Sunday, 30 April 2017

Why Office Communication is Highly Valued and Often Ignored

A huge number of employees don't trust their bosses, and it's not hard to figure out why.


3 Trigger Events That Could Make Your Current Business Structure Obsolete

It's the least-sexy thing about being an entrepreneur, but obsessing over personal liability and tax implications might mean it's time to change how you've incorporated your business.


A Manager's Guide to Delivering Bad News (Infographic)

If you have the right approach, breaking bad news doesn't have to be so daunting.


5 Important Visual Lessons From Designers for Content Marketers


I don’t want to write another article explaining the importance of visual content in your content marketing. And Joe Pulizzi already included the topic in his article about the biggest content marketing trends in 2017 so we don’t need to outline it anymore.

But a lot of marketers still don’t understand visual content.

Visual content is something that you, as a marketer, should work with a designer to create.

Think about it this way: You need to influence people by touching an emotion that will make a segment of readers/consumers interact with you as a brand. And because the internet is so crowded with content, you need to take a step further to attract attention.

What type of content will 65% of the population be more likely to recall? Visual.

65% of the population is more likely to recall visual #content via @SSRN.
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You can’t speak proficiently about visuals for your content marketing if you don’t talk with the people who create them – the designers. Call them however you want: UX/UI designer, web designer, graphic designer, creative director, visual content creator, or art director. They are the ones who consume visual content, create visual content, and think about visual content every day.

And that’s why in this article, I go to these visual experts to share the five lessons content marketers need to know about visual content.

1. Know less is more 

“When marketers feel that every little bit of info needs to be included on a piece that’s when things get very muddy and messy,” says Joseph Kalinowski, creative director at Content Marketing Institute.

And I agree with him.

If you think creating a lot of content will bring you the results you want, well my friend, let me tell you that you are wrong. Creating a lot of content, articles, videos, and social media posts won’t get you more clicks, leads, or whatever else you want to get.

When I asked designer Paul Jarvis what content marketers need to know, I assumed he would reply in three words: Keep it simple. But I was wrong (and right):

Less is always more. Non-designers seem to always want to add elements, more fonts, more colors, more stuff to designs to make it ‘pop’ or stand out. When design, professional design, works best when it’s focused and to the point.

Less is always more when it comes to #design, says @PJRVS.
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Many content marketers want to write one more piece of an article, to insert one more image, or to record one more video. But what if they focused on the thing that is important for them and their audience? Focusing on one point brings them value.

As Mihai Cora, UX/UI designer for Smartketer, says:

Give enough space between the lines. This will make it more comfortable to read.

And I couldn’t agree more.

Yes, your content needs space and time to breathe. Your content needs to let your audience consume it, think about it, and interact with it.

As Jozef Matas, head of design at Teamweek, says, “Reduce clutter and make it breathe.”

Takeaway: Don’t go overboard with text – design to give your content the space and time to be consumed easily by your audience.

Don’t go overboard w/ text. Design to give #content the space & time to be consumed easily.@katairobi
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2. Strike a balance

What’s the right mix between text- and visual-based content?

A 2014 Blog Pros study shows that the 100 most popular blogs on average use one image every 350 words. That means if you write a 2,000-word article you should use at least six visuals, including the featured image.

Use one image for every 350 words in an article, says @blogpros. #design
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But throwing a few visuals in a blog post doesn’t mean that you are doing a good job, or as Joe Kalinowski says:

Many marketers in general have a good sense of design, but there are many times when they overlook some of the basic design principles that should be adhered to when trying to create visual content.

Basic design principles should be adhered to when creating visual content, says @jkkalinowski. #design
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Only half of B2B marketers say creating visual content is a priority. What about the other half? Aren’t they interested in visual content?

Ian Paget, a logo designer and visual content creator, outlines the importance of visual content for a successful content marketing strategy:

Adding imagery every few paragraphs makes the content feel more engaging. Images can be created in a few different ways. Create your own imagery, using photography, software such as Photoshop, or online tools such as Bannersnack. This route is more time consuming, but means that you can create exactly what you need, and have a consistent style throughout your content.

Adding imagery every few paragraphs makes the content feel more engaging, says @Logo_Geek. #design
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Takeaway: Visual content creation should be as important as text or audio content creation.

3. See the color

I believe I lost a few great articles and stories because of the color of the website. I couldn’t understand why the designer (or developer) behind that website used that ugly combination with red and orange, or green and yellow.

Think about how many users you lose each day because of your color combinations. Joe offers this suggestion:

“Think back to the days of your high school art class when you had to make the color wheel. Contrasting and complementary colors, primary, secondary and tertiary colors, the list goes on. You don’t have to get crazy … Just remember that unless it’s the holiday, try to steer away from placing green type on a red background (LOL).

