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Traditional marketing just isn’t cutting it anymore. Content has become the currency in the world of marketing. Given the over-saturation of content flooding your streams, the content you produce needs to rise above the noise if you want a stake at the table. This year CMI reported that creating more engaging and higher quality content is at the top of the list for marketers in 2015.

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Marketers know that creating quality content is paramount, but the question is how, what kind, and how frequently?

The first step in tackling these challenges should be to take a step back. 38% of B2B and 37% of B2C content marketers consider their organization to be effective at content marketing; however, only 35% of B2B and 27% of B2C content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. What is stopping you from documenting your strategy?

These points go hand-in-hand. Those who consider their organization to be effective are more likely to document their content marketing strategy and vice-versa.

Defining your content strategy can get your head in the game when thinking about the various initiatives that visual content can support and propel. However, taking on any project can quickly become overwhelming when the vision and planning are not clear and defined. This is why it’s very important to get your ducks in a row before you set out to create any content—be it blog posts, infographics, eBooks, presentations, etc.

Just like documenting your overall content strategy, content marketers should create a road map and set goals for each piece of content they create. Before embarking on your new piece of content, here are some things you should consider and plan for to make the process more efficient.

Main Objective

Ask yourself why you are creating content. Although content is essential to any inbound marketing strategy, many marketers can get into the habit of creating content without taking into consideration the ROI and overall value prop to the viewer.

In addition, part of clarifying your goals for your visual content should be to determine how your team defines success metrics. At this year’s Marketo Marketing Nation Summit, Phil Fernandez said in his keynote that “we need to stop thinking about louder ads, but more about the individual journey. We need to move towards engagement marketing.” This perspective is precisely what will help shape the objective for every piece of content you create and help define your goals.

If your content doesn’t directly touch your audience and help them along their individual journey, why are you creating it?

Working Title

Getting a working title down on paper (or doc) pushes one to start generating ideas. Coming up with a list of titles can help your team zero in on the story your visual content will contribute to. Even if your visual content is part of a larger piece like a blog post or eBook, titling your piece will automatically give it shape and substance that you can embody in the actual design work.

Audience

Understanding your audience is key when creating content. What spaces do they keep an eye on? What is your target audience talking about in those spaces? Your audience will determine the format and medium that your content takes.

We need to listen more than we talk. Listening to your audience’s pain points not only shows that your business is invested in becoming a solution to their needs, but also empowering them with knowledge.

It would be useful to share a high-level understanding of your target audience data with your creatives to help them craft more fitting content. By distilling your body of data into insights, you’ll help them efficiently understand how they can better approach their design.

Source Files

Depending on the project, marketers should think about the longevity of each piece of content. Sometimes a piece of content is very specific and only good for one scenario, but one should always consider how to get the most mileage from your content. Is your piece evergreen or does it have a shorter lifespan? Can you repurpose your content for another campaign?

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Thinking beyond the single use-case can streamline any future marketing initiatives if you already have a blueprint in place for your content. 63% of B2B marketers are already considering better ways to repurpose their content. When working with your creatives, make sure to ask for the source files once the project is complete. This will allow you to make tweaks to your visual content in the future.

Type of Files

Just like thinking about source files, the type of files you want and need are just as important to making sure your content is compelling. Even if you are using one form of visual content, it can come in many different file types. Whether you’re creating interactive infographics, static infographics, micro-content, presentations, ebooks, etc, half of the battle is making sure the format is compatible with the channel you are using for promotion.

Public or Private

Does your piece of content contain sensitive material? This is extremely important to communicate to your creatives before your project kicks off to ensure that nothing is posted or shared externally.

If public, which channels will you be using to promote and distribute your content? Social media, email blasts, blog posts, and the Visually community are all ways you can disseminate your visual content to help promote your business and help educate others too.

Sharing

Where on the web will you be sharing your content? Whether you’re sharing it on the web, print, or other mediums, you will need various deliverables. Micro-content should play a big role in your content strategy, especially if sharing on social media. Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets, according to Buffer. The channels that you’ll be sharing your content should be top of mind when preparing to create compelling content. After all, you can create the best content, but no one will benefit from it if it is not backed with proper distribution!

Keeping these points in mind before you start your next project will ensure that your content gets created in a smooth and efficient way.

Learn more about the different formats of visual content and how you can best implement it into your content marketing strategy by registering for our webinar with Uberflip!

Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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