Monthly Archives: November 2012

Content—friend or foe?

What does content have to do with design? Why is a graphic designer going on and on about content? Because it is a whole new world out there and these things go together. Good packing and good content have gone hand in hand since the first narrative went up on the first church wall. Coke™ has put on YouTube it’s content strategy plan (they call it vision) for 2020. They essentially plan to take over the world. Not only do they plan to take over the world they want you to help. It is either terrifying or genius. Before you check it out, think about what you or your company may take away from this. While Coke™ plans on high interaction from consumers, can you, on a lower level, get your customers to interact with you? Is there a way to get them to tell you your story before you ask? For example, my fictional payroll company if you recall, has rolled out some spiffy new software that will save the company and company clients money, or offer more services for the same money or much expanded services for only a little more money (ideal). I can ask how my payroll company’s expanded capacity has helped my clients. In return, I feature in my emails, website however I communicate, how great this turned out and my client gets free exposure. Anyway, go check out Coke™. You can decide if you want to be part of the collective or not.


Step right up, enjoy the show

Content in a quantity world. You know you have to create compelling content in the look at me world of customer communication. What is compelling? Your new software program is compelling. No, really it is. Actually it isn’t but you can make it compelling or at least some what compelling. Tell your customers what your new software is going to do for them. How the new program will help your people provide better service. How it will allow your customers to add features to the product/service they get from you for little or no money. No money is better, it creates a bond of caring. You’re sharing some of your cost savings thus recognizing your customer’s value. Use the opportunity to introduce some of your staff. A few testimonials from staff about how excited they are to use the new product. (A little piece of advice. If you are introducing a new computer system, before you embark on that odyssey, get feedback about what the needs are from your staff. I cannot tell you how many companies I’ve been to that buy and implement a new system without ever engaging the people who will be using it. Engage your people and you’ll likely find that you don’t need so many bells and whistles and the new system will be embraced instead of perceived as a new form of torture devised by management.) Don’t denigrate the old version of what’s being replaced, you don’t want your customers to think you’ve been out of sync with the rest of the world. Tell your customers how you’re going to be better than great. What if you don’t have new software to crow about? What if you’re looking around the office and you can’t see or think of one thing in your business to tell your customers about? Think about something one person does at your company or something the company does that helps the company run smoothly. Write about that especially if that person or job doesn’t have any direct customer contact. Does the company do any community outreach? No? Ask around, one of your people does. Write about them. And if your company doesn’t do any community outreach, start. It is a no lose proposition. The take away from this? Tell a story. Next, more ways of creating content and awareness.

Content is King?

Content, king, what? I don’t need to recite how we are all bombarded with advertising and stimuli. We know, we know, we know. So how do you make people aware of you? Whether you are selling a product or service or a nonprofit you can’t do any of those things without awareness. The direct sell is out. Then how? By creating valuable content and sharing it with your customers/clients. Content is the soft sell in a broader context. Have you ever seen turn of the century advertising? The technique was to tell a story. “Miss X of Chicago, IL was at a loss. The young men would smile and come to make her acquaintance but then quickly went away. Heartbroken, Miss X asked her best friend who was always surrounded by beaus what her secret was. ‘”Why I use, Bright Smile Toothpaste! Not only do I get a great smile but fresh breath too!”’ Soon after, Miss X became Mrs. Y.” They told a story ideally, it was their customer’s story. Today marketing, social marketing that is, has come back toward that model. Far more subtle and with more direct value in it’s content.

Want an example? This blog is a perfect example. Every week I provide a short piece of advice or item about marketing or graphic design. My first post was about serif and sanserif typefaces.  ( I provided good, helpful information. I accomplished two things. I gave you, my audience, something valuable and I demonstrated my expertise in my field. As things went along I urged my readers to use a professional designer but I never pushed my services. This blog for me, is not to generate new business, though the prospect is not lost on me, it is a resource for my current customers and potential customers. My portfolio may not address specific customer needs and sometimes if a customer doesn’t see exactly what they want in my portfolio this blog can demonstrate the breadth of my skill set.

Take a look at your business or organization, is content marketing something you should consider? Later I will examine what content marketing is and how you can implement it, the pluses and minuses and commitment required.