We’ve all heard it hundreds of times over the last few years: “Content is king.” And it’s probably more valid today than when Bill Gates proclaimed it nearly 20 years ago. The marketers of today are increasingly holding onto the notion. Research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that 69% of B2C marketers are creating more content in 2015 than they did a year ago. What they are relying less on, however, is the written word. The use of blogs has dropped from 72% in 2014 to 67% this year.
Are B2C marketers just not seeing the value in blogs and articles? Yes, consumers are more visually-minded than ever before, but there’s a lot of opportunity for brands that take on the role of publisher too. Last month, for example, Marriott International launched its online publication “Marriott Traveler.” Their goal is to produce travel content that is “unexpected, informative and definitely not found in travel guides.” All of the articles featured are snackable and showcase unique images or videos. That’s the way to do it; that’s how to engage the image-centric consumer of today.
Brands in nearly any industry can transform themselves into effective publishers by simply paying attention to what their visual audience needs. Here are several that are well on their way to publishing like the pros.
Tory Burch: Indulge Fans with Bite-Sized Content
Fashion retailer Tory Burch uses an image-driven layout for the “Tory Daily” lifestyle blog, making it incredibly easy for fans to spot the content that interests them. Some of the posts simply consist of an image, while others include short pieces of text as well. Much like a glossy magazine, the blog covers topics that speak to the brand’s target audience, including “style,” “beauty,” “culture,” “travel,” “entertainment” and “music.” Unlike a traditional publication, however, the Tory Burch team understands that to keep their fans interested, they need to feature relevant imagery while keeping the text concise. It leaves the consumer wanting more, which is what brands should aim to do.
GE: Use Imagery to Demystify Dense Topics
GE is the epitome of a brand mastering the art of publishing. With several blogs (“Edison’s Desk,” “GE Reports”) and an incredibly colorful Tumblr in play, the brand just gets it. They count on images and videos to help complicated STEM topics become more digestible to the everyday reader – and it really works! Without much knowledge of neural probes, anyone could walk away from a GE piece on the subject with a key understanding of this technology and, therefore, a much stronger affinity for the brand.
Adobe: Tap Creative Minds on Visual Platforms
Adobe is in the business of helping creative minds produce good work. It’s only natural that the brand would rely on visual platforms to reach their consumers. The brand’s “Adobe Youth Voices” Pinterest board is a great example of that. The goal here is to promote ideas that will help young creatives reach their potential. The content pinned from the Adobe blog is vibrant, which catches the eye, and is overlaid with tips on how to start successful design careers.
Upon clicking on a pin, the user is directed to a more in-depth piece of content that explains steps aspiring creatives need to take toward nailing their dream jobs. It doesn’t require more than two minutes to consume, which again, caters perfectly to the visually-minded audience Adobe is trying to reach.
Lowe’s: Drive Traffic with Image-Centric How-To’s
The popularity of Pinterest and other visual networks has given rise to a new wave of DIYers. Lowe’s has found a way to benefit from that with its digital magazine, “Creative Ideas.” The brand uses this channel to show how consumers can use their products to do anything from planting a garden to making over a bathroom.
The Lowe’s Instagram feed is full of images from its “Creative Ideas” magazine, and they’re making the platform work extremely well from a publishing perspective. As we’ve noted in the past, it can be frustrating for users who spot interesting content on a publisher’s Instagram feed only to have to scour the publisher’s site for more details. Lowe’s has overcome this hurdle with the inclusion of Curalate’s Like2Buy, which transports Instagram users from the platform to a specific browser page in just two taps.
Empower Your Content Strategy
When fans see interesting, unique pieces from their favorite brands, they will do more than just “like” and comment. They’ll be more inclined to share the content among their circles, extending its reach. The consumption of quality content allows consumers to see beyond products and provides them with a holistic view of how a brand fits into their lifestyle. Now, it’s up to you to provide it.