How to Design Attention-Grabbing Infographics

A good infographic can be like a syringe, injecting an idea, message or product directly into the mind of your audience. But if you don’t have a background in design, your infographics may stray into a vague, murky mess. These tips can help you create an effective infographic that will not only communicate your ideas but also keep your audience focused and engaged.

Importance of infographics

Visuals keep us engaged. Don’t believe us? Start by viewing this infographic from NeoMan Studios about how our brains react to infographics. It says 50 percent of our brains are involved with visual processing and we can get a sense of an image in less than a tenth of a second. Also, we comprehend visual-based directions up to 323 percent better than text-based directions.

As a business owner, this means you can directly engage with your consumer or client base. You can communicate with your employees and advertise your products with visual aspects that will relay your message quickly and cause you to be remembered by your target audience.

Best design practices

If you have a good idea for a fresh, effective infographic for your business, it can be difficult to understand where to begin. But armed with a little knowledge, you can do it yourself. 

Keep it simple

The KISS method (keep it simple, stupid) definitely applies to infographics. It’s a medium – it should be viewed as something used to communicate an idea; it is not the focal point of your project. Treat your infographics with simplicity. Otherwise, you may drown your audience in excessive amounts of data.

Jasmine Bou-Nassif, a designer for Stark/Raving Branding + Advertising, said that when she creates infographics, she makes sure to keep things simple by sticking to a few bedrock design concepts. “The key to creating a great infographic is to have a clear system,” she said. “Always identify your audience and break down what you are trying to explain.”

Create a narrative

Effective infographics follow a logical progression that is like a story. A narrative can draw a reader in and keep them engaged. Daniel Davidson, founder of Dan Design Co. said that an audience wants an infographic to be a guide from point A to point B. “You can put in the hours, recruit the best designer, have the best data that no one else has, but if you don’t communicate your message clearly, your infographic is going to be a bust,” Davidson said. “Jumping around between data points, tips and other isolated pieces of content leaves the viewer with a jumbled mess they’re not sure how to fit together. A great infographic just clicks for the viewer.”

A major point of creating an infographic that “just clicks” is guiding the viewer to a conclusion. Brad Shaw, president and CEO of Dallas Web Design Inc. said that keeping this narrative moving is also essential. “Forget cramming a ton of data, focus on creating a visual story. All stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Infographics should as well,” Shaw said. “At the beginning of the infographic, present the problem, then back it up with data or stats, end with a clear, simple conclusion.”

Make it interactive

Another way to keep readers focused and engaged is by creating one that requires interaction from the viewer. This rule is for online infographics only. Creating interaction could mean revealing certain information, prompting the reader to click through to another page or prompting the reader to use their mouse to “erase” an object and find information.

Note: Making your infographic interactive can prove difficult if you have no design experience and no experience using Adobe Creative Suite. In this instance, it may be a good idea to hire someone to help you build your infographic. If that isn’t an option, there are several online resources listed below.

For Bou-Nassif, creating an interactive infographic requires planning and attention to detail. “If creating an interactive infographic, leave enough time to create all of the links and buttons. Map out what each button or link should do before making it interactive. I like to use InDesign to make an interactive PDF. I start by laying everything out then I add in the interactivity.” 

Resources for nondesigners

If you have no design experience, can’t hire a designer and need to create an infographic, here is a list of online resources that you can use to construct an infographic. A lot of them are easy-to-use online design programs that feature templates to work from.


Infogram offers users a simple platform to design and create not only infographics but other charts and even interactive maps. This platform also offers easy ways to share or embed your project once it is finished. It has free as well as several premium options based on your business’s needs. The cost ranges from $19 per month to $119 per month depending on the plan.


Piktochart offers infographic, presentation and printable creations on its website. After choosing a template, users can customize data and tailor an infographic to fit their specific needs. Piktochart is available for free with two premium options. Users need to purchase the Pro plan, for $29 per month, to remove the Piktochart watermark on their projects.


Canva is a design tool that’s fully template based. In addition to infographics, you can create resumes, presentations and flyers as well. Canva’s interface is all based around dragging and dropping items, making it easy to visualize and create infographics without the hassle of advanced design knowledge. If you are interested in learning more about design, Canva offers a Design School tab on its website. Canva is also a free service, with business plans for $12.95 per month.


Visme is an online design service that offers data widgets specifically for designing infographics. This provides an easy, visual way to input data into different designs. There are a few Visme pricing plans, ranging from free to $60 per month.

Bottom line

Infographics are a vital tool for any business looking to connect and engage with an audience, whether it be customers, colleagues or clients. If you’re building an infographic, remember to keep it simple, follow a narrative, use effective data and make it interactive (if possible). For those without design experience, there are a bunch of online template-based programs that work well to create an effective infographic.

10 Brands Making Instagram Stories the Right Way

Instagram Stories have only existed for about a year, but they’re fast becoming the video feed medium of choice, edging out Snapchat among certain demographics.

