Your marketing strategy outlines the tactics you use to communicate with your ideal clients. It is derived from your brand strategy and is one of the three key strategies every successful business needs. According to Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor, an integrated marketing strategy consists of targeted outreach, strategic networking, and content marketing.
This post is the final in a three-part series that reviews each of these elements to focus your marketing efforts. The first post focused on targeted outreach. The second post gave a few tips on how to engage in strategic networking virtually as well as in person. This month, I am focusing on content marketing, emphasizing how design can help you differentiate your content marketing efforts.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing uses content to speak to your audience, including your ideal clients and referral sources, so they will remember you when they need you most. Good content allows your audience to learn about your expertise; it shows them that you understand their problems and have a solution.
Content marketing ties your marketing strategy together. As you get to know your audience, you will better understand the challenges they face. The more you understand their challenges, the better positioned you will be to create content that addresses those needs. You can then use the content you create to nurture the prospects you identified as part of your targeted outreach efforts. To stand out, you want to create content that is in keeping with your brand. That’s where good design can help.
How can design increase the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts?
While blogs and email newsletters are the most common type of content, effective content marketing uses a mixture of written, visual, interactive, and video content. Each type of content presents information differently, which ensures that you are reaching and engaging your audience. In some cases, it may make sense to combine several formats into one piece. For example, you might incorporate an infographic into a blog post, like this example I created for Datacolor, appealing to visual learners versus those who process information through the written word.
Visual language is an integral part of your content marketing effort. By applying uniquely created design elements to your content, the applied designs support your underlying message and enhance understanding. It is also critical to successfully repurposing content, which reinforces your original message, increases reach (the number of people who see your message) and frequency (the number of times a person sees your message), and drives traffic to the original piece of content.
Design considerations for five of the most effective content formats:
1. Blog posts are the most common type of content.
In most cases, the blog post incorporates a hero image. Because many companies use stock photography, this is an excellent opportunity to stand out from the crowd and reinforce your brand with a custom graphic. Not only will it be specific to your topic, it will also reinforce the identity of your brand. Blog posts can also incorporate other graphic elements, such as an infographic, customized quotes, and collage. In addition, you can promote through social media, utilizing the created graphics to support the post content.
2. Infographics are the most popular and widely shared type of content.
Infographics are visual representations of complex ideas. They tell a compelling story that many audiences find incredibly engaging. They are often embedded in a blog post and shared through social media. The most effective infographics have very few words: they rely on the power of visual language to convey their message. Not sure where to start? Maybe create a timeline of your business from where you started and show the growth to where you are today. You can break infographics into several pieces of content to share on social media.
3. Webinars and presentations build authority.
The most effective webinars and presentations support the speaker’s story. They have very few words but are rich in graphics, which is essential to keeping your audience engaged. Images, graphics, and typography work together to reinforce the message. Elements from a webinar or presentation can also be used on social media or repurposed into a blog post or ebook.
4. Ebooks are powerful lead magnets.
Ebooks demonstrate your expertise and help your audience understand your approach. Good design helps make the information presented more digestible, making ebooks excellent candidates to repurpose into infographics. If you intend to use an ebook as a lead magnet, you may also want to develop a landing page making sure the branded graphics are carried all the way through.
5. Distribute content through email newsletters and social media.
For every piece of content you create, you will want to make sure it is distributed to your audience and promoted through online platforms to reach an even broader audience. Your email newsletter is an excellent distribution channel, and social media serves both to distribute and promote your content. It should go without saying that your brand elements will drive the look and feel of the content message.
Are you ready to be strategic about your content marketing?
Have you thought about how design can increase the effectiveness of your content marketing efforts? Do you know how to repurpose your content to improve reach and frequency? From designing landing pages, ebooks, webinars, infographics, email newsletters, and social media posts to determining the best graphics to accompany your blog post or figuring out how to repurpose existing content, I can help you stand out and get your audience’s attention.
If you would like to take your content marketing to the next level, let’s talk.
About the Author: Jillfrances Gray
I am a creative director and designer with 20+ years of experience helping clients innovate and execute their marketing initiatives. Services include brand strategy, brand identity, website design, graphic design, social media marketing, and email marketing. I am obsessively detailed oriented and have a passion for solid, stunning aesthetics. Plus, I’ve been told I am a lot of fun to work with.