No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013
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No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013

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While content as “king” may not be the best analogy, the importance of well-written, useful, textual content cannot be overstated. Tone can affect engagement, keywords can make or break your SEO, ...

While content as “king” may not be the best analogy, the importance of well-written, useful, textual content cannot be overstated. Tone can affect engagement, keywords can make or break your SEO, length can kill interest–great writing is vital. Content is not just blog posts or “About” pages, it is everything that gives information (including the way the information itself is presented).

You have a great business or cause, but there are countless others just a click away. How do you find the right people to get involved, and how do you make them care?

In this session, we will refresh how you view your own web content by seeing it through the eyes of the user, and we will discuss methods of improving UX by employing simple and effective psychology alongside common-sense SEO. We will also explore how methods of effective in-person conversation can be applied to web content strategy. Then, since better prospects will be finding and reading your content, I will show you how to target your audience, measure the results, and constantly improve your outreach.

Through being both appropriately satirical and data-driven, I take a unique approach to getting content creators to spend some time in the shoes of their audience, revealing some of the absurdities of our assumptions and demonstrating how to challenge and test them. Data, empathy, logic, and optimization, together, always lead to better engagement. More concretely, we will discuss:

- How visitors measure and absorb value when viewing web content (using data, psychology, and theories)
- How real conversation teaches us how to engage with visitors
- How to systematically and sustainably empathize with your target audience
- How to make content memorable through positive emotional interaction
- How to define and focus on your target audience
- How to identify and test your assumptions about user interaction