With Instagram Stories the images and videos only last for 24 hours after posting and don’t appear in your main feed. It’s a fun social format that more and more brands experimenting with, especially because of their temporary nature and high levels of engagement. These brands are learning that Instagram Stories can be a great way to test messaging and  connect with many users at once.

Here are 10 brands and influencers using Instagram Stories effectively to reach their audience, along with some key takeaways to help you build your own Insta-Stories strategy.

1. New Belgium Brewing

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New Belgium Brewing uses Stories to do more than advertise its brand – it showcases an active, authentic lifestyle that resonates with its customers. The brand’s Stories display life in the New Belgium way with biking and outdoor adventures in locations near their breweries and other spots all over the world.

Takeaway: You don’t always have to “sell” a product. Instagram Stories can be about the people who are a part of your brand’s tribe on social media.

2. Sephora

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Sephora goes beyond selling products, using Instagram Stories to show shoppers how products work and look on an actual person. The short videos take users through a series of products, offering information, tips, and reviews. It’s engaging content for  that doesn’t need to be online for a long period of time.

Takeaway: Swipe to shop is a great technique for getting users to move from your Instagram Story to your website. Keep the video short so that users don’t tune out before the call to action.

3. The Bitter Southerner

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Instagram Stories are the only place on the social media platform where users can link to outside content, beyond the bio link. (You can’t do it with regular image posts unless they’re sponsored.) The Bitter Southerner, an online magazine, creates Stories that tease magazine content with a swipe for more. The link might go to an article or video, but each “teaser” feels like must-see content.

Takeaway: Drive traffic to your site by asking users a question. The best questions are usually ones that either stoke the imagination, or something followers would likely already know the answer to. The question above works because even if the user thinks they know the answer, they will still swipe to make sure they get it right.

4. Jenna Kinz

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This running blogger uses Stories to share tips for runners while also showing off some of the brands she represents as an an ambassador. While there’s a mix of video and still image collages, every visual is personalized with a usable tip and hashtag to promote engagement among her 26,000 followers. By creating engagement and user-friendly content, Jenna Kinz is able to take a social media fan base and usher them to her blog.

Takeaway: Instagram Stories allow you to use a series of images and videos. Mix up the type of media and include simple, relatable messages to create engagement.


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NASA uses Stories to educate users on things happening in the world of science. A recent Story took users on a tour of a space lab; it contained a mix of photos and videos and every image was themed, using text elements and colored blocks with the same format to create a sense of unity throughout the Story. This in-Story branding can be important because Instagram Stories from different brands will run right after each other in the app.

Takeaway: Brand your Instagram Stories with a theme for overlay elements such as text, emojis, or colors. String the same concept throughout each post so users will know where your Story ends and the next one begins.

6. Time

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Time uses Instagram Stories to tell compelling stories. The media house builds its Stories by using a big headline and multiple images or videos in a straightforward manner almost every day. Users know they can regularly refer to Time’s feed to find out their next topic for water-cooler talk.

Takeaway: Use Instagram Stories with regular frequency so users know to come to you for information. Sporadic posting will not help develop a following. Make sure each Story uses high-quality images and video; users won’t stick around for subpar images when there are so many other good options available.

7. Reese Witherspoon

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The actress uses Instagram Stories as a lifestyle brand, regularly sharing images and videos of clothing and fashion accessories (notably from her brand, Draper James), and moments of her day to day. The slice-of-life concept makes you feel like you’re following your friend Reese, rather than an indifferent celebrity.

Takeaway: Use Stories to provide users with a “backstage pass” to your brand, letting them feel like part of an exclusive group. Show moments that users would not otherwise see in your regular Instagram feed or on your other social channels.

8. The Onion

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Not every user is comfortable with the Stories feature on Instagram, so popular satire publication The Onion uses clear calls to action (“See More,” as in the image above) for each post to ensure users know they can swipe up to get additional details.

Takeaway: Build an obvious call to action into the Story design if you want users to swipe for more. You can do this easily by building a call to action into the image itself using a simple editing tool like Shutterstock Editor, or you can write it using the text tools in the app (in block letters or handwriting) to draw users’ attention to the swipe-for-more function.

9. Senita Athletics

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While many brands plan and produce some of the Stories they showcase on Instagram, a live broadcast can come across as a great way to “be real” with users — right now. Much like Facebook Live or Snapchat, Instagram allows live Stories that users can see, like, or comment on in real time. (Followers also get a notification when you start broadcasting so they don’t miss it.)

Takeaway: Go live! There’s nothing like seeing a streaming flow of comments, emojis, and likes on a video to encourage even more users to chime in. That communal aspect helps impart a sense of belonging to followers, while the live format lends a sense of immediacy and authenticity to the messages you’re sharing.

