Tips for using graphics to show process, like the 7 steps needed to create a content marketing strategy.
Visit the Content Marketing Institute’s article, Build a Successful Content Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps and download the white paper.
Why you need graphics in your blogs and white papers
Words, alone, cannot do what graphics, like the above, can do. Here are some of the things you can learn from the Content Marketing Institute’s graphic:
- Introduction. At a glance, the graphic introduces you to the 7 building blocks, or steps, in the Content Marketing Institute’s Framework for content marketing success.
- Order. The graphic also provides order by emphasizing the sequence of the actions associated with each of the 7 building blocks.
- Importance. Each of the building block is drawn to the same size. This communicates that all of the building blocks are equally important.
- Interdependence. Notice that the 7 building blocks are represented as links in a chain. This emphasizes that a success content marketing framework requires the presence of all 7 building blocks.
- Continuous. The smaller gray arrows around the edge of the 7 building blocks communicates the idea of a cycle of continuous improvement that is characteristic of successful content marketing strategies.
Story-telling with position and alignment
Notice that the 7 building blocks do not appear in a straight line, i.e., centered on the same horizon. Nor do they appear with arrows between each building block.
Instead, there are slight variations in the vertical position of each building block. This is because the authors, Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, wanted to emphasize that the Framework was not a linear process, or a template.
Rather, the authors wanted display what might be missing from your content marketing framework, or what might need to be increased, in order to achieve greater success.
Branding and message retention
As you’ll see when you blog post, the colors of the used in the graphic are consistent with the colors used throughout the Content Marketing Institute blog, website, and the Framework white paper.
There are other design subtleties that you might want to note, and bear in mind for your future blog posts and white papers. For example:
- Blog post version. The graphic contains a title and Content Marketing Institute logo when it appears in the blog, where readers are likely to encounter it for the first time.
- White paper version. But, the title and logo are omitted when the graphic is used by itself on page 2 of the white paper where it’s introduced by and explained by the adjacent text.
In either case, the graphic is simple enough to be understood at a glance, yet strong enough to serve as a memory anchor helping readers’ remember the key points used in the white paper.
Storytelling with custom graphics
Stock images, photographs and illustrations showing generic office, geographic, or business-related themes are common in blog posts and white papers. Used properly, they can provide a context for the messages they accompany. They’re easy to search for and cost-efficient to obtain.
However, for pure storytelling power, when you want to create an iconic visual that you can use over and over again to drive home your message, nothing can beat custom-created graphics like the Content Marketing Institute’s 7-Step Framework shown above.
Each element of the graphic can be fine-tuned to reflect the nuances of your message so your graphic will not only provide a quick, “understand-at-a-glance” introduction to your topic, as well as serve as a “memory booster” reinforcing your reader’s ability to remember and act on your message.
Share your favorite examples of storytelling graphics used to communicate complex messages at a glance! I’d like to know what you think about custom graphics versus stock art, and where you find the best examples. Share your comments and questions about graphics below. Reminder. You’re invited to attend my April End-of-month Book Coaching Call on Tuesday, April 30, at 4:00 PM EST. All Published & Profitable friends are invited.