Our Growing Appetite for Content and What it Means for Marketers

  • Categories:

    Content Marketing

  • Date:

    May 06, 2015

Our Growing Appetite for Content and What it Means for Marketers



Content Marketing

Josh AshtonDigital Design Director Josh Ashton leads a talented team of interactive designers and oversees all digital and user experience design for Wray Ward. With nearly 10 years of experience, he has worked on a variety of digital platforms and campaigns and has been recognized with multiple awards.

We still love TV and print media, but we’re content-hungry, and we crave a steady stream. We check our Twitter feeds before we roll out of bed and have a side of Instagram with our Frosted Flakes. We’re “plugged in” more often than not. As a result, digital platforms have grown and changed to meet the constant demand and adjust to the way we access information.

The digital world is constantly evolving, but companies still have to be able to:

  • Tell a good story
  • Make it easy for consumers to interact with the brand

That’s why the diversity of devices and the surplus of stuff flying around in cyberspace are good things for designers. Consumers’ growing reliance on real-time digital content has led us to focus on what’s most important and take a nimbler, “device agnostic” approach that works for a variety of audiences, regardless of how they’re accessing information. It’s resulted in:

  • A content-first strategy that informs the design process
  • A greater commitment to responsive design, ensuring optimal experiences across a range of devices
  • A more straightforward approach with fewer bells and whistles (think Flash)

In a digital world predicated on today’s fast-moving real world, simplicity and familiarity are essential. A best-in-class digital experience should feel like a natural extension of the brand, not some weird, alternate universe.

Here are a couple of case studies.

WhySkylights.com

We love working with VELUX, whose skylights make it easy to transform your home with natural light and fresh air. Before building WhySkylights.com, we took a comprehensive look at the products made by our friends at VELUX and how they transform homes into bright, healthy, energy-efficient living environments. We shaped the story before we ever got into actual development.

In reviewing the content, we uncovered a bunch of common elements. We designed the site using mini-templates, which:

  • Made initial development more efficient
  • Made it easier to add new sections later

We also followed a responsive design approach, ensuring an ideal user experience across multiple platforms, from desktop to mobile.

Marrying design with development allowed us to get our entire team involved earlier and condense the traditional development phase. We were also able to knock out quality assurance (QA) along the way.

The entire process represented a collaborative effort between our designers, developers, content creators and the VELUX team.

The approach netted:

  • A huge increase in website traffic
  • Increased engagement time—when people come to the site, they stay longer
  • A smarter, more nimble solution for new promotions and sponsorships such as the HGTV Smart Home 2015
  • Real, measurable results for the business—more people are contacting VELUX installers

WrayWard.com

To be trusted, you have to practice what you preach. We recently took the same approach to rebuilding our own website. As with the VELUX site, we were able to gain efficiencies by overlapping design and development and performing QA as we went. Similarly, we applied responsive design principles so the site would look just as great on a smartphone as on a 27-inch monitor.

When designing our own site, we wanted to keep things simple while allowing our own brand and voice to shine. A lot of agency sites are similar, from the visual design to the messaging and user experience; this sea of sameness gave us an opportunity to stand out. The results show in the site design and the story it tells, from our culture to our focus on creating exceptional work for our clients.

Traffic on WrayWard.com has definitely increased, and Communication Arts even featured our site. For us, these are just a few ways of validating the great work being created within our walls.

The best part may be that this is a collaborative, ongoing effort to build top-notch digital experiences; with content, analytics, creative and account leadership experts joining the design and development pros, it’s all hands on deck.

Telling our clients’ stories is my favorite part of my job, and with a growing team and enhanced capabilities, I can’t wait to see where we go from here.