9 Content Design Tips for New Businesses
You might’ve read a bunch of pieces on content marketing strategy and what makes for an engaging post, as well as the basic advice on maintaining a theme, staying consistent with your message and visuals, but when you look back at your new business’ social media pages, blog or website something just doesn’t click.
Unless you have a design team along with a professionally developed corporate identity package that encompasses both your offline and online visual presence, you will probably get good use out of the following article on content design for new businesses.
1. Have a reason for each piece of content to exist
The very first thing you need to think about when designing content for your brand’s website, blog or social media is why you are creating it at all. What value will it bring to your audience or what purpose does it pursue? Is it a call to action, an announcement, a tutorial, an informative piece?
Don’t produce content just for the sake of having something to post - figure out what end you are working toward and research popular means of getting there. Categorize your future content, look at examples and read up on design rules for each piece to utilize the knowledge already available out there for you to make your content much better.
2. Get to your point right away
Verbiage and riddles have their place, but it’s definitely not in your everyday marketing content. Make it your top priority to design your content in a way that gets directly to the point. Your audience shouldn’t have to figure your message out, so ensure it’s clear right away.
3. Guide your audience through the piece.
A good design guides the viewer’s eye through the image, letting our mind know immediately where to start looking and where to finish. Imagine you have to create an invisible guideline through your design and arrange items in a linear way - from left to right, as that’s how the human eye normally perceives information.
Ensuring navigation through your piece is simple, you guarantee your audience doesn’t feel stressed, confused or lost while looking at your content. Employ visual hierarchy rules to structure your information - larger, high contrast, located at the top of the page moving content normally has the highest visual performance. To further advance your skills, study rules of composition in design.
4. Seek out ready-made templates
Looking at clean, professional posts by top brands in your industry may make you anxious about your own design skills and ability to live up to the audience’s expectation in regards to your brand’s visual presence. Before you develop your own sense and understanding of the basic design principles needed for your content to stand out, use predesigned templates for social media, blogs and website content.
5. Cut out all the clutter
Don’t decorate your designs just for the sake of decorating. Each design decision you make has to make sense visually and contextually - go back to the very first tip in this list that advises to be clear about the purpose of each piece of content you are designing.
Let your piece serve its purpose and nothing more. Any extra information, images or thrills you might be tempted to add to your content will only distract the viewer and become visual noise that stops them from clearly getting your actual message.
6. Use shape to highlight key points
Shape is one of the key design tools that can help you add accents even to rather dull pieces. Containing text or images in shapes can shift their mood or highlight certain aspects of your content.
Square and rectangular shapes give a more formal, cold feel and work best with minimalist designs. Circles and waves soften an image and contribute to a wholesome, finished look. Organic shapes are used to add a natural, relaxed feel to an image, while abstract shapes, like symbols and icons, help illustrate your piece without cluttering it.
7. Talk about one thing at a time
There’s a reason why movies and TV shows don’t normally sound like real life - characters rarely talk over each other and the viewers get to hear one line at a time. Same goes for design - only talk about one thing in one piece and don’t mix everything in at once.
8. Use as little text as possible to make your point
Nobody on the Internet is reading anything by default. People are scanning your content, so avoid including long lines of text in your content.
Overall readability of your piece is crucial for getting your message across - if the point of your communique isn’t clear within the first seconds of user’s interaction with your content, they are most likely to simply breeze right by it, leaving you with little to no eyeballs on your pages.
9. Don’t get stuck in an unchanging, monotonous look
The pitfall of sticking to a theme and having a certain "look" without a design team to keep content fresh with small variations is that your audience gets tired of the same old same old and stops paying attention altogether. So avoid being repetitive both content-wise and design as well.
Yes, you still need to have a theme and there has to be something in common between all your content, but the same stale look gets repetitious really fast, so don’t be afraid to mix it up every so often to keep your content looking fresh and intriguing.
Wrapping it up
Well, there you have it - the design tips I’ve hand-picked for you from my colleagues and all the educational resources online, which is actually a great place to start for any marketer or business owner designing own content. To pick up more design knowledge for marketing try hanging out at themed forums, groups and chats, where you can not only learn valuable tips and tricks but ask questions as well.