10. ZZ Ward

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How does a musician live on the road? ZZ Ward shares video snippets of her life — what she eats, what she wears, radio performances, and other snapshots — on Instagram Stories. It’s a great way to stay relevant among fans who can’t see her on tour and foster a sense of familiarity and loyalty among her fan base. The key to her Instagram Stories success, though, is that she keeps the snippets short — just enough to entertain users and tease an upcoming event without giving away too much information.

Takeaway: Short videos are a perfect medium with which to engage users. You can present them as is, or string them together with other short videos to reveal a bigger picture as the day wears on. Just remember — followers have just 24 hours to see your Story, so make sure your timing is right to maximize your message’s impact.

Make a better Instagram Story

You can do much more with Instagram Stories using Shutterstock Editor. Go beyond the standard text tools to create Story cards with beautiful images, shapes, emojis, and your own brand logo. Crop your image and create a template that you can save and use every morning when you’re making the day’s Story posting. Try Shutterstock Editor here.

Top Image by Ink Drop

The post 10 Brands Making Instagram Stories the Right Way appeared first on The Shutterstock Blog.

How to build a better marketing team

Illustration by Havana Nguyen

Work today doesn’t look like it did fifty years ago — or even ten years ago. Aside from the ways in which more powerful technology is affecting our work, more and more people are going freelance or working remote. The number of full-time remote workers is up 115% over the last ten years, and 43% of Americans said they worked from home at least part of the time in 2016. When it comes to freelancers, recent estimates put them at 35% of the U.S. workforce, with a strong upward trend over the last several years.

The ripple effect from these shifts will be felt far and wide, in a number of places and ways. But one specific thing they mean is that we don’t have to work the same way we used to.

Case in point: a number of startups I work with have shifted to having a hybrid marketing team, comprised of a mix of remote/in-office workers and freelancers/full-time employees. This type of team has a huge number of upsides — but there are some pitfalls to avoid, too.

First, let’s talk about what a hybrid marketing team even is:

The hybrid marketing team: a breakdown

For the purposes of this post, I’ll be using the Clubhouse team as an example. At Clubhouse, the marketing team consists of two internal employees and two remote freelancers:

  • Camille Acey, VP of Customer Success, who reviews and edits all blog posts and other content/copy before they go out the door, contributes content of her own, writes and schedules newsletters, and gives input on our marketing strategy from a customer-focused POV
  • Pavla Mikula, Customer Success Lead, who conducts customer interviews and sometimes writes content for the blog
  • Michele Rosenthal, who does all of our illustrations
  • And, of course, me — I do most of the content writing, along with editing/proofreading of work from others, occasionally copywriting, social media work, and co-creating a strong content strategy with the rest of the team

Camille and Pavla work on-site sometimes and remote other times, like the rest of the Clubhouse team. The two Michel(l)es are both contractors who work remotely.

A few other examples of hybrid team structures:

  • One editor/content marketing manager who is an employee and a team of freelance writers (good for a startup that’s jump-starting their content marketing strategy)
  • Internal content marketing manager, who oversees big-picture strategy but doesn’t do hands-on editing, with freelance editor(s) and writers (great for businesses that need to produce a lot of content, without having the content marketing manager be the bottleneck in the process)
  • In-house marketing manager and a freelance content marketing manager who also does most of the writing (well-suited for very small businesses or businesses who also have a strong “traditional” marketing component — paper or TV ads, etc.)

Each of these examples has its pros and cons. In general, the issue with having one person overseeing, approving, and managing multiple freelancers is that they almost inevitably become a bottleneck. This has happened in every team I’ve been on with one editor for multiple people, especially when the editor is also doing other work.

Avoid bottlenecks:

If you’re going to have more than one freelance writer, plan on working with a freelance editor as well, or make specific plans to prevent bottlenecks in the process. Figure out how many pieces your content marketing manager/editor/employee needs to edit in a week to keep up with your editorial calendar, and if those metrics aren’t being met, have a contingency plan in place.

Why would you set up a marketing team this way?

If you’re dead-set on hiring employees and employees only, you might wonder why it makes sense to work with freelancers and have them be a pretty core part of your marketing team and process.

There are potential downsides. Freelancers are notorious for being flakey (and I say that being one!), and sometimes, they’re less invested in your company or product than an employee is. The good news is, it’s fairly easy to weed out unreliable freelancers once you know what you’re doing — more on that in a second.

It’s hard to deny that a freelancer can be less committed to your business than an employee, but the difference might be much smaller than you’d think, especially with the latest generation of employees job-hopping often (and switching jobs being standard amongst startup employees).

The upside for startups? The overhead is much lower than with an employee. In addition to the time and money costs of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding a new employee, there’s the matter of salary for an experienced employee. At this point, I have eight years of experience freelancing and several years specifically working in the B2B SaaS space. Hiring someone with that level of experience wouldn’t come cheap.

