Content without creative design is like me without coffee

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I need coffee.

Seriously, this is important.

I need a coffee before anything else. Before conversation, before driving and definitely before emailing. Preferably a double-espresso that packs a punch and turns me into a coherent, vibrant and much more likeable version of myself.

B2B content marketing without creative design is like my brain without coffee. The good stuff might be sitting there, but it needs a bit of ‘wow’ to make it accessible and stand out from the crowd.

We all know that when it comes to marketing content is king. But in our rush to publish great, valuable, engaging content it is easy to forget that it is not just about words, it’s about visuals as well.

Take these wise words from Joseph Kalinowsk, Creative Director of the Content Marketing Institute. 

“Having a weak or unappealing design could cause your content to be totally skipped and lost in the feed.” 

You spend a lot of time creating your content, it would be terrible for it to be skipped over just because visually it looks a bit… blah.

Need more convincing that creative design is essential to content marketing success? How about this…

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Coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%. (Source)

 And this…

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Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. (Source)

Creative design impacts every piece you create. It spans everything from infographics, to videos, images and the layout of your website, blog and long-form assets such as whitepapers and ebooks. If you can see it and it has your logo on it, you need to consider its design.

So what makes good creative design?

Relevance

Just like written content, your imagery needs to be relevant to your audience and support your key message. Cat memes get a lot of reach, but probably not with the audience you’re after.

Branding

Keep within your visual identity guidelines. Brand recognition is incredibly important. You want your audience to know who they’re engaging with and provide them with a consistent customer experience. 

Simplicity

Good design doesn’t need to shout, its purpose is to make your written content more accessible. Make it scannable. Audiences should be able to see at a glance the benefits and value you are offering. 

Engagement

If all the elements above are met, your creative design should be engaging, it should attract, hold and convert your audience. 

Is producing engaging, creative visuals hard? Well, no. Especially not after a coffee.

Like anything there are tools and tricks you can use to make your creative processes easier. 

  1. Have a stellar brand guide.

    This will show clearly the visual personality of your brand and what is/isn’t acceptable in terms of colour, font and imagery.
     
  2. Create a library of images and icons

    Have a library at hand can save masses of time and frustration when you’re ready to publish but are looking for that one hero image.
     
  3. Template

    Don’t be afraid to template. Especially for longform content such as ebooks. You can tweak it as you go, but for consistency’s sake there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
  4. Be brave

    Don’t be afraid to use bold colours and fonts, within the boundaries of your brand guidelines of course. Clear slabs of colour can stand out in the people’s cluttered social media feeds.