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Applying usability concepts to your content marketing

In usability circles, the concept of red routes is used to help prioritize the most important features of a website’s interface, navigation, and organizational structure. Red routes are the actions taken most frequently by the biggest segments of your audience. They are similar, in some ways, to use cases.

That is, for every website, there will be key goals that the majority of your audience wishes to accomplish, everything from finding your phone number to learning more about a particular product, to reading all information on the site related to a topic.

And there are other tasks that will appeal only to a small percentage of your audience, and then only infrequently.

Our goal, of course, is to make it easy for everyone who visits our site to do what they came to the site to do. But since it’s impossible to be all things to all people all of the times, the goal of good UX is to prioritize the needs of the many – and the valuable – over the needs of the few.

What does this have to do with content marketing? Everything.

Your emphasis has to be on the content that will be most useful to the most prospects.

It has to be available to the right prospects at the right time.

And it has to be easy to find and easy to understand.

To achieve this, we need to build a content marketing program that makes use of the information we have about our audience in aggregate and about the behavior of individual prospects as they move through their buying process. Our content development process needs to factor this in. Our drip marketing and behavior-based marketing needs to factor this in.

In other words, we need to create content that appeals to the most important and largest segments of our audience. We need to create content that appeals to them as they make their way through their buying journey. And we need to build mechanisms into our website, our email marketing, and our other channels.

Without this type of highly-tailored approach, your marketing isn’t as efficient as it could be. Even worse, you are almost certainly alienating a portion of your most likely prospects – asking them the same questions on sign up forms, providing the same downloads they’ve already downloaded, and so on.

In short, your digital marketing tools need to be set up to take better care of the prospects who have expressed an interest and are eager to engage further.

Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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