While content still hails as king, bad design can kill the most compelling copy. No matter how good of a marketing writer you are, the format of your design can quickly scare off potential consumers of your content.
As editors, we must realize attention spans have become shorter. Readers scan quickly and move on. Follow these five design tips to get the most out of your content.
1. Less Is More
Cluttered design discourages peoples’ ability to scan. Readers will become frustrated by garish design that does not allow them to discover your intentions quickly. Allow for plenty of white space and keep your paragraphs short. Remember – no one wants to read marketing copy.
2. Graphics Come First
As an editor it pains me to say the vast majority of people look at graphics on a page first. Take advantage of this by communicating with images instead of words when you can. You can also use graphics to catch the scanners’ eyes, causing them to stay a little longer.
3. Encourage the Scanner
If people really do prefer to scan and move on, cater to them. Use numbered lists and headers with your paragraphs that will communicate your message quickly. Maybe the casual reader will be drawn in, but if not, they will at least have understood the gist of your content.
4. Create a Content Hierarchy
Content needs to have a logical progression on the page. Scanning patterns most often resemble a capital F. With this in mind you know where to put your most important content that leads to the message you want to communicate quickly. Calls-to-Action are most frequently acted on at the right-hand side of the page.
5. Get ‘Em Quickly
Once you have the finished product, step back and take a look. If you can’t tell the purpose of the content within seconds, then you have lost the reader. Consumers need to realize how your content applies to them very quickly or you lose them.
In the fast paced information age of tweets and blogs, good design can help your content keep your audience engaged for longer. Remember that you, the editor, are only as good as your designer.
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