How Good Design Can Help Your Content Strategy Succeed

What is Content Strategy, and Why Should You Have One?

A content strategy is a comprehensive plan for the brand’s content usage on all platforms. It’s not just a posting plan. Instead, it’s a strategy, and it’s designed to help a company figure out how to attract, acquire, and engage potential consumers through content.

Not every strategy is successful. A good content strategy will consider the company’s goals, target audience, and overall mission. In addition, it ensures that every piece of content produced falls in line with the company’s identity.

According to research, 73% of most successful marketers use content strategy for content priorities, asset development, and messaging. However, due to various challenges, only half of the business-to-consumer marketers could implement their content strategy.

Still, the good news is that you can overcome these challenges by clearly understanding what the target market wants and using the right design for your message.

The goal of any business should be to connect with its target audience. After all, companies exist because people want or need their product/service.

Life Cycle of a Content

According to Kevin P Nichols, author of Enterprise Content Strategy: A Project Guide, there are eight distinct phases of the content life cycle:

Plan Phase

In this stage, you understand your audience and what they need from you. It is where you figure out what kind of content you want to create and why.

You will define what will make your content successful and how you will measure that success. It is also the stage where you develop personas — fictional representations of your target audience — to keep them in mind as you create content.

Planning is essential to content strategy because it ensures that your team is on the same page and headed in the right direction.

Assess Phase

The assessment phase is where you take inventory of your content and determine what can be reused, what needs to be updated, and what should be replaced.

It is also the stage where you fill any content gaps. For example, if you find that most of your blog posts are about one topic, but there are other topics your audience wants to know about, you will create a content calendar to ensure you regularly publish content on those topics.

You will identify and survey the content ecosystem for your audience. It will include understanding what other companies are doing and what content is available to your target market.

Define Phase

The define phase is where you establish the goals, objectives, and KPIs (key performance indicators) for your content strategy. It is also the stage where you develop buyer personas if you haven’t already.

Your goal should be to create a north star metric that will guide your content decisions and help you determine whether your strategy is successful.

Your objectives should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). And you should align your KPIs with your business goals.

It is also the stage where you will gather inputs from the assessment phase to determine what you need to do for the future.

Design Phase

Now that you know your goals and what kind of content you need to create, it’s time to start designing. Your design should be based on your audience’s needs and wants. In other words, it should be user-centric.

In the design phase, you would focus on the experience you want your audience to have when they interact with your content.

And lastly, you will create a style guide that includes the tone, voice, and style you want your design to be responsive to access on any device. And it should be optimized for search engines so that your content can be easily found by people looking for it.

Moodboard for website and social media

Build Phase

The build phase is where you create the content. If you are making a blog post, you will write the copy, choose the images, and format it for your website.

It is in this phase that you build and execute your content strategy. You will also create an editorial calendar to help you plan and publish your content.

Make sure you create high-quality content that is well researched, well written, and relevant to your audience.

Publish and Measure Phase

The publish phase is when you finally release your content into the world, where you will promote your content and make sure it reaches your target audience.

You can promote your content through social media, email marketing, and paid advertising.

And lastly, you will measure the performance of your content against your KPIs to see how successful it is. You can adjust your strategy accordingly if it’s not meeting your goals.

You want to evaluate or measure the performance of each piece of content you produce. That way, you can determine what’s working and what’s not.

Optimize Phase

In the optimization phase, you will change your content based on the data you gathered in the previous phase.

You might, for example, decide to add more blog posts on a specific topic if you see that they are performing well. Or you might choose to change the format of your email newsletter if you see that people are not opening it.

Optimizing can also involve making your content more accessible or easier to consume. For example, you might add subtitles to your videos or create social media posts with images.

This phase aims to continuously improve your content to meet the needs of your audience better.

Govern Phase

The final phase is the govern phase, where you establish processes and guidelines to help you manage your content more effectively.

It includes creating a style guide, developing an approval process, and setting up workflows. It also involves establishing roles and responsibilities within your team so that everyone knows what they need to do.

It is the phase where you would also create a content inventory to help you keep track of your content.

These processes allow you to manage your content more efficiently and ensure that it meets your standards.

How Design Elements Connect to a Successful Content Strategy

Design and content strategy are two essential pieces of any successful marketing campaign. They’re so important that they often go hand-in-hand. After all, what’s the point of having great content if no one ever sees it? Likewise, what good is impressive design if the message gets lost in the shuffle?

