Best practices and "how to" guide
To ensure a piece resonates, tailor the language and design style to the audience. A strong understanding of the target audience is critical—are the target readers formal? Casual? Knowledgeable? Novice? What else do you know about your readers’ personas that will help tailor the design to match their preferences?
We follow a set of best practices to ensure that the most vital messages are emphasized no matter what the subject matter is.
Rely on content blocks
Content blocks, or “chunking,” on every page draw the skimming reader to the most important takeaways on the page. The exception to this rule is when a page is already dominated by a graphic that conveys the key message visually.
- Headers/subheads appear at the top and throughout every page to break the content up into bite-sized sections and provide structure to the flow of the narrative. Don’t overuse them—a general rule of thumb is for each page to begin with a compelling header, with subheads inserted every 3–4 paragraphs.
- Callout boxes are displayed in a different shade and font style/size/color than the body of the text to grab the reader’s eye. They align with the focus of the page’s header for consistency and readability. Here's an example:
Collectively from page to page, callouts tell a cohesive message to keep the flow going and communicate the story even if the reader reads nothing else in the piece.
- Pull quotes are similar to callout boxes, but typically shorter. These are used to evoke emotion and draw the reader back to the text for deeper context. A strong pull quote makes the reader want to read more of the parts they may have skimmed.
- Sidebars contain extra information that supplements the primary story. This may be a glossary of terms, stats from research that validates the story, or an invitation to dive deeper into a specific area covered in the text. Use them sparingly to avoid information overload. Sidebars are also an optimal place for an additional CTA or supporting multimedia.
- Bulleted lists are essential to further break up a text-heavy piece and convey critical points quickly. They may reinforce or sum up points made in earlier sections, or as a way to lead into a new section.
"A strong pull quote makes the reader want to read more of the parts they may have skimmed."
Keep bullet points short and straight to the point.
A heavy dose of imagery is critical. Readers absorb visual information at a much higher rate than text—90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual—making images equally important as copy.
- Infographics and charts help convey complex subject matter quickly and clearly. Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3x more than any other type of content.
- Photos, illustrations, and icons enhance the experience, reinforce the connection with the reader and offer a beautiful presentation.
- Titles and captions complement images with succinct text that ensures message clarity and context.
Avoid clutter: Too many content blocks or images will confuse the reader and dilute key messages. Keep designs clean and provide just the right amount of white space so that readers easily focus on callouts and absorb the information.
Make it interactive with multimedia
Effective content will engage readers, drawing them into a dynamic, two-way interaction. This isn’t possible with traditional content, but it is with Foleon’s platform. Our approach ensures that every piece of content incorporates at least one interactive element.
In the Ion Interactive study quoted earlier, 93% of participants reported interactive content as somewhat or very effective at educating a buying audience, and 73% of marketers said they agree that interactive content, when combined with other more traditional content marketing tactics, enhances message retention among their audiences.
- Video is a critical medium today. Most B2B buyers and researchers (70%) are watching videos throughout their path to purchase. Incorporating brand and product videos strategically into a piece of digital content builds engagement and reinforces the story.
- Audio is another influential medium that has risen with the popularity of podcasts. Sprinkle sound bites and short podcast clips into content for depth and intrigue.
- Signups/logins continue the conversation with readers or partially gate certain portions of the content. When used for gating and lead generation purposes, signup forms that require an email address or logging in via social accounts from Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. provide the sense that the content has real value.
- External links are another interactive element to add value to the reader and lead them to other sources that deepen or validate the story your content is telling. When using content analytics, links provide another layer of tracking to see how the content is influencing action.
- Polls/feedback forms provide a way to engage in dialogue with the audience. These can be woven into digital content to gauge message retention/learnings, determine interest, and gain insights about topics that are most important to the reader. Below is an example. After you vote you get to see the cumulative results.