Hitting Your Mark - Content Strategy & Optimization


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Explore and learn about ways to successfully focus your marketing message and engage your audience.

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Hitting Your Mark - Content Strategy & Optimization

  1. 1. Hitting Your Mark:Content Strategy& Optimization A friendly PSA from Cliff Seal, UX Designer at
  2. 2. Content Strategy and Optimization @cliffseal #pardotwebinar cliff.seal@pardot.com
  3. 3. What areyou trying to say?
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. Content Strategy and OptimizationHi, 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.
  6. 6. Content Strategy and OptimizationHi, 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.
  7. 7. “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
  8. 8. Content Strategy and OptimizationA 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.”
  9. 9. Content Strategy and OptimizationConversational 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.
  10. 10. Content Strategy and Optimization 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.
  11. 11. How long do you have? Negative Weibull distribution.
  12. 12. Content Strategy and Optimization “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
  13. 13. Content Strategy and Optimization“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
  14. 14. Content Strategy and OptimizationThe 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
  15. 15. Content Strategy and OptimizationCognitive 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
  16. 16. “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
  17. 17. Grok your users’experience.
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. Content Strategy and OptimizationUser 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.
  20. 20. Content Strategy and OptimizationContext & 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
  21. 21. Content Strategy and OptimizationEmpowerment (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
  22. 22. Defense
  23. 23. Content Strategy and OptimizationCourtesy 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.
  24. 24. Offense
  25. 25. Content Strategy and OptimizationGuide & 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.
  26. 26. You’re good. Get better.
  27. 27. Test all the things!
  28. 28. Content Strategy and OptimizationTest 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.
  29. 29. Content Strategy and OptimizationSome people will not likeyour personality.This is OK.
  30. 30. Don’t get hasty.
  31. 31. Y U NO TALK SEO YET
  32. 32. Content Strategy and OptimizationSocial 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.
  33. 33. Questions?
  34. 34. Content Strategy and Optimization @cliffseal cliff.seal @pardot.com