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No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. No one caresabout your content(yet). A friendly PSA from Cliff Seal, UX Designer
  • 2. This presentation willemploy satire.“Satire ... is ‘a literary manner which blendsa critical attitude with humor and wit to theend that human institutions or humanitymay be improved.’” The Purpose and Method of Satire, Robert Harris
  • 3. @cliffseal #NoOneCares #WCPHXLogos-Creative.com/WCPHX
  • 4. What areyou trying to say?
  • 5. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013I’M CLIFF!!!! PLEASE LET MESPEAK??? • I’m MARRIED!!!...my wife’s name is April...we met when we were kids...that means we’ve known each other a long time...we’ve been married for three years.• I was born on November 19, 1986...thatmeans I’m 26...I’m in my 20’S!!! • I work at PARDOT!!!!...it says UX Designer on my business card...UX• I live in Cabbagetown...that’s in stands for user experience...I design userATLANTA!!!...I live in a loft...a loft is a type experiences for Pardot. PLEASE LET MEof room. TALK!!! PLEASE!!!11!!1
  • 6. Y U MAD?
  • 7. tl;dr
  • 8. logos“In ordinary, non-technical Greek, logos had a semantic field extending beyond “word” to notions such as, on the one hand, language, talk, statement, speech, conversation, tale, story, prose, proposition, and principle; and on the other hand, thought, reason, account, consideration, esteem, due relation, proportion, and analogy.” Wikipedia
  • 9. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Hi, I’m Cliff.• I work at Pardot as a UX Designer • I’m an Atlanta native and live here with(among other things). my wife, April.• I’ve been working with non-profits andsmall businesses consistently for about • I’m honored and excited to speak withfour years, doing identities, web design you today about making more efficientand development, and more. connections between people and the things that they love.
  • 10. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Hi, I’m Cliff.• I work at Pardot as a UX Designer • I’m an Atlanta native and live here with(among other things). I know what I’m my wife, April. I’m a normal human beingtalking about. who’s invested in others and my community.• I’ve been working with non-profits andsmall businesses consistently for about • I’m honored and excited to speak withfour years, doing identities, web design you today about making more efficientand development, and more. I have connections between people and theexperience in the area I’m talking about. things that they love. I’m passionate about this.
  • 11. “If we’re doing our job well, the computer recedes into thebackground, and personalities rise to the surface. To achievethis goal, we must consider how we interact with one another in real life.” Designing for Emotion, Aarron Walter
  • 12. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013A Structure of ConversationGreeting: “Hello.” or “Hi!”, or “Hayyyyyyyyyyy!” or *head tilt*Common Ground: “It’s nice to see you again.” or “It’s great to finally meet you.” or “Youwork with Ted, right?” or weird catchphraseCircumstance: “What are you up to these days?” or “How is that girlfriend of yours?” or“How’s the new job?” or awkward personal questionsEventually, Ending: “It was nice to meet you.” or “It was great to see you again.” or“Thanks so much for your time.” or “Please don’t operate a motor vehicle right now.”
  • 13. “Our lasting relationships center around the unique qualities and perspectives we all possess. We call it personality. Through our personalities, we express the entire gamut of human emotion. Personality is the mysterious force that attracts us to certain people and repels us from others. Because personality greatly influences our decision-making process, it can be a powerful tool...” Designing for Emotion, Aarron Walter
  • 14. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Conversational AssumptionsYou have my attention for an indefinite amount of time.Either I think we have something in common, or thefutility of speaking with you is less awful than this silence.Speaking with you will get me something I want—be thatsimple enjoyment, friendship, or a business relationship.I understand (but may be unaware or forgetful) that youhave the same motives.
  • 15. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013 Technological Assumptions You have my attention for an indefinite amount of time. Either I think we have something in common, or I’m bored, or I came here by accident. I hope that visiting this site will get me something I want— be that entertainment, an actual product, a chance to be charitable. I understand (but may be unaware or forgetful) that you are either sharing with me or selling me something.
  • 16. How long do you have? Negative Weibull distribution.
  • 17. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013 “The probability of leaving is very high during these first few seconds ... People know that most Web pages are useless, and they behave accordingly to avoid wasting more time than absolutely necessary on bad pages. ... To gain several minutes of user attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition within 10 seconds.” How Long Do Users Stay on Web Pages?, Jakob Nielson
  • 18. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013“On an average visit, usersread half the informationonly on those pages with 111words or less. In the fulldataset, the average pageview contained 593 words.So, on average, users willhave time to read 28% ofthe words if they devote allof their time to reading.More realistically, users willread about 20% of the texton the average page.” How Little Do Users Read?, Jakob Nielson
  • 19. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013The Problem of Judgment “Researchers found that the brain makes decisions in just a 20th of a second of viewing a webpage.” “The researchers also believe that these quickly formed first impressions last because of ... the ‘halo effect’. [...] Since people like to be right, they will continue to use the website that made a good first impression, as this will further confirm that their initial decision was a good one.” First impressions count for web, BBC News
  • 20. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Cognitive Bias (Halo Effect)“The halo effect or halo error is a cognitive bias in which our judgments of a person’scharacter can be influenced by our overall impression...” (Wikipedia)“A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particularsituations, which may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment,illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.” (Wikipedia)“‘Unless the first impression is favorable, visitors will be out of your site before theyeven know that you might be offering more than your competitors...’” First impressions count for web, BBC News
  • 21. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013The Art of ConversationDo’s of Conversation Don’t’s of Conversation1. Listen more than you talk. 1. Don’t interrupt.2. Come to an occasion armed with 2. Don’t talk to only one person whentopics at the ready. conversing in a group.3. Tailor the conversation to the listener. 3. Don’t engage in “one-upping.”4. Take your turn. 4. Don’t overshare.5. Think before you speak. The Number One Rule of Conversation: Be Natural The Art of Conversation, Brett & Kate McKay
