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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How to Make a Slideshow for Mobile Devices

We talk a great deal on this blog about mobile tours and mobile-friendly virtual tours. However, building a slideshow is still one of the most basic needs for web developers and content producers.  In an earlier post, we discussed how to make a slideshow for artist or creative portfolios. Here, let’s look at even more general slideshow capability.

Slideshow Flexibility

How to make a slideshow for a student using an iPad

More content is being consumed on mobile. Here’s how to make a slideshow that meets those new demands. Image copyright: mettus / 123RF Stock Photo.

A simple example of a slideshow is a group of photos that users can navigate. For example, the photos could be of a hotel or conference center. A traveler blogger might want to share the unique sights of a boutique, without a lot of additional details. The hotel or conference center owner might want to provide a simple way for visitors to quickly view images of what the space looks like.

In addition, both may want to provide this information in some kind of logical format, or to have greater control over updating the images frequently.

Slideshows and Mobile Devices

Opening a slideshow from the web in a mobile browser can be an unpredictable experience. For marketers especially, this has complicated the whole idea of delivering a slideshow. Additionally, making images easily accessible on a web site while making the content mobile-friendly requires something other than what the big three (four or five?) social media tools provide.

For example, if you want to upload pictures and make those pictures simultaneously available via public links on your web site as well as to mobile device users, that can be problematic and may require multiple, separate uploads of the same images. That’s painful.

How To Make a Slideshow Easily Using Whitepoint

The Whitepoint framework provides a lot of capabilities that go beyond the basic slideshow. That’s good, because you can grow into it later if you want to simply start with a basic slideshow for now.

For our purposes here, the slides in a slideshow are what we refer to as scenes in Whitepoint. The slideshow itself is what we refer to as a scape.

Basically, when using Whitepoint, you’re uploading photos and naming those photos. You can get fancier – much fancier – later if you want.

How to Make a Slideshow in Whitepoint Authoring

How to make a slideshow in the Whitepoint Authoring Panel: Scenes can be re-ordered with drag and drop.

  • Scenes (slides) can be easily re-ordered using the scene tile layout in Whitepoint’s Authoring Panel. Just drag and drop them.
  • Scenes (slides) can be easily updated at any time – just go to that scene and update the photo.
  • You can link to the slideshow from your web site. A simple code snippet that Whitepoint provides is all that is required.
  • Once the scape (slideshow) is live, your updates push immediately to the free Whitepoint mobile app for Android or iOS. All interested users need to do is download the free app to access it.
  • If the web site link to the scape is provided, updated content pushes immediately to both the app and desktop-based viewer.
  • If a mobile user tries to access the scape via your web site, they will be prompted to download the app if they don’t have it already. They download it once and can access other scapes this way . . . this helps drive new users to your slideshow as well.

A Few Final Tips on How to Make a Slideshow

You’ll want a good overview image to introduce your Whitepoint slideshow – we call this a scape image. It is the image that represents your scape and draws attention to it among lists of other scapes.

You’ll also want a basic introductory sentence or two – a summary for your scape.

Finally, each scene (slide) will need a name.

That’s it – you can be up and running in no time with a very effective slideshow using Whitepoint and accessible from your existing web site.

Get started building your slideshow with Whitepoint today. There are YouTube tutorials on authoring and an easy breakdown of features in our subscription plans with quick subscription setup.

Happy #whitepointing.

Updated July 28, 2016.

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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