Notes

A collection of thoughts, findings, and new things I’ve learnt about interaction design, creativity, content strategy, service design, psychology, innovation, and more.

Product content is your concierge

Unless you have a 24/7 team of support agents or account managers to personally guide every customer through the speed bumps they hit when using your product (or website), content is your concierge.

You can spend thousands, or millions, of dollars on the best developers and designers in the country, but for every touchpoint in the customer lifecycle, content is your concierge. The interface text is what guides your customers through interactions and transactions, helping them to complete tasks and achieve their goals. It’s also the supporting documentation, pop-up dialogue, error messages, system emails, and more — but let’s just focus on the interface text (or UI copy) for now.

Take away the words

Most people interact with most products and brands through a digital interface (most of the time). Look at the last application you had open, or think of the last website you looked at for any reason. Remove all of the copy from the page and what have you got? Hopefully some nice graphic design and thoughtful page layout, but if you don’t have words there’s no guidance and no conversation.

Content is the concierge that welcomes me back in a friendly tone when I log into my account. I’m using my freelancer.com account as an example, but it could be any account. Content is the concierge that anticipates my needs, shows me around like I’m the only guest, and solves my problems by guiding me to a solution.

Now look at my freelancer account with no concierge. I wouldn’t even know where to start.

My freelancer.com account, with the interface copy removed

I don’t know of many software product companies, operating out of Australia, who invest even a quarter of the resources in product content that they do in marketing content. Everyone’s still chanting the “content is king” mantra but I searched that phrase today, and was seven SERPs deep before I found an article on it that wasn’t about content marketing strategy.

A healthy marketing budget for blog posts, white papers, newsletters, social media, SEM — and anything else that will alert the masses to your existence — is essential to keep a business thriving. Obviously. But throwing 90% (or more) of the budget at that, and just hoping your UX/UI designers (and your developers, because that’s who usually writes the system status and error messages) are also language experts does not equate to a good customer experience.

It’s kind of like sending out 30 people with pamphlets to promote your store, but forgetting to hire someone to welcome and serve them when they arrive.

Content is still king, but product content is the concierge that will keep your customers happy, engaged, and coming back for more.