Used Content UX to design a productive routine during COVID-19 lockdown WFH times?

During the sudden lockdown that was announced across the world as well as in India, I became a victim of chaos, uncertainty, and disorder. I wanted my rhythm back. The rhythm that I intended to use to have some sanity, harmony, and happiness in and around my life.

Using the principles of Content UX and design thinking, I divided my day into 4 segments between space and time. I called these segments:

  • Within: Everything to do with me. My mind, body, and soul. And, this includes exercise, gardening as my hobby, meditation, working on myself, reading, writing, and so on.
  • Without: My family. In the absence of them, my existence and character will not be what it is.
  • Now: Every task of my professional and domestic work that lets me survive.
  • Future: All I need to do now to achieve something that I have planned for the future. This includes my learning hours, networking, saving up, and honing skills.

Interestingly, my phone helped me turn productive during the COVID-19 lockdown which otherwise turns out to be the distraction master.

I ended up pacing with my fitness regime, keeping a tab on my reading goal for 2020, ensuring pauses in between work calls to meditate, and also developed a new hobby – gardening. My phone helped me get these elements of a day into a rhythm despite having to manage domestic work and my daughter. Thanks to my awesome husband who sincerely shared domestic work.

Chaos struck.

I got consumed by news, messages, video calls, and the new normal. My environment no longer had controls in place that would stop me from gazing into the phone for long hours. My conscience turned dormant.

I must admit that mobile phones distract us every minute to read the message, or peek into the notification, react to every bling and ding that pops up.

Each time I unlocked the phone, reacting to notifications, I realized I was stepping into anxiety. But, something happened.

I realized that I could not discipline my mind from being distracted, but I could change how the phone behaved!

Worldview changed.

As much as shifts in worldviews have an impact on our life, even changes to the way you organize your phone view can add incremental value to your work style. Your daily routine can change. It builds a rhythm.

The moment I unlocked my phone it looked distracting with icons scattered all over the screen. But, here is what I did.

I brought down my phone view to a single screen. Also, I changed my wallpaper 🙂 So what’s the big deal?

Eliminate options. Keep what you need.

This home screen view reminded me that I need to do what I am supposed to do at that given point of the day. My wallpaper says, “Do what you gotta do when you ought to do.”

I organized the apps on my phone in chronology. By that, I mean that apps are organized by how my typical day is planned. As mentioned earlier all my tasks were arranged into four segments.

According to that apps were shelved into folders so that I don’t access them with a single click. This practice enforced a behavior that ensured that I only do what is necessary at that moment in time.

So what does my day begin with?


Snoozing is what I also do with my alarm. Every preceding night, I set my alarm based on when I sleep. Managing your family, career, hobby, and other personal aspirations all together can make your day look messy. So, I have three alarms set at different intervals to ensure that I wake up for sure. It might sound like overkill, but that worked for me.

Next, comes the first folder.


My folder of fitness has two apps. The Lose Belly Fat and the Fitbit. I use the Lose Belly Fat to get into a face-paced workout every day. I choose to skip it on a few days and replace it with yoga or deep breathing exercises. Fitbit is what helps me a tab on an essential number of steps every day.

Apps distract. But, distractions can be your habit anchors.


I use two apps that are filled with a lot of free classes. I haven’t attempted the paid version until now. Based on how I feel and how I want to feel, I choose a meditation session for each day. The two apps that I choose are: Simple Habit and Meditation.

Once, I am done with that I try and move on with my reading goal.


I use the ‘reading challenge’ features in the Good Reads app. Or pick something from my reading list on Medium. Here is how it looks like.

Learning and Networking

I stay in touch with my professional network on Linkedin and meet my learning goals based on how much time is left in the morning zone.

Daily Schedule

After that, I move onto checking my tasks and schedule in the calendar, check my emails. Get to work.

After work, I settle down with my daughter, gardening outside. I wrap up my day spending time with my family.

This helps me touch base almost everything important to me.

First draft from a Content Writer? How should it look?

It is annoying not to hear from your writer, for days. Suddenly, an email pops into your inbox from the writer. You are excited that finally, you have an article that could get published, and when you open the document, you are like eeewww!!

Thankfully, professional writers avoid delivering this kind of first-level experience.

What should you expect out of a first draft?

Test Waters.

Even before setting expectations from a content writer, try and agree upon what you want from the writer, and find out what is a writer capable of delivering. How can you do this?

Test waters:

  • Ask for the writer’s portfolio
  • Talk to her existing clients
  • Request for a trial article that you promise to pay for
  • Take a look at their official blog
  • Ask them for feedback about your existing blog

Once you are convinced, set the right expectations and wait for the first output. If you need detailed insight into how to manage your content writer, download the free e-book titled, “Make most out of your Content Writer”

Share expectations with the writer

First Draft.

The output depends upon what you have hired the writer for.

Did you hire them for a video script, a blog article, a whitepaper, social media posts, and so on?

Redoing an entire article or any content asset without an approved structure is a futile exercise leading to poor productivity.

