Author: Imprint Team

When Bad Things Happen to Good Content

When Bad Things Happen to Good Content

And what you can do about it right now.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans… Well, that goes for content, too. Your best efforts to create content that audiences—not to mention hungry search engines—gobble up with a spoon can go awry for any number of reasons.

Here, members of the IMPRINT team identify five common missteps and remedies to get content back on the right track.

KNOW AND FOCUS ON YOUR AUDIENCE

Andy Seibert, Managing Partner

I’ve seen marketers get really excited about a topic or a format because they personally relate to it. That’s good.

While marketers or content makers may love the content they’ve created, they’re not exactly the target audience for the content. So it’s not likely to help advance business goals. That’s bad.

The remedy: Know your audience and always put them first. Map their day, their buying journey—whatever has you empathizing and walking in their shoes. Only then will you truly understand—from their perspective on a granular level—what they need to know, when they need to know it and in what format.

CONTENT FIRST, FORMAT FOLLOWS

Julissa Ortiz, Director

You’ve got excellent content that you decide to deliver to your audience in an interesting way—in this case, one that’s not text-driven. That’s good.

You choose video because it’s so popular and impactful. But because your content is very data-heavy, video might not be the most effective way to tell this story. That’s bad.

The remedy: Let content drive format, and not vice versa. Early in the process you need to consider not just what you’ve got to offer, but also the best way to disseminate that information. Instead of video, in this instance, an infographic could be a better choice. It’s a great way to show stats and data in a way that’s easy to digest for readers. There’s never a one-format-fits-all solution.

DEFINE ‘WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?’

Michele Radcliffe, Senior Director

You’ve created a content campaign to introduce a new financial product that will save readers money by reducing fees. That’s good.

The response starts strong but falls off. Your audience perked up at the idea of lower fees, but they weren’t amply educated to adopt the new product. They didn’t take action. The bottom line—how this makes their lives better—wasn’t clear. That’s bad.

The remedy: Readers need to quickly recognize relevance, value and, most importantly, what’s in it for them. Educate them through content. Show how lower fees in an investor’s portfolio translate to more money to grow and how, over time, that growth can add up to the difference between affording a seven-day cruise vs. a five-day cruise. Expand your storytelling to overtly connect these dots.

PROMOTION IS TOP PRIORITY

Kimberly Papa Amadeo, Editorial Director

Your content checks all the right boxes: it’s on strategy, the key messages are clear and compelling, the “what’s in it for me” takeaway is sharp and relevant, and it’s all delivered in the optimal format. That’s good.

But you don’t have a plan to share it and amplify it. So after it’s published on the brand’s site the results are … crickets. Your carefully crafted content is like the proverbial falling tree in the forest, landing without a sound. That’s bad.

The remedy: Promotion should be part of your overall strategy and editorial development from the start. Early on, determine how you’re going to get that great content in front of your target audience—whether it’s through social media, email, online ads, your sales force, other custom-tailored means or all of these. If you’ve got it, you need to flaunt it.

PREPARATION PAYS BACK

Colter Hettich, Managing Editor

To add variety to your content and to boost traffic, you decide to launch a YouTube channel because it’s such a popular platform and is where the eyeballs are. That’s good.

You had a brilliant (obviously) idea, but the post-launch results are disappointing. The graphics didn’t turn out as clean as you wanted, you had to scrap three videos because a guest bailed last minute, and you’re not ranking nearly as high in search as you expected. That’s bad.

The remedy: Preparation for every step is part of the process—from who’s writing the script and who’s booking the guests to who’s charging the batteries and who’s responsible for SEO. It sounds obvious, but it’s often the least sexy process that can cause the most issues and ultimately result in work that falls short of your vision. Anyone who’s properly painted a room knows that before you touch a brush you have to move the furniture, tape off trim and lay down drop cloths. You’re painting a room, not a Pollock. It takes time, but after thorough prep the painting becomes exponentially easier. The same holds for creating and deploying your content.

 

Don’t go awry, email imprintcontent@gmail.com to discuss your program.

 

Endless Love: How to Make an Audience Swoon

Endless Love: How to Make an Audience Swoon

By now the long-stemmed roses are wilting and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are all but empty, signs that special Valentine’s Day love is already fading. But when it comes to content, customers need to feel a deep emotional connection on an ongoing basis. Helping clients make clear and consistent connections with their audiences is a major creative challenge. IMPRINT staffers offer up six ways to do it.

