a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data. “a good infographic is worth a thousand words.”
We live in a content-saturated world. We crave information at our fingertips, immerse ourselves in social media, and accept that advertising is strategically woven into all aspects of our lives.
But not all content is created equal. As we search the internet for a solution to a problem or question, we want an answer. And we want it now. As the availability of information rises, so does our impatience for sifting through useless results. In our fast-paced lives, we don’t have time to read through an article to find our answer. Often, if we have not found the answer in a matter of seconds, we move on to the next option. As the average person ingests as much information as the equivalent of 174 newspapers a day, marketers must strive to deliver relevant messages via innovative methods. Enter infographics and other multimedia content.
Infographics and SlideShares
Based on research cited by Microsoft, as one looks at words to decipher the meaning, we transition through a split-second process of identifying shapes as letters, combine them to make words and sentences, and then use our understanding to identify meaning and relevance. This is a sequential process that, although it may take only a fraction of a second, is time consuming when compared our ability to instantly comprehend graphics in visual communication. For when one looks at an apple, he or she immediately understands it is a fruit without having to rely on context to understand whether the written word “apple” refers to a fruit or a tech-brand.
For this reason, highly visual media such as infographics and SlideShares are great tools for communicating data to an over-stimulated observer. The content is still rich with information but aided by visuals to relay the data.
Here is an infographic that uses visual media to illustrate the power of visual media:
Audiocasts (aka Podcasts) and Webcasts (aka Webinars)
Written marketing content like blogs and ebooks can either be targeted to a general or specific audience; however, that audience is ultimately separated by the reader and author roles. By contrast, audio/video content such as audiocasts and webcasts are more intimate communications media, even allowing you to engage with your audience in real time. Considered “new media,” by many marketers (even digital marketers) audio/video content occupies a less-crowded space in blog directories and search engine results pages than do blogs, ebooks, and other forms of written marketing content.
Studies show that people retain 80% of the information they see and/or do as compared to remembering 20% of what they read and 10% of what they hear. When reflecting on these retention levels, audiocasts and webcasts often work best when paired with additional resources like a SlideShare or blog-type post.
Even though retention levels with audio may not be as strong as with visual content, a big advantage of audio content is its utter mobility. Users can listen to an audiocast while engaging in activities like working out or cleaning the house. Moreover, they can replay especially interesting or relevant segments, or pause and revisit the audiocast at a later time.
Check out this Podcast from Social Media Examiner on how Podcasts are trending for marketers.
Today’s smartphone-toting consumers are turning to online video for entertainment and information discovery, two actions that ultimately influence purchase decision. Video builds trust and legitimacy with your audience. It creates three-dimensional, intimate brand awareness. You can also use video to efficiently convey large amounts of information quickly. Your brand can also use video to drive purchase action and stimulate post-purchase customer engagement. Perhaps most importantly, online videos can be made relatively quickly and inexpensively. Keep in mind, your audience is not particularly sensitive to production quality – they’re looking for substance over form.
Delighting with Multimedia
Information targets us from every angle. Some we seek out, much we don’t; this is the inevitable result of living in an information-saturated society. Knowing this, you must stay focused on creating multimedia content that is relevant and useful to your audience.
When incorporating a multimedia approach to your content marketing (e.g. visuals through SlideShare and audio through a podcasts/webinar), your audience is able to engage with the content in different ways, improving retention levels and enhancing the user experience. While this may require an increased level of initial backend effort, by producing unique content that stands out and gains a delighted following, you stand a greater chance of converting visitors into leads, leads into customers, and customers into brand advocates and superfans.
- Why are brands not producing more visual content, especially given the higher retention levels garnered from it?
- What are some of the basic challenges brands face when developing multimedia content?
- In what ways does the consumer shift to mobile devices impact brands’ multimedia content strategies?