The One-Two Punch of Entertainment and Insight – Content Sensei, Part 2

What makes great content great?

To find out, we want to learn from the master. And the master is some awesome content, in this case. We already had a go at this in part 1 and today we're back with a second example of an expertly crafted article and lessons we can learn from it.

The article's title is a mouthful: Why UX, UI, CX, IA, IxD, and Other Sorts of Design Are Dumb

This article deals with a niche topic related to design, but even if you don't know the first thing about design,you should stick around. There are gems in here that will help you improve your content marketing, no matter what you write about.

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Summary: Lessons We Can Learn

The article is great for many reasons, but what are the lessons we can pull out of it and apply to our own content in a practical way? Here's a summary of the main points from the video:

Lesson 1: Don't Be Afraid to Step on Some Toes

The article opens with a rant against a trend among designers. In fact, even the title is a bit insulting to many people who use labels like UX Designer, CX Designer and so on in earnest.

There are two points that we can apply, here:

  1. If you have something controversial or provocative to say, say it. No need to sugar coat or tip-toe around the real issue.
  2. Don't be afraid to speak directly to people in a small niche. The article doesn't make efforts to try and explain all these terms for non-designers. If you aren't an insider to the niche the article is about, you probably can't make much of it.

Lesson 2: Set Up a One-Two Punch to Get Your Point Across

If you're writing content with the goal of getting your point across, of being understood and of changing reader's minds, this article shows a brilliant way of doing so.

The article comes in 2 parts: the first is an entertaining rant about the current state of the industry. The second is the author's advice about what designers ought to do instead. Or in other words: how to solve the problem that he's ranting about.

This is an example of the sum being greater than its parts. By itself, the rant would be entertaining but forgettable. You'd read it, chuckle and then move on. And by itself, the advice in the article would still be good advice, but it would lack context and impact. You might read it, somewhat agree with it and then promptly forget about it again.

The rant makes the advice more impactful. And the advice makes the rant more meaningful.

Ask yourself how you can set up such a one-two punch in your own content as well. One part is advice, the other part is "emotionally appealing" content. This can be a rant, a story or a metaphor.

Want to see another example of content with this one-two punch structure? Check out this post from the Thrive Themes blog, about content recycling.

Lesson 3: Create (or Insist on) Design Consistency

The article uses 2 types of illustrations to great effect. The first is graphs and illustrations all done in a minimal style:

The second is the use of parts of classical paintings, often with text overlayed. The classical paintings are used almost like emoji, cropping out faces to convey a specific emotion:

All of the images used in the article follow one of these 2 design styles. There's excellent consistency in these illustrations. Note that even the format and dimensions of all images is kept consistent.

Now, most of us are not designers, but we can still learn from this. If you create your own images, you should strive for such consistency as well. For example, if you use free photographs from sites like Pexels and Unsplash, you can look for a consistency in mood, content or color palettes in the pictures you choose. And you can crop all your images to the same size.

To learn more about how to create a consistent style for your website (even if you aren't a designer) check out this Thrive University course.

If you don't create your own images and you work with designers instead, you can and should insist on design consistency.

What's Your Takeaway?

What's your favorite lesson from this post? Do you have examples of excellently crafted content that you'd like to see me dissect in a future video?

Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Shane

Author: Shane Melaugh

Shane Melaugh is a co-founder and the CEO of Thrive Themes. When he isn't plotting new ways to create awesome WordPress themes & plugins, he likes to geek out about camera equipment and medieval swords. He also writes about startups and marketing here.

  • Sam says:

    Super video Shane. I have been a member for about two years now and you are always giving more value. Your products are great. My only regret is that there is no translation for francophones, otherwise everything else is perfect, keep it up! I am really seduced by all your products and I think you promise us better! Thank you so much!
    (Sorry for my English)
    Sam

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thank you for being a member, Sam!

  • David M says:

    Being a seasoned newbie and making an ungodly mess of building a site. These tips and extras are gold dust. Keep them coming.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      That’s great to know! I hope this helps make content writing a bit less intimidating.

  • Steve C says:

    Hey Shane, everyone one of the vblogs that you and your staff produce are very helpful and this one was particularly good. After watching it I feel less constrained, more emboldened and this freedom allowed a number of interesting ideas for blog posts to present themselves. You nailed this one. Thanks

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      That’s great! I’m happy this content made you feel empowered. :)

  • Kathryn G says:

    I’m curious about your advice to use provocative headlines. How do provocative headlines fare in the SEO department? The headline in your example seems stuffed with keywords at the beginning. The bit that is provocative at the end of the long headline may not show up in most email or SERP previews, would it?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      I’m not SEO expert, so you probably shouldn’t take advice from me.

      In my opinion, SEO content and content for humans is often very different. When I create a blog post, it’s almost always aimed at humans and I don’t care in the least about SEO. If I’m going to do SEO content, I’m going to make an “SEO landing page”, made for a specific keyword and then run an SEO campaign to rank that page for my target keyword. Regarding headlines, that means I’ll make the headline as short or long as I think is ideal for human readers, in most cases. You can still optimize your meta title for keywords and shorten that to fit the SERP preview.

  • Blaise says:

    @Sam
    It does not appear that you need a translation ;)
    En outre cela nous donne un avantage sur les blogueurs qui ne maîtriseraient pas suffisamment l’anglais, pas vrai ?

    @Shane
    Nice content and very thoughtful advice !
    Thanks !

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thank you, Blaise!

  • Ken says:

    Shane, great VDO! You basically provided a blueprint for writing eyeball grabbing content that in turn will garner funds for me to fly first class. Thank you!

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thank you, Ken!

  • Another great piece of information here. I’m just in the process of re-studying content and copy-writing and you’ve touched on a way to present information that hasn’t been mentioned in my exploration. And it’s something that I’ll probably use. Thank you.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Glad to know you could learn something new here. :)

  • It is good to keep us updated

  • Peter French says:

    I’m conflicted, because, although certainly not an expert there are a number of red flags for me. The structure nearly follows what I use; DRIVER, MOVEMENT and MEASUREMENT – i.e what is the burning platform you’re standing on, why you should “jump off”, because of these consequences and lastly, how we will measure how you will “feel” the outcome. The next thing is length.
    I read the first 2 pages and skipped to the comments – optimal length (ImHo) is one page ~ as Mark Twain said; “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks for your comment, Peter. I don’t quite understand: what exactly are the red flags for you, in the article?

  • Devin says:

    Today is already a good day. I learned something new.

    Thank you, this will improve my writing.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks for your comment, Devin!

  • Mykylyster Monteron says:

    Thank you so much for this one.

  • Tom D says:

    Hi Shane, Thanks for another helpful post. Lesson 3, Create (or insist on) Design Consistency reminded me of using a style guide. Any thoughts on using a style guide for yourself or with collaborators?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Hi Tom,

      A style guide (or any kind of design system) is great to have. I think it’s a “later stage business” thing, though. What I mean is: if you’re a solopreneur or in the early stages of building a business, trying to establish and work with a style guide can take up a lot of time and it’s quite unproductive. You can probably get a better result faster by just having a conversation with your designer. It’s at later stages, when multiple designers or departments get involved that a style guide starts adding efficiency rather than being a time sink.

      • Tom D says:

        Sound advice, thanks!

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