fresh thinking

Say It With Pictures: Communicate creatively

Salomi Shah, 11th January 2017

You rack your brains to create interesting content for your clients and prospects, but they won't look at it unless it really stands out. In the modern world, it takes more than just a great wordsmith to captivate audiences. You need a graphic designer in your corner, because awe-inspiring visuals are key to really engaging your audience. That's true whether you're on social media, in a blog, or inside someone's inbox.

Don't stop at crafting a stimulating article on what matters to your industry. Format it, introduce elements, and design it in ways that make it visually appealing. And instead of simply letting it loose to wreak havoc on the Internet, use 'creatives' - combinations of text and graphics - to convey a message.

Remember: anything that you publish, short of an obituary, should be 'share-worthy' and have a shot at going viral, if your audience chooses.

If you're ready to say it with pictures, here are five ideas to experiment with:

  1. Keep things simple: Try to master the use of pictograms and charts to make your content more attractive. They're simple to conceptualize, easy to create, and really help convey the message at a glance.

  2. Explore the world of icons: Icons manage to succinctly convey an idea or a few short sentences at a glance. They're cute and quirky and versatile. Incorporate icons to break up your content into segments or highlight key points.

  3. Re-purpose your content: Your target audience is not a uniform demographic with similar tastes and preferences. They won't all want to consume content in the same way. If you've got a long format article or a substantial white paper, consider summarizing the key messages in a blogpost or a SlideShare deck. Remember to keep it brief.

  4. Design for social media: Long format articles are like meals and look good on blogs and websites. On social media, people like to snack on snippets of information between meals. Cull out juicy bits and pieces from your article and craft them into interesting posts for social media. Use bright illustrations alongside your 140 characters of text.

  5. Lighten up: Just because you want to be taken seriously doesn't mean you have to be serious all the time. A well-crafted cartoon, illustration or doodle is often enough to get the message across, even if you're in a boardroom, pitching for a billion dollar deal.

Practicing what I preach

In the past year as a designer at teammagenta I've had the opportunity to work side-by-side with a talented team of writers. Together, we're able to breathe fresh life into content that might initially feel dry. By repurposing it for multiple channels we help our clients get a much better return on their investment.

There is an element of design in everything we do. The white papers we produce almost always feature a simple graph. Content from those white papers is re-purposed to create SlideShare decks, blogposts, and social media posts, all of which feature a few strong design elements.

Creating content takes effort and is an investment that yields great returns when done right. In 2017 make it your personal mission not to publish anything unless it's gorgeous. Create to captivate and you'll win fans.

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