting form and content together.”

Design is how you deliver content to a reader — a great book is still a pretty shitty experience if the pages keep falling out and the ink smears all over your hands. If “great content” is the bar you’re reaching for, you can’t have mediocre design.

They are one in the same.

[Tweet “Design is how you deliver content to a reader via @GregoryCiotti”]

Gregory Ciotti is on the marketing team at Help Scout, the invisible help desk software. 

 

Joe McCambley

I’m actually asked this question often, and it always surprises me.

The knee-jerk response to your question is, “OF COURSE design is important to content marketing strategy.”

One of the components of content marketing is individual pieces of branded content, with “branded” being the operative word. Anyone who believes that design is unimportant to content marketing must also believe that design is unimportant to their brand. Perhaps, in a relative sense, design may be less important to some brands than others, but anyone responsible for any brand will likely tell you that design plays a role in their success.

In the earliest stages of any advertising technology, brands and agencies fool themselves into believing in the technology first, and the brand second. That often leads to poor design choices.

In the early days TV they simply put talking heads in front of cameras, and had faith that television would make them successful. That worked for a time until then novelty wore off. Now you see how far TV has come, and how important design is to success on TV.

In the early days of the Web conventional wisdom said, “If you build it they will come.” All you needed was a site, and the technology–the browsers, the modems, the computers, would do the rest. Again, once the novelty wore off, design became hugely important to success on the Web.

Now in content marketing conventional wisdom says, “Blog once a day and you’ll increase conversions by a factor of 6!” “Articles outperform banners!” All of that is true while content marketing is a novelty. Like always, the novelty will wear off, and we’ll all come to the realization that design is, and always has been, important.

[Tweet “One of the components of content marketing is individual pieces of branded content via @jmccambley1”]

Joe McCambley is creative director and co-founder of The Wonderfactory, a New York City digital design firm. Dubbed by some the ad industry’s “first digital copywriter,” McCambley was part of the team in 1994 that created the first-ever banner ad.

 

Jeff Bullas

Design is vital in content marketing. Often all you are trying to do is achieve one goal such as capture a lead. So keep it simple and make it easy for people to understand and act with simple design.

Here is also a blog post that you can link to. http://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/07/02/the-power-of-simple-writing/

[Tweet “Design is vital in content marketing via @jeffbullas”]

Jeff Bullas is the man behind JeffBullas.com, one of the world’s leading Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Blogs. Jeff’s blog features a lot of visual content (including infographics), tools, tips and strategy for “getting found online”.  

 

Daniel Andor

Design is a key point in almost anything today. You have to create beautiful, nice looking things (banners, interfaces, apps, products etc. ) to reach more people, get more customers and sell better. So I think you could say that design is a key point in content marketing strategy.

You have to deliver a visually pleasant message to your users (a really great message with a really great design) to get noticed and enter the loop to get new customers for your product.

[Tweet “Design is a key point in almost anything today via @daniandor”]

Daniel Andor is the UI & Interaction Designer @FlipSnack 

 

Michelle Nickolaisen

I’d vote that design is incredibly important in today’s content marketing strategies. Good design is getting more and more common, to the point where most B2B and B2C consumers expect to see it when they land on a site (or open an app, etc.).

There’s also the proliferation of content marketing in general, which means that you need a way to stand out from the crowd of content – good design is a great way to do that.

[Tweet “You need a way to stand out from the crowd of content via @_ChelleShock”]

Michelle Nickolaisen is a freelance writer/biz owner that lives in Austin, TX. When she’s not writing (typically about business or productivity related topics), she’s watching Buffy, Doctor Who, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  

 

Jacob Cass

Design is important whenever it comes to any type of strategy, and it should be ingrained there from the beginning. This goes for content marketing as well… from having supporting visuals, to when and where the content is going. All of this helps ensure that your content get’s seen by as many targeted people as possible.

[Tweet “Design is important whenever it comes to any type of strategy via @justcreative”]

Jacob Cass is the  founder of ‘JUST™ Creative’. He works as a freelance graphic designer & blogger while traveling the world. On his website you will find his personal graphic design portfolio, as well as a blog on the main subject of graphic design and more. 

 

Now back to you –  How important is design in today’s content marketing strategy?

Robert Katai
Robert Katai is the Content & Communication Manager of Creatopy. His work was featured on Adweek, Entrepreneur, Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute and other places.

6 Comments

  1. Well personally I believe content marketing still is a great strategy to boost up traffic to any website. Google will always have the interest on quality content and they do tend to rate them generously.

  2. Great article Robert! I completely agree that digital marketing starts with web design, clearly the design and interface of your website are defining factors if a visitor will stay or leave in an instant.

    Effective web design is our holding element for visitors to stay long enough to eventually be converted into an actual paying customer. Website design and development must be congruent with the key Digital Marketing Principles for WordPress to attract, engage, and delight your potential customers.

    We’ve written an article about the same topic and would love to have your feedback, we also talk about the importance and principles of web design for digital marketing https://goo.gl/qeHB4V

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