A lot of startups make the mistake of putting their digital footprint last, but in reality nothing is more important than that identity that faces the world.
If I’m a potential investor I’m going to Google your startup.
If I don’t see an online presence and maybe some media coverage, I’m going to assume this is some sort of scam.
Similarly, when journalists are looking to do coverage of your startup they want to see that you are real, authentic, and legitimate.
The digital branding piece of your business is what people are going to be looking for when they are wanting to learn more about you.
I would argue that this is the first thing you need to do after you decide what your startup is all about. I think people tend to put it off because they think they won’t do it perfectly right out of the box, but that’s ok – these are all things you can tweak and update as you go.
After you have your social media footprint established, work with a marketing team to get the word out as quickly as possible.
You can have the best startup or product in the world, and if no one knows about it your business will be doomed.
Team Bizztor had a conversation with Brian Wallace, Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency ( based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH and works with companies that range from small business to Fortune 500 ).
NowSourcing is the go-to resource for visual storytelling in the crypto/blockchain market, representing numerous cryptocurrency related publications, ICOs, and others getting press and funding in the space. Brian has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-2018.
Read this insightful expert advice from Brian if you wish to make your startup standout with content marketing.
Q: WHAT ARE THE KEY INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THE VISUAL CONTENT STAND OUT?
Visual content, from a marketing perspective, means very little without data to back it up.
Pretty pictures are great for ads, but when you are talking about building relationships with customers people want to learn things and be given something with value.
This is why infographics are such a great tool – you can explain difficult topics to people in a simple way, which adds value to your interactions.
We put a lot of stock and trust in our research division to develop engaging content that tells a story. The visuals and graphics stand out and draw the reader in, but that begins in the early content outlining phases.
It takes a team to build a story that people want to read. Without authentic storytelling backed up by data, any infographic can turn into simply an ad and people don’t want to be fed ads when they are expecting to learn something.
But the magic comes from the designers – it’s their job to take that narrative and illustrate it in a way that enhances the data and makes people want to continue reading it. Unique designs are also crucial – the world has plenty of road map infographics already.
Q: WHAT ARE THE MOST ENGAGING VISUAL CONTENT TYPES?
Truly engaging content does more than just catch the eye, though that is an important element of drawing the reader’s attention.
After that, it really depends on the subject matter – you have about 3 seconds to grab someone’s attention online, and while visuals can draw them in you still need an interesting story to keep them there.
This is why infographics are so powerful – they leverage human curiosity while appealing to our shortened attention spans and deliver information through powerful visualizations.
We work with clients from all across the spectrum of industries and we know that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to visual content. Some clients have strict branding guidelines, while other clients pretty much say “go for it” and allow us a lot of artistic liberties.
Keeping the audience in mind, we are able to deliver appropriate narratives and visuals to fit just about any situation. But that doesn’t mean that infographics are the best visual for every situation – there are times when a problem can best be solved with video or plain advertising.
It’s important to know the difference.
Q: DO INFOGRAPHICS STILL CREATE VALUES FOR BRANDS?
The value that infographics create for brands lies in the relationships they help brands build with their customers.
Infographics in particular offer a way for brands to authentically interact with individuals by giving them something of value. People don’t want their time wasted with a ploy, and ad campaigns can have limited effectiveness.
Relationship building is the future of customer service, and infographics are one piece of that relationship building pie. By reducing emphasis on selling a product and instead channeling that energy into creating compelling, yet bite sized, pieces of interesting information, brands can set themselves apart from their competitors.
If your competitors are standing on top of a tower with a megaphone shouting at passersby and you are standing at the bottom talking to people one-on-one, which brand do you think people are going to have a better association with?
Q: IS THERE A LOW-COST STRATEGY FOR CREATING VISUAL CONTENT AS THE BUDGET FOR STARTUPS IS ALWAYS LIMITED IN THE START?
As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. There are tools out there that can help you create your own infographics and visual content, but if you aren’t in a business that has that expertise, why would you try to do it yourself?
If you have ever heard of decision fatigue, you know that as a business owner you have to learn to delegate. Your brain can’t make every single decision, so you have to decide which decisions to delegate to others so that you don’t burn out with decision fatigue.
It’s the same concept with marketing – unless you have a marketing startup, why not let the professionals handle it? You can do these things incrementally in a way that your budget will allow, and it’s far better to trust the professionals than to waste your brainpower on something that is out of your wheelhouse.
That said, one of the best powers of DIY visuals is that it makes people realize that they are ready for the real thing.
When you execute your own visual or infographic campaign and get a little bit of traction from it, it can make you realize that a professional campaign can do even better.
Q: INHOUSE OR OUTSOURCE?
I would argue that outsource is a dirty word. It brings to mind cheap labor and poor customer service, and just gets an all around bad reputation thanks to scandals involving sweatshops and the like.
But that’s not to say you should do everything in house, either. When clients come to us wanting an infographic we don’t consider it outsourcing, but rather a partnership, and we make sure they understand that as well.
Partnering is a better term to describe how we work with our clients. Everyone has areas of expertise and areas of difficulty, and for most startups marketing of any kind is not their primary focus.
A marketing campaign, including one based on an infographic, is a group effort. Not just on our part, either, but the clients’ part as well.
We start the process by setting expectations and explaining the process while working to understand all the facts of what the client is trying to convey about their business. Within our team, every department works to understand our client’s business, their goals, products, etc.
This is the way we produce engaging content, by truly knowing our clients and treating their projects as if they were our own. Our infographics also take an entire team to build for this same reason – not a single member of our team has the skills or the know-how to build an entire infographic from start to finish alone.
Inhouse infographic projects can be particularly tricky for this reason. There’s a lot of moving parts within infographic creation that are not always obvious to a typical graphic design team within a business, and most people forget about the other pieces that go into the project.
Frequently the bulk of the work is put onto the designer themself; this could mean they are responsible for research, outlining, and the design on top of all that. Expecting high-quality results with a method like this is unrealistic and simply unfair to a designer.
So instead of asking in-house or outsource, ask yourself who you can bring into your team’s fold to achieve this goal.
This article originally appeared on Bizztor.