“… If you have a general idea of a color that you would like to use as a base, there is an abundance of online tools like Sessions College that can help you choose colors that will work well with your palette.”

Though the psychology of color is one of the most controversial aspects in branding, you still need to understand its importance.

Takeaway: Every time you launch a content marketing project, make sure your use of color stays true to your brand.

Every time you launch a #contentmarketing project, make sure use of color stays true to your brand. @katairobi
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4. Think about typography

What is the difference between a Sans Serif font and Comic Sans or Curlz? If you’re a designer, I bet you have a few ideas. If you’re a marketer, you may ignore that question but you shouldn’t.

If your type is hard to read, readers will ignore your articles. Jacob Cass of Just™ Creative explains:

(T)ypography plays a huge role in communicating a message visually. Every typeface has subtle nuances that will make or break your visual communication. So learning about the basics of typography will help set you up for visual marketing success.

Every typeface has subtle nuances that will make or break your visual communication, says @JustCreative.
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You don’t have to be a professional in web design and understand the role of every type font, size, and color, but you need to know the basics. Jacob recommends a great book for you: The Non-Designer’s Type Book.

I love the way Joe puts together the importance of typography in this analogy:

Think of a newspaper’s front page, big headline, medium-sized subhead, small body copy with a nice accompanying photo that works well with all of the fonts and sizes. Now, imagine how hard that newspaper page would be to read if everything was the same size, font, font weight. Adjusting size and weight of items in your visual content is a must.

Takeaway: Educate yourself on the basics of typography to ensure that readers won’t find your content hard to read.

5. Don’t let page-load time deter visitors

When your website is loading so slowly that you can watch one season of House of Cards (OK, I’m exaggerating a little bit, but you got the point), you have big problems.

As Google says, the best brand is the one who is there, useful, and quick.

Ian suggests one way to speed things up in design – optimize images: “Make sure when creating images for the web, images are sized and compressed correctly.”

And Patricia Coroi, graphic designer at Flipsnack, says:

More people are consuming content using mobile, so being optimized for mobile is very important. And the best way to check out how ready is your website for mobile is by checking it with Google’s tool.

Takeaway: Make sure your visuals are optimized for the online environment.


I let Denis Matveev, product designer at PromoRepublic, have the last word because he makes the value of design to all content marketers clear:

Apart from art, design is a suite of rules and laws, such as typography, composition and color. When doing design, you don’t steal, but borrow the best decision. Always seek for trends and reference in order to create a working, eye-catching, wow-effect visual.

Apart from art, design is a suite of rules & laws, such as typography, composition, & color. @Matsofski
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So here are the five important lessons from designers every content marketer should learn:

  1. Know less is more – give visitors space and time to pace their viewing.
  2. Strike a balance – see visual content creation as important as text or audio creation.
  3. See the color – stay true to your brand.
  4. Think about typography – give visitors an easy-to-read experience.
  5. Don’t let page-load time deter visitors – optimize your visuals.

Now, get back to your content creation and see what you need to adjust to do a better job. But before you go, which one of these lessons do you think is a general problem for the content marketing industry? Let me know in comments.

Want help in balancing your content marketing mix? Whether it’s visuals vs. text or something else, get advice from experts in CMI’s daily newsletter. Subscribe today – it’s free!

Cover image by SplitShire

Please note:  All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team.  No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

The post 5 Important Visual Lessons From Designers for Content Marketers appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

10 Interview Tips for Tech Companies

Interviewing with a tech company is somewhat different from interviewing at companies in other industries.


The Best Entrepreneurial Lessons Don't Cost $10,000

Some masterminds may try to charge you thousands for a single session. Is their knowledge really worth that much?


Stop Delegating Social Media to Your Interns

You really don't want your social media manager to be just figuring it out along the way.


104 Facts You Didn't Know About Mobile Marketing (Infographic)

Just last year, mobile devices overtook desktop in internet usage.


This Week in Content Marketing: The Bull Market in Marketing Is Just Beginning


PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this episode, we discuss Google’s move to insert ad blocking features into the Chrome web experience, and what it might mean for the future of marketing and advertising. We also dig into some new research on the high demand for marketing skills, and explore executives’ love of long-form content. Our rants and raves cover content workflows and mission statements; then we wrap up with a content marketing gem from the early 20th century.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on April 23, 2017; Length: 1:02:41)

Download this week’s PNR This Old Marketing podcast.

If you enjoy our PNR podcasts, we would love if you would rate it, or post a review, on iTunes.

