Curating Content

What we’re trying to do, with UX, is find ways of getting users to do what we want them to do.  That sounds a bit sinister but it actually isn’t.  It’s something they’re going to do anyway; we’re just trying to make sure that they do it on our site rather than a competitor’s.

This is a totally altruistic process.

What we’re doing is giving them an option that’s going to be as painless as possible.  It has to be simple for them to complete the journey.  The journey has physiological and psychological considerations.  At one end we have motor tasks.  Things like moving a mouse, clicking, entering data.  Then we have cognitive tasks such as remembering information when you’re filling in a form.

Cognitive load is the first thing we want to minimise.  Providing the user with information that will reduce cognitive load is the best thing we can do for them.  We can’t write war and peace to convince the user that we’re the best company to buy widgets from so we have to provide them with small, almost subconscious cues and nudges to remove the perceived risk of a decision.

This is where curated content comes in.

Created content is the stuff you make up.  I’m not talking about facts like “Our widgets are red”, or “Our widgets weigh 120g”.  I’m talking about claims.  “Our widgets are the best!” type of thing.  That’s all well and good if they believe you.  But that’s  a long way up the pyramid of trust and you need something more credible before you get to making claims that the user will buy.

If you’ve built your personas in the right way, one of the things you’ll have documented is who your users listen to.  Who is it that influences them?  Who will they identify with and say “Hey, I’m just like them”.  In our situation, it’s probably the Chief Widget Buyer at a similar business.  If, instead of you telling a story, someone your user identifies with tells the story then it’s going to carry more weight.  Rather than asking for a quote, think of a way to do it in an interview where you can frame the questions to overcome the pain points or negative thoughts you know your user has from your personas and user journeys

Now, instead of trying to convince your user, you’re simply repeating someone else’s experience of doing business with you.

Down at the bottom of the pyramid, that’s powerful.  You’re saying to the user “Don’t take my word for it, ask Fred about our widgets”.

And if you can do this without making it look like a quote you copied and pasted when you asked for it, it’s going to get better.  You want to add in a bit of your own content whilst backing it up and validating it with your user’s content.  Mix created and curated.  You don’t want too much of an overlap.  Your user trusts Fred already.  You want some of that to rub off on you by association.

Dot this sort of thing around your content and reinforce your messages and watch your funnels as people get closer and closer to taking the actions that you want them to take.