In this blog, let us talk about “User-Centric Content”; a much discussed and needed term in the ever-expanding field of content writing for the website and important element of digital marketing.
Before you get to know in and out of developing user-centric content first let's understand what user-centric content is?
In simple worlds, a piece of content written keep in mind your user or buyer of your product or service, this user may or may not be a knowledgeable or expert person in the subject matter. In either case, your content must able to explain your user the subject in the simplest possible way.
To write user-centric content, you must learn to put yourself in the shoes of your users.
In the words of Siddharth Deshmukh, Founder and CEO of Shimbi Labs -
"One thing that is obvious today about customers is that they are increasingly discontent. Their expectations are never static – they always go up. People always have an appetite for a better way, better product and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’ — this cycle of improvement happening at a faster rate than ever before. It may be because customers have easy access to more information than ever before – a couple of taps on their phones, customers can read reviews, compare prices of products and get quick and free access to the free demo."
The competition in today’s market has brought us to such a stage where aligning business goals with user needs seem to be the most promising solution to any business.
So where to start?
The simplest way to begin writing a user-centric content for your website is by answering questions which naturally comes in the minds of yous visiting your website -
- What will they search and found us?
- What do they want to know about us?
- What do they want from us?
- How can we provide the best to them?
Any website contents developed, keeping these essential points in mind will have higher chances of success, because it simply fulfils user curiosity and builds confidence in them.
“If I could be you if you could be me
For just one hour, if we could find a way
To get inside each other’s mind.”
— Walk a Mile in My Shoes – (words & music by Joe South).
Well, we can easily relate the above words to user-centric content. Any user searching the web has definite goals. They feel happy when someone quickly and easily answers there queries, be it just information about the place, product or service.
For example, a student searching for information on the working of a certain motor and your website provides it in details, but at the end of every paragraph ask for email subscription, chances are high student will fill annoyed.
Though it is important for you to collect email database to stay connected with your website readers, but if that becomes your primary goal then its miss match with your user's goal, whose primary intention is to gain the knowledge and student would quickly shift to another website.
This gap between the user and the publisher can be easily eradicated by strategizing user-centric content from your end.
Any content strategy should be a proper blend of three things:
- The users’ profile and intention.
- The organizations’ goal
- The content that bridge above two.
Let's discuss about the USERS first!
This broad term has too many facets for a content developer to understand. Your users are the people who are actually making use of the website. Your primary goal is to impress your user with your contents and not the subject experts. But if your intended users are subject experts, then your content focus should on providing them with more in-depth information, which might be complicated for regular readers.
Consider this, for example.
If I am a 5th grader and I need to find an easy method to find the minimum of 10 numbers, I search this on google. Various links give me different answers. Here are two sample answers.
“You can apply a divide and conquer technique.”
“You can break up your numbers into smaller groups and deal with them separately; finally merging the results into one.”
Here, logically speaking, the first answer was precise, concise and complete, whereas the second one was longer but better understandable and usable for me. Hence, for the next times when I have any doubt related to maths while I am doing my homework, I would be tempted to open this website and find my answers.
Here is where all the difference is made. While writing my content, I imagined myself to be a 5th grader, keeping his knowledge in mind. Here, we must always take care of few things collectively. They are:
In what scenario will the user read your content; i.e. whether he is finding for solutions to his problems, he is generally collecting some information; he is finding for some service, he wants to solve some of his most urgent problems, etc.
Who is your end user? Is he an expert in what you are writing about, a student, a professional, a customer or just a person keen to know about stuff? Understand your end users better as sometimes the people you think are your end users might just not be.
Get right to the point because users will quickly switch over your website if they don’t see any good in yours!
Be particular about time. Even if your website has the perfect content needed by the user but his time is not taken care of in a way that his situation isn’t understood correctly, your perfect content will be overlooked with ease.
For example - If your website is intended to provide short hacks about fixing the computer, and you ask the user to subscribe first and then give him access to your content, he will no ways be so patient and do it for the sake of you! His obvious reaction would be to move towards a place where he is served his purpose readily
Next, in line, come the ORGANIZATIONS’ goals.
Here are a few things on which a content developer must focus from the organization’s outlook while developing a user-centric content.
The organization needs to earn revenue from the content by the means that more people visit it. This brings in the role the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) where content is the hero.
Understand what the organization wants as a result of people visiting your website. Some websites just want to propagate their business through their websites while others might want to focus on building their database through online registrations.
Design the content in such a way that the users can picturize the organization and feel like the company is speaking to them and not you as an individual. A personal touch with a professional feel is all one needs.
Finally, we focus on our CONTENT.
Your content needs to have the following characteristics to be appropriate and in alignment with the users’ and organizations’ goal.
It should serve the purpose of the user as well as a company; nevertheless making the user feels contented and happy with it.
It should clearly highlight its purpose. Moreover, the content should be organized under the best possible titles and in such a way that it readily provides the user with what he wants.
For example - If you are providing content to an online shopping portal, you know that the user will need a size guide once he 0r she likes a particular dress. Hence, size guide should be readily available in the description only. This ensures that the user has found all that he or she needed.
Determine useless content and make it useful by placing it at some better-titled place.
Prioritize your users and work for your organization. In this way, bridge gaps between what is there and what is needed through your content.
Use such words wherein you can quickly provide hyperlinks in case more information is expected to be wanted by users.
In a nutshell, User-centric content is much beyond just understanding the target audience. It covers a wholesome essence of numerous disparate aspects of web design into one. Hence, get feedback, analyze them, keep reading, keep learning, keep improving and making a note of each correction point along with the learning behind it.
Most importantly, DO NOT forget to ask “why” for anything you want to deliver because “Knowledge is having the right answer. Intelligence is asking the right question.”
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What is your strategy for user-centric content for your website?