Photo Tours as Part of A Content Marketing Strategy (Part 2)

Part One of “Photo Tours as Part of A Content Marketing Strategy” focused on the rise of content marketing, content quality, and the evolving value of photos. Now we’re going to dig more into photo tours and how they can be rich, compelling content for your audience.

What Does Your Audience Want to See?

A recent article on content marketing success by David Murdico made some great points that should serve as the first step in developing what your audience will consider compelling content.

Murdico suggests that you “decide what content is most important to your target buyer.” Think about it. The audience doesn’t always want to see what you want to see. They have specific needs, and they need details.

Recently viewing an office and conference space, it was clear that the web site focused on all of the cool furnishings and cutting edge decor in a line of static images.

This material was all of secondary importance, however. They did not detail what their high tech business customers probably most wanted to see: What connectivity is available? Where? What are the conferencing capabilities? How many HDMI ports does that monitor have?

The real material that your audience wants may not be what you think.

Detail in Interactive Photo Tours

Web designers, marketers, nonprofits, and small business people can now share much more detail about aspects of an image or scene. This is what the Whitepoint framework is for.

Greater detail in photos is possible - photo tours of this vintage Corvette would tell the story..

This vintage Corvette’s dashboard is sweet. But only a hardcore Corvette fan would know that this early model includes air conditioning, fiber optics, and headlight washers. And, that’s a Black Keys CD by the way.

The smartphone photo you see here is of a vintage Corvette’s dashboard. For many, it’s a cool dashboard, and that’s enough.

But, what if you’re wanting to sell this Corvette? You have a different challenge.

You need to highlight – in an interactive fashion – the details about all the options that this Corvette includes: Air conditioning, fiber optics, a five port washer pump (not just the three port). And, someone installed a newer stereo in it. But, what kind is it? And, what kind of speakers are attached to it?

These are the details that a buyer craves. And, you can set your self apart from the competition by providing them in an interactive photo tour. Imagine documenting the entire car. The Whitepoint framework is perfect for this.

Just look how buried the details are in the paragraph above. Web users are looking for more compelling content that’s fun (and that means interactive). Photo tours can take care of both of these needs.

Telling The Story

Jessica Ann, in an article for SteamFeed on telling your story with impact, says the focus is on content creation – not just buying more technology for your marketing. This is true.

Sure, you’re going to need the tools to deliver that message, and there are associated costs. But, photo tours are opportunities to stuff a lot of valuable content into small packages. And, those small packages can generate online conversations as well as attract new customers.

With Whitepoint, for example, there are SEO (search engine optimization) benefits to the content you create. Building photo tours, online galleries, or slideshows with Whitepoint results in content that is searchable and indexable by search engines. That helps attract those new customers. And, you can do it for free.

Engage

Some would even argue that SEO is the core purpose for a strong content marketing strategy. Regardless, the key is providing quality, engaging content.

Interactive photo tours are perfect for schools, museums, universities, public parks, real estate, medical offices, and retail spaces. Imagine all of the details to be shared with visitors and potential customers. What do they want to see? What interesting facts or history will make the subject more intimate for your audience?

Answer those questions. Soon, you won’t just be throwing content at your audience. You will engage your audience.

Matthew White

Matthew White blogs on all things related to virtual tours, mobile touring, and tour apps as well as how they relate to web design, SEO, and content marketing. There is also of course helpful information on using Whitepoint - the framework for smarter virtual touring and mobile-friendly tours.

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Photo Tours as Part of a Content Marketing Strategy (Part 1)

Content marketing is rapidly taking the place of traditional strategies for marketing and PR.

Frank Gehry's New York is not only a compelling sight, it makes for a compelling image.

Made you look. This photo of Frank Gehry’s New York is a compelling image. But, it was merely taken on a trip to New York with an old Canon digital camera.

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.

Content marketing is changing the rules of marketing and PR.

A real life David Meerman Scott book really sitting on this blogger’s desk. Photo taken with a smartphone.

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.

Matthew White

Matthew White blogs on all things related to virtual tours, mobile touring, and tour apps as well as how they relate to web design, SEO, and content marketing. There is also of course helpful information on using Whitepoint - the framework for smarter virtual touring and mobile-friendly tours.

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