 

SPRING SURPRISES

Andy Seibert, Managing Partner

Content builds and nurtures relationships, and who doesn’t want a relationship where the love endures? To do your part, you need to be reliable—deliver content of value on a consistent basis. But then surprise and delight. Appropriate to your brand, consider being humorous, provocative or challenging. Surprise and delight can also come in the form the content takes: make eyebrows rise with a short video, listicle or interactive infographic. A little can go a long way, so don’t overdo it. Spring a surprise just often enough to keep the spark alive.

 

STRATEGIZE STORYTELLING

Dan Davenport, Editorial Director

We help our clients’ audiences fall in love with content by taking a decidedly strategic approach to storytelling: What exactly is it? What elements does it use to draw customers in? We then show clients how we can help them craft true stories — articles, videos, podcasts that create bona fide narrative by introducing a protagonist who overcomes a challenge to reach a resolution. Beginning, middle, end. Science tells us humans are hard-wired to respond to stories with such an arc. The result is deeper, sustained engagement and an ongoing conversation between brand and audience. That’s something every client can love.

 

FLAUNT A POV

Ken Williams, Managing Director

Audiences are inundated with content on a daily basis. Making sure you stand out in the crowd is key to making audiences fall for you—and only you. One effective way to break from the pack is to incorporate a unique perspective in everything you publish, one that captures the firm’s distinct point of view—whatever that may be—and resonates with readers. Your unique POV typically comes through in your editorial, but it can also be displayed visually through infographics, interactives and video.

 

AMP UP EMPATHY

Meg Staknis, Managing Director

There’s nothing like knowing that someone gets you. To accomplish that automatic emotional connection, you have to forget about yourself and focus on the other person, or in marketing, your audience. The best marketers achieve this empathy by putting themselves in their audience’s shoes. They always try to understand what the audience needs, what they want, what will make them happy—and attempt to respond in clear, accessible and interesting ways. When you think about it, it’s like any other relationship: We all just want to be understood.

 

INJECT HUMOR

Duncan Milne, Managing Director

Great content should feel natural and conversational. And great conversations happen when we listen, when we engage, when we respect each other and, more often than not, when we share a sense of humor. So be lighthearted when you can. You don’t need to crack jokes, but by making your customers smile with wordplay, headlines and clever captions, for example, you can give your brand a distinct personality—one that charms and seduces.

 

GET FRESH

Ashley Brenner, Creative Director 

Content that is fresh can be a real turn-on. Of course, “fresh” is a subjective term. What it means for us is content that has a clear, distinct perspective, is visually contemporary, and brings a lot of energy. We all know when it comes to falling in love, being beautiful is always a good thing! So there’s the art—make it look great and inviting to the eye. Then comes the science: all this gorgeous content must align with our clients’ marketing strategies. Falling in love with an image or a video doesn’t help our clients unless it leads to a conversation and a deeper connection. That’s the goal of great design: fostering dialogue with customers that keeps those double-tap-hearts flowing.

 

To talk more about these tips, please email us at imprintcontent@gmail.com.

5 Trends to Watch in 2020

5 Trends to Watch in 2020

What’s the buzz? The five newest IMPRINT team members share what they’re excited about and looking forward to in the content marketing industry—from brands thinking big picture to illustrations leading the way to the cumulative impact of productivity-enhancing platforms.

 

CULTURAL AWARENESS

JULISSA ORTIZ, DIRECTOR

Joined September 2019 from JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Consumers today are making more purchasing decisions based on how brands align with their values. In turn, brands are becoming more culturally aware and committing to a point of view on relevant issues, whether it’s climate change or gender equality.

What does that mean for content marketers? We’re excited for all the new and interesting stories we can tell for clients. It used to be primarily about selling a product or service, but now the focus is much more on marketing the brand overall—and what it represents to its audiences.

 

KINETIC DESIGN

CRAIG GARTNER, ART DIRECTOR

Joined January 2020 from his own company, Wall Street Journal and Sports Illustrated Custom Publishing

I’ve always been interested in the architecture of a page. I’m intrigued now by design elements and approaches that make print not just relevant, but every bit as exciting as digital.

Customized, non-traditional sizes for print pieces can provide a unique experience for the individuals holding it in their hands—and even encourage them to keep it. And asymmetrical design is bringing more kinetic energy and movement, and, as a result, demanding more attention. The reader feels an innate curiosity and sense of wonder about where the text and graphics will go next.