1.   Our sponsor (08:04):

  • PowerPost – Welcome to the Age of Power Publishing: As content marketers, we understand the importance of creating content that not only educates, but inspires consumers to take action. As a result, we have entered a new era of “brands as publishers” – where brands are increasingly becoming publishers in their own right. With brand publishing and content distribution come several key steps to the publishing process. But the elongated process of content creation, review, scheduling, and tracking analytics can often take more time than we have. Built by marketers for marketers, PowerPost is a time-saving tool for companies who manage content for multiple brands with multiple users – whether it’s a regulated industry or creative agency. With PowerPost, your team can publish from one location across all of your online platforms, quickly and efficiently turning your brand into a power publisher. To help more brands excel at publishing, join us for a webinar on May 9th with CMI founder Joe Pulizzi. We have also created a comprehensive e-book, with insights from 50 experts in the content marketing field, and their strategies on conquering the five pillars of brand publishing: content planning, workflow, distribution, analytics, conversion. Claim your download at


2.    Notable news and upcoming trends:

  • Google may introduce an ad-blocking feature for its popular Chrome browser (11:31): Looking to enhance the quality of its mobile and desktop experience, the big G is working on a tool that would filter out some of the online ad units that users often find to be most irritating – such as pop-ups, auto-play videos with sound, and prestitial ads with countdowns. According to The Wall Street Journal, if Google decides to launch the feature, it would base blocking decisions on the quality standards established by the Coalition for Better Ads. Considering Chrome’s leadership position among browsers – as well as Google’s overall dominance in digital marketing – Robert wonders whether this launch will turn out to be the tipping point for the changes that need to be made across the digital ad ecosystem. Yet, I bristle at the idea of Google becoming the sole “judge, jury, and executioner” when it comes to ad serving.
  • The most in-demand marketing skills in 2017 (24:25): MarketingProfs reports on a new McKinley Marketing Partners study that characterizes the current talent and hiring landscape for digital marketing. The report found that there’s a high demand for digital advertising, content creation and curation, and content strategy skills in marketing, while graphic, web, and visual design skills topped the list of the creative services businesses need most. The findings confirm my belief that marketing skills of all kinds are going to be in high demand for a long time, while Robert sees a tremendous opportunity here for potential employees to differentiate themselves as providers in this market.

Marketing skills of all kinds are going to be in high demand for a long time, says @joepulizzi.
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  • The media habits of the world’s “smartest, busiest people” (34:20): Quartz released its new Global Executives Study, which surveyed 1,357 executives from around the world to find out how they get their news, why they share content, and how they feel about advertising. Among the notable findings of the study, which has an infographics-like interface that made Robert smile, are that 84% of executives cite long-form articles as the content format they are most likely to share, and 74% found the last piece of sponsor content they read to be interesting, informative, and valuable.

84% of execs cite long-form articles as the #content format they are most likely to share, via @qz‏.
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3.   Rants and raves (41:15)

  • Robert’s rave: We don’t often toot our own horn in PNR, but Robert can’t resist sharing his enthusiasm for a recent CMI post, 30 Habits of Highly Productive Content Teams. Based on a session delivered by Heinz Marketing’s Matt Heinz and Workfront’s Heather Hurst at our annual ContentTECH virtual event, the stellar, in-depth article written by Marcia Riefer Johnston is a must-read for anyone looking to learn how to efficiently scale their content marketing team and its output. It’s a master class in blog post form.
  • Joe’s rave: Though I was offline for most of the past week, this article on corporate mission statements made it through my filters. I have a particular affinity for content marketing mission statements, so there are a few points made in this article that really struck a chord for me, including the need to make them personal and distinct. When (not if) you create your own editorial mission statement, make sure it speaks in your unique brand voice and clearly communicates the distinct value your content provides for your industry niche.

4.    This Old Marketing example of the week (51:23):

  • In his limited downtime, Robert has been known to geek out on our industry by reading old marketing trade magazines from the early 20th century. Recently, he came across a few gems in the July 1916 issue of a magazine called Advertising and Selling. The first is an article from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) that argues against the issue of “forced circulation” – essentially, publishers that buy traffic in order to increase their circulation numbers, thus justifying increasing their ad rates. Robert found this to be an interesting parallel to our current struggles with ad fraud and publishers buying traffic. The magazine issue also led to a fascinating realization: We had long assumed that Content Marketing World was the first-ever conference focused on content marketing but, as Robert learned, this isn’t actually the case. You may recall us mentioning the concept of a “house organ” on previous PNR episodes, explaining that it was an early term for external-facing magazines published by a brand. It turns out that this issue of Advertising and Selling features session coverage from a trade event that took place in 1916, called the House Organ Editor’s Conference. Essentially, this coverage amounts to six marketing case studies, including one from the editor for Buick’s brand magazine, which describes how the company revised its circulation method to enable its dealership partners to directly benefit from the magazine – and pay for its printing and distribution costs in exchange for the privilege. Many of the issues discussed at the conference are challenges that our industry still struggles with, earning it a retroactive This Old Marketing seal of approval.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 12.42.29 PM

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For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The post This Week in Content Marketing: The Bull Market in Marketing Is Just Beginning appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.