That’s why designers and content creators shall work collaboratively to achieve better results. Here’s a list of reasons how design can help your content strategy succeed:

Design Facilitates a Better User Experience

Design helps focus on usability and the accessibility of content. Good design can make it easy for people to find the content they’re looking for and understand what they’re reading, watching, or listening to.

Page layout, font selection, and color combination are all design elements that affect how users will interact with your content. By working together, designers and content strategists can ensure a better user experience for everyone involved.

Design Help to Build Brand Awareness

Excellent design can significantly impact building brand awareness for a company or product. A well-designed website, social media profile, or marketing collateral can help people remember what a company stands for.

On the other hand, poor design can damage a brand. If people have difficulty using a website or find it visually unappealing, they will likely associate those negative feelings with the company.

That’s why it’s essential to have a strong relationship between design and content strategy. It can create robust marketing materials that help build a positive brand image and drive sales.

Design Helps Bring Something Unique and Stand Out

In this digital age, content is produced hourly, and originality can become repetitive. That’s where design comes in to help make your content strategy succeed. A good designer can help turn a boring piece of content into something visually stunning and unique.

It is significant for companies trying to break into a new market or establish themselves as an authority on a certain topic. If the content and design are impressive, people will be more likely to remember and share it with others.

Design Helps Share

When it comes to marketing, a picture is worth a thousand words. A strong visual can be more memorable and persuasive than text alone. Designers can help content strategists share their message more impactfully by creating visuals that complement the written word.

It is especially true for companies selling products or services. A beautiful design can help boost sales and create loyalty among customers.

Design Helps Produce More Content

Creating visuals for each social media platform, website, or marketing campaign is time-consuming. Many content pieces may be produced from one concept when using design. But a designer can help create templates or layouts that make it easy to produce multiple versions of the same content.

It is beneficial when creating an infographic or other long-form content. The initial design investment can save time and money in the long run by making it easy to produce new content quickly.

It can be video production, illustration, infographic, social media post, etc. You don’t have to create new content for each of these formats. Just use design effectively.

Design Can Give New Life to Old Content

Just because something is old doesn’t mean it can’t be new again. A good designer can help breathe life into stale content and make it relevant again. It is essential for companies that have a lot of evergreen content. This type of content can be repurposed and reused with a fresh design.

It can be an old blog post, video, or podcast. You can give it a new title, design, and format to make it more appealing to your audience. However, as long as the content is still relevant, it can be a valuable asset for your company.

Design Can Increase Audience Engagement

Design can also help increase audience engagement. People who enjoy looking at and interacting with your content are more likely to pay attention to it and share it with others. And the more people engage with your content. The more successful your content strategy will be.

Tips on How to Improve the Relationship Between Design and Content Strategy

There are a few things companies can do to improve the relationship between design and content strategy:

Identify Your Ideal Customer

To produce great content and visuals, it’s essential to understand who you are trying to reach. What are their needs and wants? How do they consume information?

Once you understand your ideal customer, you can start to produce content that appeals to them. Define your perfect customer, and producing content that appeals to them will be easier.

Recognize the Importance of Both Content and Design

Both content and design are important. Therefore, they should be treated as equals in the content creation process.

One way to do this is to create a style guide that outlines the company’s voice, tone, and approach to visuals. It will help ensure that all content creators are on the same page and produce consistent work.

Make sure to invest in both content and design, and you will see the results in your content strategy.

Work on Content and Design Successively, Not Simultaneously

If you want your content strategy to succeed, it’s important to work on content and design successively, not simultaneously. Design should always come after the content is created. This way, you can ensure that the design will complement and support the content, rather than vice versa.

Maintain a Consistent Brand Both Visually and Verbally

It’s crucial to maintain a consistent brand both visually and verbally. Your visuals should support your written content and vice versa.

For example, if you have a casual tone in your writing, your visuals should reflect that. Or, if you’re targeting a corporate audience, your visuals should be more polished and professional.

Always make sure to be consistent with your brand’s voice and visuals.


Design is an integral part of any content strategy. It can help you produce better content, save time and money, increase audience engagement, etc. By following the tips above, you can improve the relationship between design and content strategy and make your content strategy more successful.

What are some other ways that design can help a content strategy succeed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

I hope this article has helped you understand the importance of design in content strategy. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to help!

Thank you for reading!

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Alex Jakov
Chief Executive Officer
Former co-founder of Opendoor. Early staff at Spotify and Clearbit.

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