Working with freelancers also makes it easy to work with a group of people who are really excellent at what they do. If you only have the budget for one employee, you get to pick one of the following:

  • Trying to find that rare (some would say nonexistent) marketer that’s amazing at everything digital
  • Hiring someone who specializes in what you think your marketing strategy will revolve around (and hoping the data doesn’t tell you that something else will work better)
  • Hiring something who’s really great at one thing and decent-to-good at other things

Someone who can write killer long-form blog posts isn’t necessarily the same person who can rock your web copy or email marketing. If you’re willing to work with freelancers, you can get all of those things done by experts for the same price or less than you’d spend hiring one employee, and get better results to boot.

Working with contractors also allows you to be more lean and flexible with your strategy. If a freelancer isn’t working out (or your marketing strategy shifts so that their skills are no longer needed), it’s easy to change your team structure, without having to think about severance packages or going through a full employee recruiting/hiring/onboarding process again.

Vetting your freelancers

With all of that covered, let’s talk more about clearing the biggest hurdle to working with freelancers: weeding out the flakey ones. When Clubhouse and I started working together, the initial process was:

  1. Interview with Camille to assess fit
  2. Interview with Kurt and Andrew (the co-founders) to continue assessing fit, talk about my background/experience/results with previous clients, etc.
  3. Provide references from previous client work to the Clubhouse team
  4. Send a proposal to Camille, Kurt, and Andrew outlining deliverables and goals for a 90-day trial period (I do a 90-day trial period for all of my retainer clients to make sure we’re a good fit — it works out well for everyone)
  5. Edits/revisions/adjustment to the proposal as needed, based on input from the Clubhouse team

All of this took around 4–6 weeks, and only after this process did we sign the contract and start the work together.

Asking for references when working together on a high-commitment contract is always a good idea, as is asking for some kind of proposal. Even if the proposal gets heavily modified before it becomes a contract, it’s a good way to test communication, responsiveness, and turnaround time. Same with scheduling meetings. If someone is 15 minutes late to every meeting, that’s a red flag.

From what I’ve seen, more and more companies are adopting a fleshed-out freelance “hiring” process similar to the above. When you’re impatient to get your marketing kickstarted, it can be hard to wait out the extra time to fully vet the freelancer, but in my experience, companies that hire a freelancer based on one email often haven’t been able to fully vet that freelancer first and regret it later. And, if your schedule allows for it, you can compress the above process into 1–2 weeks, which is a totally reasonable amount of time to wait.

What not to do

What I would not suggest is expecting contract workers to do any of the following as part of your vetting process:

  • Free work (i.e. a free test post)
  • “We’ll pay you if we like/use it” work
  • Discounted work

Any sufficiently experienced freelancer is going to turn that down. Why would they do free work for you, when they could be doing paying work for another client? Instead of helping you vet your freelancers, this method will probably result in you sifting through piles of less-than-stellar work and having to start all over.

There’s also the additional issue of independent contractor vs. employee, which can be tricky when working with freelancers on retainer. Make sure to review the IRS guidelines and create gig/job postings that fall on the freelancer side.

Freelancers, here’s what’s in it for you:

For the freelancer(s) in question, the biggest disadvantage is having most of your eggs in one basket. If a solid chunk of your monthly income comes from one client, and that working arrangement ends, then it can be hard to fill that gap quickly.

However, that’s also the name of the game when it comes to freelancing. That’s why you don’t plan on having certain clients indefinitely, follow up with previous clients regularly, and save up money during the good months to carry you through bad months.

The upside for freelancers is obvious: regular income. There’s also the opportunity to really dig your teeth into a project. I love writing, or I wouldn’t spend so much time on it — but it’s extra-fulfilling (and fun) to be able to get super hands-on with content marketing and strategy with Clubhouse in a way that I can’t really with clients who use me for “just” blog posts or sales copy.

Behind the scenes: Our marketing processes

We keep our marketing processes fairly lightweight to match the hybrid style of our team:

  • Every week, the marketing team has a 30 minute status meeting on Google Hangouts to discuss what got done during the week, talk about any blocks or things that could have gone better, and plan for the next week. I also send a weekly recap email of my work to Kurt, Andrew, and Camille, so there’s a running log of progress.
  • At the beginning of a quarter, we assess the work done in the previous quarter and have a 60–90 minute meeting to brainstorm strategies and goals for the next quarter. The notes from the meeting are stored in Google Docs, with the tasks put into Clubhouse immediately.
  • All of the work is, of course, tracked in Clubhouse. For example, with written content, we have columns set up for Ideas, Backlog, Up Next, In Progress, Ready for Review, and In Medium. The post or piece of content gets moved across the board, kanban style, as we work on it.
  • We use Slack to communicate when we aren’t having a meeting, Clubhouse to leave comments or updates on specific tasks, Buffer to schedule social media updates, and Google Docs to organize all of our content/copy/strategy notes and track revisions.