Poor Productivity = High Costs

The first draft should include:

  • Structure: The originally agreed structure of the content asset. For eg: if it is a blog post, then the opening para, image placeholder recommendations, necessary quotes, how-to guides, and closing remarks. If it is a case study, then it the problem, solution, implementation process, and the impact on the customer. Define the structure before you get to work. The structure of any content asset includes ideation syntax and thought flow, persuasion techniques, a hierarchy of statements to craft an argument, and so on.
  • Call-to-actions: In large organizations, the editor provides guidelines for CTA placeholders. But, if you are working with a freelance writer, then you need to discuss the preferred CTAs to be included in that asset. The content asset could be a webpage, email draft, video script, blog post with inline CTAs, a podcast script, or anything else that you can imagine.
  • Hyperlinks: Most often missed out. You need to take advantage of internal linking with SEO-friendly anchor text. Keep this handy before the writer gets down to production. A list of necessary keywords and anchor text is useful to churn out great output.
  • Objective: I am mentioning this as the last piece because it the most important. Sticking to the objective helps in crafting a high-quality content asset. The frills will fall in place. I have a detailed section catered to share a few objectives that different content assets could fulfill.

Content Assets and their Objectives

There could be more than one purpose that a given content asset could fulfill. But, here is the thing. You need to determine a ‘primary purpose’ and hand it over to your writer. That should drive the creation of any content asset.

To receive a customized content purpose document and drive targeted conversions, reach out to me @nischalagni on Twitter or connect on Linkedin.

Next Draft

The revised title, sub-headings, overlooked grammar, the missing must-have business or product information, and other updates can be added as a part of the feedback to the first draft. This means the preliminary assumptions should be addressed during the first draft review and avoided in the subsequent iterations. 

You can achieve the best first draft in less time by providing all the necessary inputs to the writer and keeping your objectives clear. 

What else do you think should be included in the first draft of any content asset? Drop your comment.

How to use Neuromarketing for your Business?

The last 6 months on Linkedin was interesting. I received consistent and increased connection requests on Linkedin from many unknown profiles, asking me ‘how can they use neuromarketing to improve their business?’.

So, I am taking a stab at it. Let me explain.

Marketers deal with both—the known and the unknown. The unknown is sitting in the consumer’s brain. The task of deciphering it is delegated to data derived from surveys, marketer hypothesis, skewed sample sizes, but never the consumer herself.

Neuromarketing uses experiments in controlled environments and in a real-time scenario too. 

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” 

Steve Jobs

Neuromarketing, turns marketers into consumer psychics

No, neuromarketing won’t turn you into Professor X a.k.a Prof. Charles Xavier, or the uncanny Nick Marshall personified by Mel Gibson who can read the mind of a woman.

Preliminary medical tests such as the EEG (electroencephalogram) and fMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging) are used. These research processes help you familiarize yourself with neuromarketing. At times, neuromarketing agencies also include PET (positron emission tomography) and MEG (Magnetoencephalography) in the process.  These processes help in identifying how consumers emotionally engage with products. 

Agencies have revealed insights through their experiments in the fields of advertising, media, e-commerce, retail and etc. Marketers have been able to apply them for website optimization, media optimization, physical product positioning in retail, packaging, branding, and sales training.

I am going to share some of those insights, focusing on specific industries.

Neuromarketing, its application to different business areas.

Conversion Optimization

You will be surprised but the well known A/B testing is an adopted method of neuromarketing. The most unknown cultural differences are revealed during A/B tests. It could be as small as adding or removing a field in a form. These small variations add up to huge improvements concerning the conversions. More about this: Here’s Why Smart Marketers Use A/B Testing

Gaming and advertising

Plugging EEG machines to gamers, the gaming manufacturer can identify what parts of the game are most engaging. Gamers also care about in-app and in-game ads that a gamer responds to. It provides insights into what is the optimal frequency and timing that would reap most upsells. Read on to find out how Microsoft applied neuromarketing for XBox. 

Automobile and Product Research

Hyundai, an automobile company applied neuromarketing for product research. It provided proactive insights for the manufacturer about what features are worth including into the new product that is scheduled to hit markets. Find out what neuromarketing was used for before the product was set to launch.


Emotions work better for conversions. There is data that speaks for it. And, here I borrowed this image from Roger Dooley’s blog. Eye tracking, facial coding, galvanic skin response, electrodermal activity, and EEG are some of the methods used to spot emotions that work best for a product. This is experimented even before distributing an ad across a channel mix. In fact, such research determines what should be included in an ad, leading to data that is used by a scriptwriter and a director to design the ad. Some tech stuff here that explains more about it.

Entertainment & Storytelling

The entertainment industry applies a field called neurocinematics to understand how viewers respond to trailers. Before launching the trailer, neuromarketing techniques can be applied to discover which of those trailers provide the desired response from a potential audience. More about the theory behind such an application in the ‘Intuitive Customer’ blog.

High impact Content 

This is my favorite!

As a result of neuromarketing studies, results have emerged which indicates that some techniques work well with the content. Content combined high impact neuromarketing insights work well with conversions.

Emote faces. Apply the ‘scarcity effect’ that provides a sense for more. Research confirms that “ customers pay more attention to things that might hurt them over those that would bring them delight when it comes to purchasing decisions.” Playing with colors while presenting content can make a huge difference to what the consumer expects out of your brand.

How would you choose to use neuromarketing for your business? I would love to learn from you if you have already applied neuromarketing to any of the areas of business.