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The Color of Content


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The Colors of Content Marketing

You never really know what you are going to end up with on a remodeling project. Once you open up the walls and ceilings (can of worms), a completely new set of problems have a way of presenting themselves. And once that ordeal is over one of the most difficult decisions is envisioning the paint on the walls. Is the light going to reflect or absorb? Flat, Satin or Gloss?

Almost everyone I know has re-re-painted because the color “looked perfect on the chip and all wrong on the walls.” Paint Manufacturer’s solution = provide an online color tool to assist consumers with a decision.

This may be one of the most obvious examples of content driving a sale. Even general contractors use pantone swatches on the job but at home while drawing up estimates they use online color tools. Homeowners still collect swatches like baseball cards but more and more decisions are being based off online color tools. Content that helps customers make a choice between product x or y — or in this case yellow narcissus vs. cozy cottage is what the new content revolution is all about.

The Pro Tool:

Pantone.com – Since 1963, Pantone has established itself as the standard for innovative system of identifying, matching, and communicating colors to solve the problems associated with producing accurate color matches. This tool is a grid-based tool fashioned for the graphic design crowd who know need to calibrate printers, compare cotton swatches and determine paint colors down to specific pantone numbers.

Homeowner Tool:

Behr.com – The Behr Color Smart tool allows homeowners to start their color tour by Pantone number, browsing all colors or through use of their pre-selected inspiration images. This tool assists the color-overwhelmed with custom color pairings selected by designers. The Color Smart tool also allows users to upload their own home photos where they can be “painted” by the tool. Very cool.

Aside tips:

Once you decide on your colors keep in mind that Home Depot utilizes a 4 color paint system and will have more colors available than Lowes, who uses a 3 color system.

If a company sells calculators or lawn fertilizer or there are just as effective opportunities to present content drivers en route to a sale as color matching tool: Success stories, Video Podcasts, micro-sites and other customer reference collateral all serve the same purpose. Keep your customers engaged, and informed they will come back wearing your favorite color – green.

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Being in the content creation business means the Fed-Ex and UPS trucks pull up every other day with an armload of books. Three months ago, with our shelves at the breaking point, we delivered an entire pickup truck of mostly new books to The Salvation Army. Last week we found our office shelves full again, so we took inventory and then we took action.

With all the books, magazines and catalogs that arrive, we have trained ourselves to be expert snapshot readers, page glancers ,and generally proficient at ‘judging a book by it’s cover.’ With so many different types of media and so much great information available, we have to filter our time, (and eyes) in order to focus on information that is relevant, informative, and well written. Sometimes that’s a decision based on experience and sometimes on just a first glance.

The Design Makes a Difference

On the web, a great article printed in Helvetica Light 10 does not make for good reading, doesn’t alias well, and is going to stop me from getting any farther than sentence four. On the other hand, a poorly designed book cover can be the difference between 50 sales and 50,000 — or a book review vs. a last minute dusting and gifting.

There are books like “Made to Stick“, with great cover art that draws you into the content. And there are others like “Something, Something or Something”[sic] sans a visually engaging cover, which once opened reveals a bright-white background (tiring my eyes) and uber-cramped leading. Great content that goes unread sadly becomes kindling, or hopefully new paper. I read Made to Stick cover to cover, I thumbed through the other book (featured on many content marketing sites), and time will tell if I pick it back up.

With all the talk about content driving sales and corporations being more cognizant of the role of content, content producers, managers, and marketers should put more emphasis on the relationship between the writer and the graphic designer.

A Few Tips for Filtering Your Media

Catalogs — you get too many, we do too. A good article here about Catalog Choice

Magazines — find another business or friend to exchange magazine subscriptions. Put an ad listing on Craigslist in the arts section, many artists use glossy magazines for collage.

Books — Donate to your local library.

Please go to our live site: www.eatmedia.net/blog 

There are only a few magazines that keep my interest from cover to cover: Esquire, Dwell, NY Times Magazine, and a bunch of indies that we will discuss another day. The reason I am engaged from page 1 to page whatever is the content and the manner in which the content presented — Esquire especially. For those of you involved in print and the web, here is an interesting article in NY Times last week about Business Week becoming more “weblike”…more

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In business, overcommitting is like driving an Ferrari with the parking brake on. You feel, and sound, like you are humming along but in reality you are dragging the proverbial ass. Don’t let your marketing copy, success stories, case studies, and other corporate collateral be something you do in between meetings. Instead, make a smaller list. Prioritize. Delegate. Outsource.

Great advice from bestselling author Tim Ferriss of fourhourworkweek fame — which it just so happens we created.

“One of the most important things is determining this: which activity is the one activity, if completed, would leave you satisfied with your output for the day?” …more

More great advice from David Scott Merrman, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly

“A journalist skillfully creates interesting stories about how an organization solves customer problems and then delivers those stories in the form of ebooks, white papers, content rich web pages, podcasts, and video…more

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I had to endure a week of translating 8 hours of Marketing Speak into a coherent article this week and just about lost my mind in the process. It got me thinking about how the success of many organizations has relied on the daring, and sometimes eccentric, saying or doing what flew in the face of convention and how most just try not to ripple the water.

There is certainly the time and place to be innocuous and blend in, but not with content. Being brainwashed by terms like ‘Best of Breed’,and ‘Best Practices’, I wanted to share some Best Sites, that I like the best.

Best Stuff – speaks to a young audience but presents content in an unusual manner. t I found myself clicking through a dozen or so best stuffs before getting bored. It struck me as a more visual version of tags but it does have corporate communication potential.

Best Buy -a primo electronics retailer (with the exception of their music department) but their website is all about product. SALE, 30% OFF, GIFT, all smack me in the face when I reach the home pate, and not being a big fan of gradients, I got little antsy browsing. There is some UGC but it is buried and doesn’t have many reviewers.

Best Western – having stayed a few Best Western hotels in my day I can say the following things: there was a bed, they had coffee in morning and not any major problems to report. The majority of their website is marketing copy but about 10 clicks in is a little section called “The Travel Mom” featuring Emily Kaufman. In this section attractions local to Best Western locations are highlighted and I begin to feel like Best Western is showing me around town.

Next we will focus on the content brave.

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There is a place for User Generated Content (USG) – Epinions is a great example and Amazon is another. The echo of “write what you know” rings true on both of these sites and provides useful content assisting buyer on their way to the checkout basket. Then there are the content farms, more concerned with rising to the top of an SEO search, than promoting your brand. A quick search for “content writer” in Google resulted in 293,000 results. The top return was a company asking you this:

“Have you ever wondered as [sic] what is the importance of writing articles to your websites? You must have come across many article sites specially designed to post the articles you have written. Why are such websites designed and what is their importance? Just go through this article and you would be in a better position to answer all the above questions.”

Not the sort of corporate editorial you want promote your brand, especially if it can land your company at the top of search engine results. Dig around the Internet and you will find companies paying “writers” $5-7 dollars for 500-word articles.

Click here for a story published today by the Guardian covering low-quality articles produced by word farms. In addition, remember that SEO is an important part of your business and content management should consider SEO, but not at the expense of your brand and message.