How to Increase Engagement for Your Publication Through Design
Written by Matt Berringer
July 19, 2022
If your business aims to increase audience engagement, start by closely examining your publication and its design. Some elements, like hard-to-read fonts or cluttered layouts, can drive your audience away. Other choices, like consistent branding and well-organized content, encourage users to explore more of your content. Implement the following design best practices from Nxtbook Media for digital publishing to help boost engagement.
Organize Visual Content for Maximum Impact
No matter how well-produced your content, audiences won’t engage if it’s too difficult to scan or interpret. Organize content to guide and direct your audience with key points and focal areas, so users can quickly scan for the piece’s objective.
Consider these tips:
- Use pictures, graphics and other visual media to break up large sections of text.
- Use each page’s white space to your advantage with wide margins and spacing between pictures.
- Keep pictures and graphics under headings relevant to the topic, and call attention to them by placing them before or after section titles.
- Use lists, tables, graphs, links and charts as needed to showcase data or add variety to your visual media.
- Choose a focal point for each page or section and limit clutter.
- Keep branding consistent between pages by having a toolkit with specific colors, fonts, picture dimensions and logo files.
Don’t assume your audience knows what steps you want them to take next — include a visual call to action relevant to the rest of the page’s content. Keep the visual part simple, like a clickable button, and save any specific instructions for the copy.
Create a Story Through Your Images and Content
The key to consistent digital publishing engagement is approaching content creation with a “waterfall” mindset. Choose topics and subjects you can continually explore and evolve with different media types. Once you’ve identified a primary topic, consider ways to pull new information from that idea. Combine articles, infographics, videos, interviews and social media posts to fuel different parts of the conversation and give your audience multiple ways to interact with content.
The waterfall method is great for bringing your audience along for the journey, but it’s only effective if you approach it intentionally.
1. Create a Hierarchy
Emphasize your most important points first to boost retainment and engagement. Consider your content’s objective — is it to educate, inform, encourage a sale or entertain?
Once you identify your content’s purpose and how you want your audience to engage, curate visual and written media in a story hierarchy guiding them through that journey.
2. Use Images Thoughtfully
When used correctly, images can illustrate a point, showcase examples or present information in a new format for visual learners.
Follow these guidelines:
- Use original photos instead of stock images whenever possible.
- Use inclusive subjects to better connect with your audience.
- Choose images that fit your branding, including specific colors.
- Size images correctly and confirm the ratio on multiple screen and device types.
3. Optimize Written Content for Engagement
Written content is often where your audience will spend time engaging with you. Get more engagement with these tips:
- Keep paragraphs brief, scannable and in a simple font.
- Highlight key points with section headings and formatting.
- Curate user-generated content like lists and reviews.
- Include a question or prompt when sharing content.
- Include a call to action specific to the piece.
4. Use Mixed Media to Tell a Better Story
The more media types you incorporate in your publication, the more options your audience has for engagement. Examples of mixed media include:
- Interactive elements, like submission and contact forms.
- Shareable infographics.
- Photo carousels.
- Animations and GIFs.
- Photos, videos and digital graphics.
Accessibility is essential for retaining and engaging with your audience. Approach each piece of content with balance in mind, incorporating a combination of visual and audible design elements. Don’t limit your key points to a single media type.
Other accessibility considerations include:
- Large buttons with adequate spacing
- Optimization through responsive design
- Text-to-speech options
- Clear language without slang or idioms
- Audio transcripts
- Video captions
- Relevant alt text for images
Ensure every part of your publication is easy to consume, engage with and share with others by including social links, contact forms and comment boxes. You can also ask audiences to engage with your content or submit feedback about how your publication could improve the user experience.
Get Responsive With Help From Nxtbook Media
With the extensive features on our PageRaft and nxtbook4 products, you can better optimize digital content and increase your content engagement. Request a demo today!