When doing content marketing, the ultimate goal is to have an impact on people’s behaviour, so that it turns into a profitable business. Stephen Wendel’s book ‘Designing for behavior change’ (O’Reilly media inc, 2014) is a comprehensive book on psychology and behavioural economics that can be applied to content marketing. Spoon editor, Mia Backman investigates how to design for behavioural change.
But what does it mean to design for behavioural change?
The answer to this question can be simplified into four phases:
1. Understand the mind and how it can be affected to change behaviour.
2. Focus on defining the behaviour you need to change and underlying patterns that affect it.
3. Design the content hub, service or product around the needed effect.
4.Once you have an idea of what the big picture should look like and your content piece product or service is up and running, the next step is to gather data on the impact it is having on the target audience. The insights should lead to iterations.
This can be hard to grasp and measure in the short-term, which is related to how vital it is to discuss and commit to long term design projects with clients.
It is important to get preferred client prospects into a habit of consuming the content that is provided for them.
Habitual behaviour leads to routines and at the core of a routine is a relationship that forms between the prospect and the company.
There are few ways to increase the chances of this happening, one of which is providing them with a straight-forward reward. This could be an extra service, valuable information or excellent client understanding in the form of services.
Getting a few good peers or influencers to give quotes or join in on the movement in other ways helps as well.
Our minds do tend to have some shortcomings, that should not be forgotten while designing. Our memory can hold up to seven numbers or other pieces of information in it at once, so crowding it with too much information will distort the message.
The human attention span
The human attention span is limited as well if we are told to closely watch a basketball game, we are at risk of missing anything else unusual happening on the field, like a person dressed as a gorilla, shows one classic study.
To keep the bad news coming, our willpower is fundamentally limited – and tires easily. We tend to choose the status quo and when it comes to making choices, decision making causes us and our willpower that can catalyse change, to tire and become uncooperative.
But to end on a positive note, here are things that should be kept in mind that will help you in content creation and design every step of the way,
3 key things to keep in mind
First of all, the easier something is to do, that much more likely it is that the prospect will do it. To put it simply, create a nudge. Familiar is better; while creating something new, keep in mind what is familiar and blend it into the design.
The next one is a no-brainer: Beauty attracts, so keep the language, the UX or whatever elements used, soothing.
And since rewarding experiences were already mentioned before, it is fair to remind designers of all kinds that if not rewarding per se, every design should make the people using it to at least understand the concept.
And last but not least: Urgent matters tend to be handled first, so give people reasons why they need to do something or think in a certain way.
Read more about creating great content:
- How to survive in a digital storm
- Going for growth: Why unicorn companies rely on exceptional content to stay ahead of the pack
- Is native advertising and content marketing the same thing?
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