From beginning to end, our content creation process looks like:

  1. Come up with an idea (usually from a customer interview or on our weekly meetings)
  2. Create a story for it in Clubhouse and assign a date to it
  3. I write a draft in Google Docs, while Michele works on the illustration for the post (which is tracked via a separate story that’s linked to the blog post story)
  4. Once the draft is finished, I post the link to it in Clubhouse, add a task for Camille to review it, and sometimes ping her on Slack (depending on what her workload is like at the moment and how likely it is that she’ll miss a Clubhouse notification)
  5. After her initial reviews, I address all of her edit requests and comments/questions (we make heavy use of the edit suggestions and comments features on Google Docs)
  6. She reviews one more time and then gives me the green light to post (or sends it back for more edits)
  7. I put it into Medium, add the illustration from Michele and a few other finishing touches, and submit it as a draft to the Clubhouse blog
  8. Camille accepts and schedules it, post goes live
  9. I schedule shares for the post in the company Buffer account

Whenever I finish a round of work, I move the story across the board. The work that isn’t related to the revision process is handled via tasks on the story:

At one point, Camille and I were doing additional weekly meetings to check in, but we found they were overkill. For the most part, the team is happy communicating in Slack, and I personally loathe unnecessary meetings, so it works out well.

It helps that we have a very specific use case for each of our tools, instead of keeping some things in Google Docs and some in Evernote, or having some conversations on Slack and some via email. Teams where everyone is in-office can let this slide a little, but I highly recommend sticking to specific use-cases for each tool you use when it comes to remote or partially-remote teams.

I could talk about marketing processes forever (one of my favorite nerdy topics — feel free to let me know what your questions are for future posts!). The short version is, that’s what works for us and most of the successful hybrid marketing teams I’ve been on have used some variant of these processes.

But…does it work?

Since I know you’re wondering: does it work? Can you actually get results with this kind of team? The answer: yes! The hybrid marketing team at Clubhouse started at the end of 2016. From January to present of 2017, compared to the same time period last year, pageviews are up 181.77% and our user conversion rate is up 202.13%.

Obviously, that’s not just the team structure — having an amazing team won’t get results if you don’t have a strategy to implement. But that’s a whole other blog post.

The point is: when you’re starting a new company, or starting a new team within your company, you shouldn’t feel the need to stick with a traditional team structure. Hybrid teams are flexible, lean, and can get you results on a smaller budget — so why not give it a try?

How to build a better marketing team was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

9 great reasons to attend 3XE Search on October 19th

By @SimonCocking it’s almost time for 3XE Digitial Search Marketing Conference – 1 Day/ 20 Great Speakers/ 6 Workshops. Tickets here ->  #3xedigital. We have interviews with 9 of their great speakers below, read, enjoy, get inspired and come to the event on Thursday.  3XE Digitial Search Marketing Conference – 1 Day/ 20 Great Speakers/ […]

Why You Should Be Making 6-Second Video Ads in 2018

It’s no secret video has become one of the most effective and popular digital marketing techniques in recent years. But with increasing competition for eyeballs, brands are turning to shorter, snackable video content to capture viewers’ attention in six seconds or less.

The shift towards short-form video advertising content is also being recognized by technology and social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Google. In an earnings call earlier this year, Facebook executives Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg stated their intentions to overhaul video advertising on the platform, including a greater focus on short-form ads.

“Video advertising all comes down to your audience — and younger audiences want shorter, snackable content to engage with multiple times per day, across multiple channels,” observes Andy Halko, CEO of digital-branding agency Insivia.

Beyond reaching younger demographics, Facebook’s move is also about competing more effectively for consumers’ attention in a saturated digital advertising marketplace.

Here’s why you should take a cue from the move and make super-short six-second ads in 2018, along with some examples to inspire your next video shoot.

Short form captures younger audiences

According to Halko, brands need to craft videos that are impactful and memorable to younger viewers outright — but that’s not all. Brands also need to be mindful that their ads will be viewed across multiple devices, apps, and social media platforms like Snapchat.

Corona’s six-second “Jump Splash” bumper ad is a great example of bite-size content that jumps off the screen no matter which device it’s viewed on. The ad features stunning visuals, combined with a fun vibe that focuses not just on consuming a product — beer, in this case — on the experiences that come with it.

Corona is perhaps best known for its long-form ads (sometimes called hero ads) on television, with a similar sensibility as “Jump Splash.” Corona is a brand associated with hanging out on the beach, traveling, and living a care-free life — things that appeal to young people. However, many of its intended clientele are cord-cutters who don’t usually watch TV.

Using digital media channels like Facebook and YouTube helps Corona communicate its values to millennial consumers.

It’s a good illustration of how businesses can leverage long-form ads they’re running on traditional media channels like TV, and tie them in with short-form digital content that reaches a younger demographic.

Short form content can be utilized cross-platform

One of the best parts of the six-second format is that longer ads can be segmented or repurposed into shorter videos for different channels like Instagram or Snapchat.