 

ILLUSTRATIVE EVOLUTION

PIERCE KINNALLY, VISUAL DESIGNER

Joined in January from freelancing as a designer and illustrator

The use of illustrations as a key design element ebbs and flows, and we’re in a flow this year. As an illustrator and designer, I’m excited to see how much thoughtful illustration is being seamlessly woven into content. At the head of an article the right illustration can function like a satisfying puzzle, evoking questions that need to be set up for the article and clearly explaining its content while nudging the readers’ perspective. Done well, it’s like a good book cover—it grabs you, it exists inseparably with the writing by setting the tone and it sets you up to receive information a little bit differently.

 

PROCESS AUTOMATION

COLTER HETTICH, MANAGING EDITOR

Joined November 2019 from amNewYork

As managing editor, one of my primary responsibilities is optimizing our workflow. As new tools continue to be added, it’s easy for workflows to get cumbersome. In 2020 we’re adopting a new strategy and platform that will consolidate project timelines, files, calendars and task assignments all in one place.

The 10 seconds spent looking for a file, or five minutes figuring out what’s due over the next few days from various projects will be automated. Those 10 seconds here and five minutes there add up to time we’ll get back that can go directly to planning, creating and delivering content that works for our clients—and that’s what it’s all about.

 

FORGING FOUNDATIONS

SCOT MAITLAND, DIRECTOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Joined September 2019 from running his own consulting business

I consider myself an extension cord. I connect the power at IMPRINT, where we specialize in making complex thoughts simple and clear for clients. My background is in the health and wellness sphere, and I’m excited about ramping up our clientele in those areas—from hospitals to biotech to pharmaceuticals. With over 6,000 hospitals in the U.S. and more than $660 billion in uncompensated care to their patients since 2000, there’s never been a more urgent time for strategic content to help fill needs.

And in 2020, I’m seeing healthcare foundations work toward providing education, solutions and care to individuals, families and communities like never before. They have concerns about growth, revenue and funding, as well as staffing and volunteer challenges. IMPRINT has established successful programs for leading healthcare businesses and foundations, and I’m excited to help dial that up further this year.

CC 20: Addressing Gaps in Patient Communications

CC 20: Addressing Gaps in Patient Communications

At Imprint, we believe there are significant opportunities to better improve communications regarding personal health. Communications from two groups, in particular, stand out:  those from doctors’ offices and pharmacies.   Listen in to this podcast as Duncan Milne, Managing Director, Will Thomas, Senior Analyst, and Keval Shah, Intern, discuss how subtle shifts in your communications can radically improve the patient experience.

Intro music Golden Sunrise by Josh Woodward // CC BY

Imprint in the Diversity Spotlight

Imprint in the Diversity Spotlight

Imprint was recently certified as a diversity supplier by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The New York chapter (nglccny), of which Imprint is a member, highlights Imprint in a “Supplier Spotlight” Q&A with Andy Seibert, Imprint’s Managing Partner. The piece covers a variety of topics, including Imprint’s competitive differences and why diversity certification is so important.

Click here to read the Q&A!

CC 19: Research Results: Content Trust Study

CC 19: Research Results: Content Trust Study

Building trust is a crucial goal of content marketing––but is your content program performing as well as it could? Our interns, Casey and Jakob, recently conducted a ‘Content Marketing and Trust’ survey,  and have distilled 5 key takeaways for all B2C content marketers. Listen up as they discuss their recommendations for brands with Imprint’s Will Thomas.

Intro music Golden Sunrise by Josh Woodward // CC BY

Named to “Top 12 Financial Agencies of 2018” List

Named to “Top 12 Financial Agencies of 2018” List

The Gramercy Institute recently recognized Imprint as one of the ‘Top 12 Financial Agencies of 2018.’ The competition was fierce and global—98 firms, across 7 countries—and winners were selected for a number of criteria, including proven success for specific clients and demonstrated innovation in financial services marketing. We’re honored that the Gramercy Institute saw fit to highlight the work we’ve put forward, and would like to extend our congratulations to the other firms who were similarly recognized—as Duncan Milne recently noted for us, there was a lot we learned from the other winners’ as well.

 

But above all, we’d like to extend an enormous ‘Thank You’ to our clients in the financial services industry, for making this big win possible. We wouldn’t be able to push the envelope for financial content without your desire to innovate and think differently in a highly regulated space.

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