In my last essay, I explained why valid, sound arguments are so important to helping people make decisions. In this post, let’s delve more into what arguments mean for planning all sides of your content—communication (or editorial), architecture, and design.

Communication: Articulate + Reiterate The Case

An argument is more than a key message and less than a flood of information. The brand method does a nice job of articulating a pithy case for being clean with the its tagline “people against dirty” and in this “humanifesto.”

method-humanifesto

Method elaborates on the case regularly on its blog, such as this guest post by a germ expert. Method also supports the case often by curating content on its social channels, such as sharing articles about toxins in makeup.

method-facebookpost

So, there are many ways to ensure your content communicates an argument. Let’s look at how arguments affect your content architecture.

Architecture: Organize The Case

Method could devote its site only to shopping. Instead, the company offers sections such as methodology to make the case for staying clean with method. Likewise, Mint could offer only a login to its financial management product. Instead, Mint.com makes the case both for the product and for managing finances in general. These companies let planning arguments affect how they organized content on their websites and beyond.

Architecture is also about planning the flow for your users or customers. When you convince people of your case, what should they do next? The MintLife blog, for example, includes noticeable links to sign up for the Mint product. REI’s expert advice, such as this article about choosing shoes for cycling, includes links to shop for shoes. Don’t simply stuff an argument in your content. Make it an appropriate step that connects to the next step.

Finally, let’s take a look at how arguments can drive design.

Design: Show, Don’t Simply Tell, The Case

The home page of Mint.com does an excellent job of making a case for the product bothvisually and verbally. You can understand quickly the key claims and supporting evidence.

mint-home

In contrast, the Williams-Sonoma Entertainer Wine Club fails to convince me the club is worth the investment. More visuals giving me a sense of the experience, such as what the tasting notes are like or what potential food pairings might be or what the quality of the wines are, could help.

I’m only scratching the surface here, but you get the idea. Putting your arguments for your product, organization, or idea into practice affects every aspect of content. The sooner you plan for arguments, the better your content will bring your case to life.

The Author

Colleen Jones is the founder and CEO of Content Science, a growing content intelligence and strategy company based in Atlanta GA. Content Science owns Content Science Review, Content Science Academy, and the content effectiveness software ContentWRX.  Colleen regularly consults with executives and practitioners to improve their strategy and processes for content. She shares insights and guidance from her experience regularly on Content Science Review, at events around the world, and in highly rated books such as Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content.

Follow Colleen on Twitter at @leenjones or on LinkedIn.

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