Baseball is a numbers game. Especially for @bharper3407. But no number sounds as good as this… #ItComesFromBelow

A post shared by Under Armour (@underarmour) on

Take Under Armour’s recent “It Comes from Below” campaign, with this six-second ad featuring baseball star Bryce Harper.

The Harper ad was repurposed from a longer ad that Under Armour produced for Instagram, and integrated with a larger “It Comes from Below” campaign featuring other superstar athletes like Steph Curry and Cam Newton. They even took the short-form aspect of the campaign even further, vowing to produce a three-second Steph Curry video ad for every three-pointer he made in last year’s NBA playoffs.

So, if you’ve already invested in long-form video ads, analyze them and think about how some of the content can be repurposed into various mini videos. It’s a great way to boost your video ad presence on mediums like Instagram and Snapchat without having to spend more money on additional video production.

Short form can tell a longer brand story

One of the reasons that brands like Under Armour are repurposing long-form content into very short videos is because consumers are developing a lower tolerance for interruptive ads. But that doesn’t mean you have to develop multiple six-second story arcs to meet these evolving digital demands.

“Instead of watching a two-minute video or a full episode once a week or month, now in a single day consumers have multiple engagement points of short content,” says Halko. “Over time, these combine to tell a larger story.”

Take KFC’s recent short-form “Unboxing” campaign for the Malaysian market, in which a new menu item’s release was promoted using a six-second ad inspired by movie trailers. The short teaser ads were presented as a series, finally leading to the big reveal: The new Super Jimat meal.

The KFC “Unboxing” ad is just one example of how brands can use short-form video to build up anticipation for a new product and serialize videos to tell a larger story.

Are 6-second ads right for you?

Ad Age reported over the summer that a test done by Tropicana and Facebook, for which the juice company made ads of varying lengths to show on the social platform (6, 30 and 45 seconds). The test revealed that the six-second ads performed the best, leading to better consumer recall and brand recognition.

Halko also cites the benefit of using short-form video in terms of gathering and analyzing customer data to better determine their preferences. Brands can use six-second ads to A/B test certain variables in their products, branding, or messaging to pin down what their customers like — and what they don’t.

“This is the power of short-form content, when it’s combined with data analysis. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, smart consumers and users curate their feeds carefully,” he explains.

In the end, though, there are certain universal truths that apply to the six-second ad format that businesses need to be aware of to be able to use the format to its full potential, says Halko. “It’s the brands that find unique ways to tell stories with short media that will win. Creativity, cross-channel integration, and purpose are still key — no matter the length.”

Even if you think your brand’s story is too long and complex for a six-second ad, you shouldn’t dismiss the format. Map out the story you want to tell, and break it down into smaller chunks to that it’s easily digestible for today’s distraction-prone digital consumer.

Top image by

The post Why You Should Be Making 6-Second Video Ads in 2018 appeared first on The Shutterstock Blog.

Build an Online Brand with a Perfect Landing Page Video

Build an Online Brand with a Perfect Landing Page Video

The landing page video is an essential element of any business’s web presence. Here’s how you create winning SEO-friendly video content.

Cover image via Shutterstock.

It can be embarrassing to admit, but during a brief period in my career as a video production professional, I was asked to help out with corporate video sales and account management. As such, I put on a suit, I went to networking events, and I spoke with business owners and marketing executives about hiring my company to produce videos.

What I learned during this time was that, while many companies truly view video as the future, few had a strong grasp of how it could help them (especially for small- to medium-sized businesses). One video option that proved to be generally helpful time and time again is called a “landing page video”.

What Is a Landing Page Video?

A landing page video is what it sounds like. It’s meant for a company’s website — specifically on the homepage, where it will begin playing when visitors arrive at the site. There’s a good deal of room for creative filmmaking, but at its heart, a landing page video usually needs to do these five things:

  • Introduce the company.
  • Share the mission statement.
  • Introudce the team.
  • Demonstrate value.
  • Provide a strong CTA.

Pitching a Landing Page Video

If you’re a video producer or entrepreneur, pitching a landing page video can be a great way to get some good work and pick up some lifelong clients. This is especially true for businesses who haven’t done much video marketing in the past. The trick is to create not one video, but three:

In addition to being a true multi-purpose investment, this can really help a website in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). This will be important not only in production but also in making sure you or your clients get the most of their investment.

Shooting a Landing Page Video

In an ideal setting, you should plan at least one full day of production. A good project (and a realistic one, budget-wise) would combine set interviews with 3-5 key business representatives, a good deal of B-Roll of the business at work, and a small element of animation and motion graphics.

  • Interviews (half day).
  • B-Roll (half day).
  • Animation (in-house).

Editing a Landing Page Video

It’s important to be upfront with clients about editing expectations. It’s usually industry standard to ask for two to six weeks to get a project done, depending on your output (rush fees for anything quicker is not unreasonable). Having an outline or script put together early will also help.

