Content marketing is rapidly taking the place of traditional strategies for marketing and PR.
And, content doesn’t just mean text.
Every blogger – including this one – would like to think that web audiences are hanging on every word. In reality, they’re paying less and less attention to the words.
Marketing now hinges on the content being generated – including images, videos, and microblogging.
Altogether, it becomes difficult to discern product marketing from content marketing.
Compelling Content Marketing
Read any of David Meerman Scott‘s books, and you’ll be reminded that images are just as, if not more, important than text. In fact, an article – Photographs as Compelling Content Marketing – from a few years ago on his blog drives the point home well.
Interestingly, since that blog article, the quality of the photos looks to matter less and less. Instagram and Pinterest bathe the user in streams of pictures. Users scan them for stuff that they care about – not to check white balance.
Still, everyone wants their product or place to be presented in the best possible fashion, and it should be. It is important to remember though that users are increasingly suspicious of stock photography.
And, even contracted photography that looks a little too polished can yield the same user response.
“Authentic” Versus “Professional”
Where’s the happy medium? In content marketing, it’s probably best to consider how authentic the photo is rather than how professional.
Think about the way that you as a consumer discern between photos taken for an eBay listing, for example. Wouldn’t you rather see the item itself rather than an image taken from another web site? What about when you’re looking for a place to stay on vacation? Somehow, you will likely trust an image taken by a fellow traveler than one that has carefully caught birds flying over the resort’s beach and into the sunset.
That doesn’t mean an authentic photo has to look crappy. It just means that you should focus on authentic photos taken competently. You don’t have to hire an Ansel Adams clone.
What You Do With the Images
The image lists of old no longer do the trick. Way back in the day, if an image list included thumbnails, it was really considered cutting edge.
Surprisingly, many marketers and small business owners are today still taking a similar approach. But, with the rise of content marketing, this does not meet user expectations. In reality, you’ve now got seconds to capture that user’s attention. If that much. A list of links that might include a thumbnail just won’t cut it.
And, we’re already seeing that just having photos isn’t enough. They of course have to be relevant, but we’re seeing that users want to interact with them somehow. Think tagging. Photos, more and more, have to do something. And, they’re going to need to do that thing they do on a mobile device.
In Part 2 of “Photo Tours and Content Marketing,” we’ll look at how photo tours, online galleries, and slideshows can be more compelling as part of a content marketing effort.by