  • 22. “In the absence of detailed information, we all work fromassumptions about who the user is, what he or she does, and what type of system would meet his or her needs. Following these assumptions, we tend to design for ourselves, not for other people.” Human Factor: Designing Computer Systems for People, Richard Rubinstein and Harry Hersh
  • 23. Lost Stork
  • 24. “He took into consideration the sensitive nature of ourclientele the website will reach and designed a beautifulwebsite in a very calming and non-threatening manner.” Meghan Swann, Lost Stork Foundation
  • 25. Grok your users’experience.
  • 26. grok“Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience.” Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
  • 27. Restaurants
  • 28. “Intel over instinct doesn’t mean logic over emotion. It just means [you] value the emotions of your target audiences more than [your] own emotions.”How to Evaluate a UX Designer for Your Company, or, What Makes a Great User Experience Designer Whitney Hess
  • 29. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013User PersonaCliff is a twenty-something, married man with no kids. Heworks at a tech company in Buckhead. He is easy-goingbut busy and focused, so he often sets reminders toaccomplish accumulated tasks after work is complete, ordoes them immediately. He uses his iPhone to performmost research, schedule things, and communicate. Heuses social media, but mostly to keep in touch withothers and receive news and updates.
  • 30. “Communicators rely on the listener or reader to invoke acontext for understanding that is the same as the one they have in mind.” Clarity in Context: Rethinking Misunderstanding, Barbara Schneider
  • 31. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Context & Empathy Grok your users, and seek to understand the circumstances surrounding their interaction with you Focus on the areas where your contexts overlap Provide a feedback mechanism (form, social media, short surveys, etc.) that you’ll respond to
  • 32. “MailChimp’s voice is first and foremost human. It’s familiar, it’s friendly, and it’s straightforward. We crack jokes and tellstories, but we know when to keep a straight face too. We’re helpful. And when we’re helping people, we use language that educates and empowers them without patronizing or confusing them. We have more than a million users [...] who experience a whole spectrum of emotions when they’re interacting with MailChimp. So we consciously adjust our tone, based on our users’ feelings.” Voice & Tone, MailChimp
  • 33. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Empowerment (Delight) Play defense against negative emotion (i.e., irrelevance or poorly-presented content creates apathetic reactions) Seek to create the positive emotional connections that benefit both the user and you Always be a memorable pleasure
  • 34. Defense
  • 35. wan res auran Menu Specials and happ~ hour info CTnc.luding soc.iat promotions suc.h as Foursciuare, Groupan. and Twitter spec.ials)~ Address with a link to google maps_.. Online reservation system that actually works (instead of one where I make a reservation online. show up. and the hostess grves me o bla~. c.onfused stare when I -f;etl her my name)_.. Hours of operation. parking and c.ontac.t info
  • 36. ~ What I get instead:Obnoxious flas h animation Menu is· onlyshowing giant pictures of downloadable as a ~omeg;ibytecouples stuffing food in POF fileeac.h others faces Cant c.opy/ past e anything because its in flashLetter from thefounder that no [ very restauront owner thirllsone has ever or that theyre the fn;t peroon to willeverread We lco me, usethePopyrusfont 4M _ _ _,...-""; would like to take thi5opf?rtunit9 towelc.ome 1 ~ toeafe Meat9"1.lmmer5, founded in /3/f:NCe nineteer>-<>h--who-gives-a-shit. W serve onl9 the finest, freshest i".1Tedient6 strai~t to 90ur mouth. e Our excit ing. mood9 atmosphere will enchant and entrance ~u whi!C_you bathe in dim candlelight, which can also help make 90urdate look better if he o r she 15 u.!99 as hell. Our warm , welcoming staff will t reat !JOU as nothing short of fum il9 - because if the9 don•t well rePort them as ille§lls- An!Jlhing is possible at Cafe Meat9Yummers. The onl9 limit is 90Urself. Love, - Phil Meat9 Owner Home ·
  • 37. IHINGS ON 1Hf" Ft<ONf Pfr£. lHNGS F£0PLE GO TD a=- A uN~VERSf1Y WEBS,TE 1HE SITE U:OKtNG F~ CPMAJSMTO UST OF" ~(UL1Y PH~E SllOCSHOv ~MBERS AND 8V15 t AUM Nf 1 IN1Hc PROMOTlONS (.ANPV5 Af+lJCATl~ NEJS F~ CAMPUS fORM5 EVENTS FUlLPRESS R£LEASE5 NMEOF P<Afl€JL CAMM RU:E ~ca. Ftt?NE NStAJEl"E:Nror:1HE , l Et 1ER ~RTMENr/ PHI Ff.In TH, E usrG PRES,OOJT ~&£ VIRTUAL 1bVR CAnPC>s MAP
  • 38. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Courtesy in ContentMake your content accessible to everyone throughbest practices. This is no longer optional.Stop with the ‘click here’. Tell the user what to expectwhen they click to avoid negative surprise, and usetitle tags.You might get an SEO boost as well. You canread one of countless articles and opinions on this.Avoid ‘dirty magnets’ like “Resources”, unless it linksto exactly what it states.
  • 39. Offense
  • 40. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Guide & Entice Your UsersClearly state your unique value proposition and give anobvious action.Appeal to the user’s emotion by creating opportunities forgut decisions.Use lines and ‘line of sight’, contrast, and action terms, todirect the user’s attention to specific areas, especiallyalong their normal eyesight path.
  • 41. Stonerider
  • 42. Your Turn
  • 43. You’re good. Get better.
  • 44. Test all the things!
  • 45. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Test All Your Assumptions Make a list of assumptions about your target user, and argue and update that list often. Test calls-to-action and headlines using A/B testing or multi-armed bandit algorithms. Then, optimize and re-test. Constantly challenge the assumption that you know what you are assuming and that you’re correct in those assumptions.
  • 46. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Some people will not likeyour personality.This is OK.
  • 47. Don’t get hasty.
  • 48. r I rtu s ui t d • TO • • p• •
  • 49. Y U NO TALK SEO YET
  • 50. No One Cares About Your Content (Yet): WordCamp Phoenix 2013Social media conversations are the backlinks of the future (today). You can use these same techniques on various social media networks. Immerseyourself in them, engage others in the way they want to be engaged, test, and adapt.
  • 51. “Content doesn’t just get created in a vacuum. For it to be useful and a helper/catalyst for change, it needs underlying vision, structure and strategy. In other words, we need to becareful about throwing dozens of different, disparate ideas at the web (no matter how interesting they are by themselves), expecting them to be successful.” Some Thoughts on Web Content Strategy, Joshua Blankenship
  • 52. @cliffseal #NoOneCares #WCPHXLogos-Creative.com/WCPHX