For the interviews, try to find start with the Who, What, Where, Why of the business. You can give a quick history or overview with the main CEO, or you can present text questions on screen that representatives all answer. Either by using your two-shot setup or B-roll to cutaway, be sure to cut out any pauses or “ums” to make the video sound  professional.

Consider animating graphics like lower thirds and logos throughout. A solid animated line graph or distribution map can be a huge boost to the overall narrative.

Optimizing a Landing Page Video

A landing page video will help any company’s website, and overall search rank is key. To increase your video’s optimization, be sure to keep file names and metadata and tags uniform throughout your export, upload, and hosting process.

Also suggest creating YouTube and Vimeo pages where the company can host the video and link back to the website (and vice versa). This is also a great way to share new media as part of an ongoing video marketing campaign.

Here are some more resources on corporate video production.

The post Build an Online Brand with a Perfect Landing Page Video appeared first on The Shutterstock Blog.

Is Brand Loyalty Dead?

In the Madmen era, the marketing playbook was to use mass media, strong ads, and a powerful brand to add customers.

And if you did it right? A customer would be loyal for life, always showing a preference for your brand above all others. This brand loyalty was a recipe for increased customer lifetime value (CLV), as well as a massive boost to the market share and profits of consumer goods companies.

The New Ad Era

In today’s world, the playbook has changed.

In most situations, there are no longer two brands competing head-to-head on grocery shelves, battling it out to win the minds and hearts of consumers. Instead, customer transactions are increasingly digital – and it is there that things can be tracked, compared, analyzed, and personalized. As a result, a new competitive landscape has emerged where the concept of brand loyalty is under siege.

Today’s infographic comes to us from RaveReviews and it asks the question: is brand loyalty “dead”?

Is Brand Loyalty Dead?

If brand loyalty is not dead, it may be on its last legs. Today, only 23% of people say they have a relationship with a brand – a percentage that has been shrinking for years.

With a connected world and so many options at our fingertips, sticking with a single brand probably seems like an antiquated concept to many consumers. After all, if one can buy the same product from a vendor with better reviews or for a lower price, then why not?

Consumer Upside

While some people may yearn for an era where they could trust the brand they loved through the thick and thin, a decreased reliance on brand loyalty creates other potential benefits for consumers:

It levels the playing field
Brands are no longer entrenched in their positions as market leaders, allowing new and upcoming competitors to also vie for the hearts and minds of consumers. This ultimately means better products and more experimentation, and less blind loyalty to the brands of the old guard.

It motivates brands to listen
Brands can use the power of big data to monitor consumer preferences, and to react accordingly. Further, with the emergence of social media, consumers can be heard – and brands can respond to these concerns directly.

It encourages healthy competition
Product quality is more important than gaining emotional affinity. As a result, substandard products will not last long on the shelves.

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Small-Biz Strategies for Launching Products on Social Media

Looking to create some quick buzz for a new product or campaign? Social media can be the perfect place to start.

Social media is, in many ways, the online version of word-of-mouth marketing. Online campaigns can encourage sharing so that more people learn about your product launch quickly. A report from Statista noted that 69 percent of marketers found that social media marketing helped them develop loyal fans for their brands, making social media an important part of launching products.

Here, we’ll look at some teaser campaign ideas as well as social media tips and tactics to create engagement and excitement around your product.

1. Create a teaser campaign

teasers for launching products
Image via Taylorswift on Instagram.

A good teaser campaign lets followers on social media know something big is coming. Taylor Swift has been a master of the social media teaser campaign. This summer she deleted all of her Instagram posts before she “reinvented” herself ahead of the release of the track “… Ready for It?” from her new album. The campaign includes short teaser videos for fans, generating buzz before anyone had even heard any of the songs.

Takeaway: It takes a series of planned posts to create an effective social media teaser campaign. Provide glimpses into what’s coming to build anticipation.

2. Use a hashtag to create engagement


#ImNoAngel babe, all day everyday – even on the EMMYS! #LaneBryant 🎥@CassblackBird

A post shared by A S H L E Y G R A H A M (@theashleygraham) on

Before Season 5 of Game of Thrones, HBO and digital marketing agency 360i launched a social-media campaign in the form of a cross-platform game. Fans were asked to spot the dragon character from the show on social media and tweet about it using #CatchDrogon.

It’s a technique you can mimic by posting something fun or interesting on social media and asking users to share using a specific hashtag — for instance, to share a personal experience that isn’t necessarily exclusive to your brand, but still tangentially related. Clothing brand Lane Bryant’s #ImNoAngel social campaign challenged women to show off their curves using its hashtag. You can encourage users to do the same thing with your product or brand.

Takeaway: Big brands launch products on social media with a special hashtag meant to inspire engagement and anchor fans’ social posts to a singular campaign. Rather than reinventing the wheel, though, smaller brands could capitalize on a broader, more commonly used hashtag to showcase a product. Just be careful not to use too many hashtags at once — you want fans to know which one to use when referring to your brand or campaign.

