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How Uniting Great Design and Copy is Important for Effective Business Communication and Content

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By Kathryn Strachan, Managing Director, Copy House

Did you know that content marketing costs on average 62% less than traditional advertising, but can deliver three times more leads in website traffic? This statistic showcases the true value of investing in a content strategy. 

Despite this fact, companies often overlook the fact that good content marketing and business communication comprises both good copy and design. Design and copy are two different fingers of the same hand. Though they may have different roles and function as separate entities, when united together, they enable a business to win new customers, build better relationships and convey its message effectively.

Why Should Design Influence A Business’ Content Strategy? 

Although the copy of a website sets the tone and entices viewers, there’s no doubting that in today’s highly visual world, design is crucial. 

The human brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text, and 94% of consumers will leave a website if it is visually unappealing. This is why 80% of SMBs have ranked graphic design as an essential factor to their success. 

Kathryn Strachan, Managing Director, Copy House

It is a natural instinct for people to make assumptions based on a company’s visual representation. For instance, we can judge an individual based on the way they are dressed, their body language or tone of voice. Websites are no different. If the landing page of a website is outdated or unappealing, it can cause users distress. They may also be hesitant to input any personal information or bank details and exit the site. 

There are numerous benefits of graphic design. Increasing conversion rate is just one of many. Statistics show that the average attention span of a user is 6.8 seconds and visual assets can increase this by 50 milliseconds. Hence why incorporating design into a content marketing plan can increase conversion rates and deliver a better user experience for the target audience. 

Great design can also break down complex copy and make for a simple read. Approximately 65% of the population are visual learners so reading intricate copy can become a struggle. As a result, visual aid and design may support their understanding. 

Finally, as briefly mentioned, well designed content can make a website more engaging and interactive. This can keep users active and allow them to enjoy their experience when interacting with a brand. It will also build trust in the website and in turn this can build the company’s credibility.

The Fine Balancing Act of Copy and Design

The issue most companies face is finding the perfect balance between copy and design. A company could have a well thought out marketing strategy, campaign design and copy. However, if they fail to harmonise all aspects then it could damage the output and how they communicate. 

Some companies outsource either their copy, design or both to external sources. This can benefit them as they are left in the hands of specialists. Nonetheless, it can cause an issue if both copy and design are treated differently from one another. If the design fails to meet the copy’s standards, then consumers can exit the page due to lack of trust and poor visualisation. If the website is very design heavy and the copy fails to meet the design, then there can be an issue of misinformation or lack of information entirely. This is why there must be a balance. 

Constant communication is the absolute key. 

Copy cannot be left to the last minute or to those who know little to nothing about SEO either. If a writer or journalist has little knowledge of SEO then the designers may overcompensate for the lack of good copy. Similarly with design, this must be considered at the very beginning so graphic designers understand the copy and can produce relevant graphics for the piece. Overall, both copy and design must work together right from the beginning and there must be a constant back and forth when dealing with a successful piece. 

Perks of Harmonising Design and Copy

If a company harmonises their copy and design, it creates a smooth and effortless feel for the person interacting with the brand. For those who do not read every word or for those who are visual learners and understand information better when it is presented in images and design, both copy and design work best when harmonised. Due to this, visitors are more inclined to stay on the website, thereby increasing conversion rates. 

A united front from both copy and design also showcases the strength of a company. Through well crafted copy and design for Google’s SEO algorithm, a company can increase their credibility to their target market, as well as increase their website’s online ranking and visibility. In turn, this can strengthen their brand and build their brand authority. 

Harmonising copy and design also makes it much easier for designers and copywriters to work on a project as they are in constant communication. This can increase efficiency and benefit both the company and the person consuming the information.

How To Develop a Content Design Approach That Works 

So how do you develop a bulletproof process for creating content where copy and design work successfully in a tandem? 

The process begins with brand workshops that are used to explore the brand’s personality, visual identity, and core messages that are used to deliver on their goals.

Once the team fully understands the brand identity and how it fits within a company’s future goals, the next step is to incorporate it into a strategy. From a design point of view, this is often information architecture. 

Consider holding workshops right at the very beginning of a content project to go over content ideation; this will help with brainstorming ideas whilst selecting the key topics and themes that the audience want to know more about. 

This is complemented by keyword research; that ensures the articles, landing pages, and posts are fully optimised for customer search intent. During this discovery and ideation process, the graphic design team can discover concepts that can accompany the copy, messages, and images in the right way. Whether it’s via infographics, landing pages, or other relevant graphics.

Once there is a strategy in place, move onto the wireframes. This influences what content is needed, and there is a back and forth pull from the wireframe process to the content process. This continues until the final design launch. 

There is a real struggle in this space and commonly content is let down by poor design, resulting in loss of interest from the target audience. However, when done right and design and copy come together right from the beginning, the business really stands out.
Just remember, the design should not overshadow or overcompensate the copy and vice-versa. Hence, finding the balance between copy and design is incredibly important and worth investing in.

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