September 30, 2014

Content Matters

Pictures take a direct route to our long term memory. Not only do we process them rapidly, but they stay with us.

Today, over 27 million pieces of content are generated and shared daily. Content is not only ubiquitous, it comes in many different forms:  text, visual, data, audio, interactive, video, user generated, podcast, etc.

In 2014, 93% of marketing organizations will utilize content as the centerpiece of their branding strategy and spend more than $130 billion to do so. The chief goal for their content programs is to create and enhance brand awareness and brand engagement. It must be working. Take a look at these stats:

– Content marketing is 62% less expensive than traditional marketing, and generates roughly 3 times as many leads.
– Website conversion rates are nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters.
– Per dollar spent, content generates more than three times the number of leads as paid search.
– 60% of people are inspired to seek out a brand after engaging with content about it.
– 70% of people would rather learn about a brand through articles, than an ad.
– 82% of people feel more positively about a brand after exposure to related custom content.
– 78% of customers report perceiving a relationship between themselves and brands using branded content.

Why then do only 42% of CMOs report their content strategy is performing effectively? Because the content they’re generating is actually clutter. It’s not engaging, exciting or educating their audience. But that’s not the fault of the strategy, it’s the execution. And it can be fixed.

Mind the gaps. The first gap exists between audience needs and interests, and the content being published. There is a huge disconnect. (See Corey’s November 2013 issue and blog post, “The Great Messaging Divide” for more).

The second gap is between how people engage with content vs. how content is actually delivered. For example, research reports that, on average, people check their smartphones 150 times a day, 44% of consumers did their holiday shopping online in 2013 (it will nearly double in 2014). Yet, only 7% of Fortune 1000 websites and 9% of the top 100 Etail sites are responsive websites; 30% of the Fortune 500 still have no social media presence.

It doesn’t matter what your content communicates if it’s not accessible to your market.

The rules are simple: know your audience and develop a visual content strategy.

Know your audience – Gather the data, do the focus groups, conduct the surveys, and test. Take that information and create detailed personas for each of your audience segments. Make them detailed enough to guide and inspire your content creators in the style, topic, tone, length, and complexity appropriate to your market.

Customer research will also guide content creators when deciding where and how your content should be delivered to reach your target audience. Adults in the U.S. spend 11 hours/day online. There is a place for digital content.

Develop a Visual Content Strategy – The human brain engages with visual content 60,000 times faster than text, yet most content generation still focuses on the written word.

Use branded, well-targeted and thoughtfully created photography, art, video, animations and infographics to attract and engage your audience. Be mindful to when it is more effective to show rather than say.

– Pictures take a direct route to our long term memory. Not only do we process them rapidly, but they stay with us.
– 83% of human learning takes place visually.
– People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see and experience.
– Articles with images get 94 percent more views than those without.
– Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t.
– Posts with videos attract three times more inbound links than plain text posts.
– Another recent survey done by The Economist Group asked “What was the best content of 2013?” All of the responses (100%) indicated videos.

Just because it’s visual, doesn’t mean it’s good —Make sure your visuals are unique, memorable and relevant. But there’s a difference between being provocative and annoying. Knowing how much is too much can mean the difference between engaging customers or repelling them.

Your visual content should align with your brand identity, and your brand identity should align with your messaging and positioning … which, of course, should align with your audience’s wants and needs.

Begin now and call on Corey to help you build your brand and avoid the content clutter trap. Please email us (  or just click here.


Latest Tweets