The Art of Audience Communication with Visual Content


The Art of Audience Communication with Visual Content

With the exciting launch of the graphic design service at CopyHouse, Managing Director Kathryn Strachan joined Content Designer of CopyHouse to discuss the importance of communicating with the brand’s audience by harmonising copy and design.

Quite often, design and copy are seen as separate bodies. However, Kathryn and our designer both highlight the importance of the two working in tandem. Without this relationship of both copy and design, the brand’s personality and key messages could be lost by their desired audience.

Value of Website Design

Did you know that the average web user has an attention span of 6.8 seconds when it comes to viewing a single page? However, if a website is well designed and visually appealing, that can be increased by 50 milliseconds?  This could be the single difference between a user staying on the site or leaving due to the lack of interest.  

Interestingly, the human brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text. It helps some understand complex information and process it better. It’s also beneficial for visual learners who retain information via images, rather than words. This showcases the importance of visual content because if your website lacks visuals and is too wordy, a viewer could become frustrated and exit. Similarly, if a website is visual-heavy but lacks good copy, a user could be put off due to a lack of information. Therefore, there must be a balance between the two.

Another concerning factor is that 94% of customers will leave a website if it is poorly designed. This is often due to a lack of trust in the site and its content.

If a website is well designed and its copy is of high quality, users are likely to trust the site more. However, if a website doesn’t look too trusting or is outdated, users become doubtful when inputting personal information or payment details. Kathryn explains how a website is like a person. We tend to make assumptions of people based on how they present themselves and their tone of voice before getting to know them. Similarly to a website, before you dive in deeper into it, you’re going to make an assumption based on your first impression on the content presented, both written and visual.

Balance Between Design and Copy

  • Makes content more engaging

If users find content such as articles or infographics helpful and engaging, they are likely to share it with others. This can result in more website traffic.

  • Increases time spent on the website and boosts conversion

If users enjoy your site and content, they tend to spend more time on it. This increases their knowledge about your brand, what you offer and how you can help them. Thus boosting conversion rates.

  • Builds credibility

As mentioned previously, if a website looks good and sounds good, the chances of a user trusting the brand increases significantly. The potential customers are then inclined to feel comfortable inputting their private information such as email addresses or banking details. Therefore, increasing the chance for capturing high-quality leads.

  • Explains complex topics

Again, viewers can be either visual learners or prefer text. If your site and content are on a complex subject, incorporating visuals within your text will help get your message across better. A great example of this balance are infographics, which help break down complex data into easily digestible information using images and text.

  • Produces overall better results

Finding the balance between the two can be the difference between having a website and content that is too text-heavy or one which completely lacks any context.

Kathryn explains that she often notices brands making the same mistakes when it comes to their approach on copy and design.

  • Isolating copy and design

Many brands split copy and design into different departments or outsource these services to various organisations that do not communicate with each other during the project’s lifecycle.  This is shown in the end product where both design and copy do not look harmonised and risk losing the key messages and themes when read by their audience.

  • Prioritising one over the other

Both design and copy are equally as important. Without good design, the website looks bland and dull; without good copy, the website lacks context and authenticity. There must be a balance between the two.

  • Leaving copy until the end

If the copy is left until the end or left in the hands of someone who's unfamiliar with the top SEO practices, then the website or the content will not blossom. It's great to have an outstanding design but without an audience to see it, it won't gain much attraction. SEO is what gets the website discovered and then design and copy are what keeps the user on the site.

How CopyHouse Incorporate Design and Copy

With the launch of CopyHouse’s content design service, it was crucial to consider the process of ensuring the correct balance of design and copy.

At CopyHouse, all clients start with a Content Marketing Workshop. This is where their visual identity is discussed as well as their tone of voice, brand image, target audience, goals etc. This information ensures that our copywriters and designers have a clear understanding of the brand’s personality in addition to their challenges and opportunities. By creating this profile, our team can design a custom content strategy that uniquely captures the brand’s message that will appeal to their target audience.

Next, CopyHouse considers the overall strategy. This includes both architectural strategies, to understand how design is incorporated, and an SEO strategy, to establish what keywords will be beneficial to the brand and their audience. Justin highlights the importance for both design and copy to start together at the very beginning, because it helps the designers and copywriters coordinate the needs and vision of the project to meet its desired goal. Often bouncing their ideas off one another can help the creative process develop unique ideas for the client.

Once a strategy is made, CopyHouse can create the wireframe. This wireframe influences content and through this step, there is a constant back and forth before they get to the final design.

This process shows the perfect mix of design and copy. One does not outweigh the other. They are incorporated simultaneously by encouraging great communication across the teams and bringing focus to the end result together. Resulting in a very harmonious process. This strategy works for all content production from infographics to Ebooks, white paper, websites, social assets and more.

Kathryn’s Top Content Design Tips

  • Include both from the get go
    Always consider what design fits within your project’s copy and goals and vice versa from the very beginning. You don’t want one of them to let your hard work down due to the lack of time and consideration.

  • Keep both departments together
    Don’t let design or copy fly solo; make them work as a team right at the beginning!

  • Priorities both equally
    Copy and design shouldn’t fight for your attention; always consider the importance of both in each project.

  • Find a balance
    Consider your audience and their desires, and find the balance between copy and design that fits their needs.
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