3. Pay to sponsor your posts

Sometimes the best way to ensure more people see a new product is with a sponsored social media campaign. Even users who don’t follow you will see your product launch posts.

Take a look at this Instagram campaign for the Eero, a compact wifi router. The campaign takes advantage of the Instagram album feature to highlight the product in several photos, which place it front and center in the user’s feed.

Image via geteero on Instagram.

Takeaway: You can get more eyes on posts if they go to more users. Sponsored posts on many social media platforms — particularly Facebook and Instagram — make it easier for brands to showcase their new products to people beyond those who have liked their pages.

4. Play to each platform’s strengths

You’ll probably benefit from launching your product campaign on multiple channels. Facebook account holders can learn a lot about audience demographics using analytics, which provide information about age, gender, location, and even hobbies of users. Other third-party analytics sites and dashboards can help you get additional insights into other social platforms.

You can use this data to better connect with audiences on different channels based on who is interacting with your brand and how. Makeup brand Tarte, for instance, uses Facebook for demonstrating how products look on actual people, while the Instagram strategy creates a sense of urgency to purchase new products because of keywords like “new” and “limited edition” in posts.

Takeaway: Take advantage of analytics to tap into different social platforms’ user bases to build even more buzz around your products. You can A/B test to pin down the imagery and language that engages your customers.

5. Engage the community

Apple launched a new line of phones and an Instagram account at about the same time. The social media profile is dedicated to showing images from Apple devices, using the #ShotOniPhone hashtag that existed long before Apple’s Instagram account. It also asks users to share their iPhone photos and videos on a particular theme for a chance to be highlighted in the feed for all of Apple’s followers to see.

Takeaway: It may seem obvious, but social media campaigns need to be inherently social to be most effective. That means not only marketing to, but also engaging with your audience. Asking fans to share user-generated content helps establish a community around your brand, which in turn inspires loyalty — and tapping into that loyalty will help create a buzz around future product launches.

6. Challenge fans to win Prizes or rewards

Image via upsidetravel on Instagram.

Upside is a new travel booking service that’s trying to get users on board. As a software company it doesn’t have a physical product to showcase, so instead it’s using a promotion in the form of Beats headphones to generate interest. Your campaign doesn’t have to be this direct (or expensive). Rather, you can ask users to like or share a post for a chance to win prizes, instead of awarding a prize to each and every customer. Simple offers of something special — e.g. a 2-for-1 coupon, a free subscription, or a gift certificate — can help inspire users to engage with your company and use their own social profiles to boost your brand.

Takeaway: People love free stuff. If you give them something — or even just the chance at something — they are more likely to take a closer look at your product and engage with you on social media.

7. Offer a personalized experience

Image via Julep on Instagram.

Cosmetics companies have a lot to teach us about social media product launches. They are some of the most tuned-in and engaged with their fan bases online — likely because they know their success is based on brand loyalty and repeat customers.

Julep’s founder regularly goes on Facebook Live to chat with fans about new products. The personal video feels authentic and unscripted, working to establish a connection with users. Meanwhile, fans are encouraged to ask questions, offer feedback, and order products in real time via the platform.

Takeaway: Social media promotion has to be authentic to connect with users — it can’t seem forced or too pushy. Users want to engage with brands on a one-on-one basis, so personalized touches really matter.

8. Show the Product

While a teaser campaign is a lot of fun, at some point you need to show your new product to really get the launch off the ground.

Bra and underwear maker Lively takes an interesting approach by juxtaposing images of its new line of bras against a collage of other interesting visuals, giving off a mood board vibe. The company doesn’t just try to sell you a product; it’s part of an interesting visual display that sells a lifestyle.

Takeaway: Great photography is the key to your product performing well on social media. Social platforms are highly visual and users want to see your product (including in the larger context of life) to picture themselves using it.

9. Post consistently

Image via Under Armour on Instagram.

Social media is an algorithmic tool. Posting something at a certain time doesn’t mean that’s when users will see it. There are a lot of factors that determine who sees your posts and when. Post often and on somewhat of a schedule to help more users see your posts. How often you post is up to you, but pick a schedule — daily, twice a day, etc. — and stick to it. Under Armour typically posts twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, to spur engagement.

Takeaway: It takes multiple “touches” with a user before he or she will actually interact with your brand. Posting consistently will help you create more opportunities to interact with more users. It also increases the likelihood your posts will be shared by fans.

There’s no single tactic that will ensure your product launch is a success. But using some of these social media tips can help any brand become a little more savvy when it comes to showcasing a new product.

The best brands and product launches on social media feel true and authentic. Users want to connect with someone and be a part of something. Keep that in mind as you develop product launch tactics and strategies.

Top Image by MoreThanL8ve

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