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An Analog Approach to Content Marketing: The Value of Visual Thinking

Jan 25, 2016
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analog_apporach_to_content_marketing.jpg“In the digital age, don’t forget your digits.” – Lynda Barry

Content is the backbone of any good online marketing strategy. Creating content that not only clearly shares your message, but also connects with your audience takes time and effort. For me, this meant hours staring at a computer screen waiting for ideas to come. It wasn’t until I stepped away from the screen and began to use analog tools, like markers and a sketch pad, that my content started to come to life.

I stumbled on the approach by accident a few months ago. I was producing a ton of content for my website and felt like I was in a rut. I had a content schedule and a list of ideas to write about, but when I went to create content, nothing came. So I picked up the sketch pad on my desk and started drawing. I needed to break from the screen and thought drawing would help me disconnect. A funny thing happened. Ideas started coming together and before I knew it, I was creating better content than ever before.

Why Stepping Away From the Screen Works:

“The computer is really good for editing your ideas, and it’s really good for getting your ideas ready for publishing out to the world, but it’s not really good for generating ideas. There are too many opportunities to hit the delete key.” – Austin Kleon “Steal Like An Artist"

It wasn’t until I read this line in “Steal Like An Artist” did my new approach to content start to really make sense. By stepping back and just letting ideas flow on paper, I was able to feel my way through ideas. Drawing sketches and other elements also helped me to visualize the thought before I had the right words to express what I wanted to say. The best part of using visual thinking is that it forces you to explore your thoughts further than you would if you were just using words. The reason is, we are visual creatures. Our ability to connect with and comprehend images is much greater than our ability to do the same with just text.

How To Do Visual Thinking

If you’re still reading this, you may be thinking, “OK, sounds nice but I can’t draw.”  I get it. But this process and the visuals you create aren't for anyone but you. So relax. Your thoughts don’t have to become artistic masterpieces, they just need to be put down on paper. “People interpret simple stick figures far more easily than abstract concepts expressed in text.” (Business Model Generation) The key is to step back from your computer and only use non-digital tools. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Post It Notes: Draw simple pictures or write one word per a note and organize your thoughts on a wall. Rearrange as much as needed and add more notes as ideas begin to the flow.
  • Sketches: Think of a topic and then draw sticks figures and symbols on a piece of paper that represent your thoughts. Then add action words around the images to help them come to life.
  • Diagrams: This is what I use the most. Decide what type of diagram will help you visualize best and get to work. Below is a one of the diagrams I used to create a recent post. Everything goes! Even bad ideas can turn into great ideas once they are hashed out.

visual_guide_to_content_marketing.jpg

 

While I “discovered” this content creation method by mistake, after reading on the power of visual thinking I realized the science behind it. It’s easy to sucked into our word processors and just start typing. But, by stepping back and using your “digits” to help you create digital content, you will be able to explore your thoughts on a new level and create better content for your blog, website, social media campaigns and more.

Now it's your turn. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts by commenting below!

 

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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