How Businesses Can Use Highly Visual Online Brochures and Magazines to Convert
"There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for." ~ Milton Glaser
How effective is your blog and website content at communicating with your target audience? How often does it illicit a "Wow!" response?
Milton Glaser has had a massive impact on the disciplines of illustration and corporate design. The well-known graphic designer best known for creating the I ♥ New York logo, the DC Comics bullet logo, and an iconic Bob Dylan poster.
While his summary of the possible impacts a piece of design or content might have is simplistic, it continues to stand the test of application regardless of medium or marketing technique. Whether we're talking about a blog post, article, email or video, the basic responses from our audience remain: yes, no, and WOW!
The question then becomes, how do we go about raising the quality and impact of our design and content so that whomever sees it says, "WOW!"?
The Rise of Visual Communication
This desired response is one of the reasons visual communication - the use of video, graphics and graphical collections - is on the rise.
Just look at how Facebook has evolved in recent years. The social giant has gone from simply allowing YouTube videos to be played within the stream, to being able to upload native video, to being able to live stream video from any mobile or desktop device.
Mark Zuckerberg and his team realized some time ago that video consumption is increasing and that both platforms and businesses need to be creators of highly visual content to remain relevant.
Whether video or imagery, the result is the same. Audiences prefer the visual appeal and ease of rapid understanding that comes with being able to view a video or graphic.
And because of that preference, and the visual nature of video and imagery, it's easier to "WOW!" an audience than it is with text.
But there's another issue that plagues traditional businesses hoping to utilize content marketing.
The Disorganization of Blog Content
Typical blog posts consist of a featured image at the top (like this article has), followed predominantly by text, with a few images and perhaps a video embedded. A typical blog then lists those blog posts in reverse chronological order.
If it's reasonable to expect that your target audience would be interested in reading your blog posts one at a time, going backwards as you wrote them, then you've got nothing to worry about. Visitors to your blog will proceed through your content and soak up whatever you happened to write about in each instance.
But if we're being honest with ourselves, most people aren't interested in consuming content that way. Most people are interested in learning about a specific topic. They might have seen a specific article that you wrote and be interested in reading more on the topic, or they might have come into your blog specifically looking for whatever you might have written on the subject.
Either way, the normal reverse chronological organization - even within specific categories or tags - is a poor solution.
Solo Build It! members are taught from the beginning how important it is when creating content to have a Site Blueprint - a deliberate way in which you want to organize your site's pages that will make sense to a visitor, no matter how they enter.
Bloggers and traditional businesses, however, who may be creating content on the fly to address trending topics or perceived needs, may need a different approach. They need to be able to collect and organize their content in a way that's more flexible - and one that highlights the need to be highly visual that we discussed a moment ago.
The Beauty of Online Brochures
That's where online brochures and magazines come in.
What if you could offer your readers and potential prospects a way to consume some of your best content that is both carefully organized & curated, as well as gorgeous?
One of the things that I really liked about Flipsnack was that I could build a beautiful, highly visual online brochure from scratch, or, I could upload one or more PDF files and let Flipsnack whip it into shape for me!
This is particularly useful if you're composing blog content within Google Docs where you can easily insert page breaks, imagery, and then download as a PDF.
As an example, I have an article that walks you through how to go through each of your social profiles and clean them up - make sure your images and bios are up-to-date, the content's fresh, and so on. Since I've previously made it available as a downloadable PDF, I already had it in a Google Doc ready to save as a PDF.
In Flipsnack, after signing up for a free account, I clicked on the Create New button and simply dragged my article PDF over from my desktop into the digital magazine creator.
I used the Images tab in the left sidebar to upload a tall graphic for the article that I'd previously created for Pinterest pins and inserted that as a cover page, and that's it! I clicked on Save & Publish and instantly had a beautiful online brochure that I can share with my audience, as well as embed into my website like this:
All of the links and embedded images are completely intact, so you can use this to create attractive versions of entire articles, or collections of images and snippets of text from articles that link to the full text on your site - whatever best suits you and your audience.
The bottom line here is, while beautiful visual communication is more important than ever, bloggers and businesses don't necessarily need to scramble to create new content. If you're already creating blog posts and other kinds of content, you can leverage that by repurposing that content into new collections and digital formats.
I encourage you to experiment and play with the Flipsnack interface - there are lots of options to explore that I didn't get into that might help you in other areas of your business and marketing, including catalogues and actual business brochures and more.
I leave you with a final quote from the Master, Glaser: "To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master."
With highly visual mediums like online brochures and magazines, and tools like Flipsnack, you'll be communicating more clearly than ever.
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By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, award-winning Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."Follow @Mike_Allton