How Are You Presenting Your Content? 3 Tips to Help Your Content Be More Visually Appealing

June 15th, 2012 10:00am CDT by Tamara Schaad

How_To_Present_Your_Content.egg  on Aviary

Most of you know I am not a graphic designer. If you haven’t figured it out, today’s blog picture should be clear evidence of that. If you’re still not convinced…you’re giving me way too much credit. I may have created a cool background with a tool called Aviary, but you would be highly mistaken to think I can do much more than this.

So…this is my first sub headline. Or where it should be.
Without Master Wordsmith writing our weekly blogs, I got to up the ante a little. I’m not usually the one that goes out and does researched blogs, but I figured I’d better start trying, since those of you who like the more researched blogs are now deprived. Don’t get me wrong – I do research. I just don’t usually write about what I’m reading, since a lot of my research is going out and looking at the latest and greatest web designs, and it would be hard to write about looking at websites.

However, I did stumble across something that I thought was very interesting, and may result in some tweaks to how I do my blogs. I’m sure you’ve seen at least one infographic at some point – they’ve become very popular lately – as a way to present data. And I kind of like them too, most of the time. They’re neat, and when done right, it’s a quick and easy way to absorb information in a visual way.

However, I ran across this article that argues the point that it’s not just that “infographics” are good, but it’s the fact of how you present your content, that is so critical: “Is Presentation More Important Than Content Itself” by Jordan Kasteler.

What I liked about this article was really the first two sub-headlines. I’ve made these my next sub-headlines, although so far I am technically 0/2 on use of sub-headlines:

“Fact: We All Judge Books By Their Covers” and “Content Is Becoming More Visual Every Day”
Sometimes, particularly as a small business owner, you can’t really do infographics, let alone invest in a ton of stock photos and pretty graphics. I understand this – I’ve seen how much these things can take in terms of time and money. Maybe having a blog with even one picture is a huge deal! I understand. However, as the article points out, we are a visual culture overwhelmed with information overload from multiple sources. So, what’s business owner to do?

I believe there are three ways to organize your content into eye-catching layouts that don’t empty your wallet into things such as infographics. I do have “pictures” listed as one of those three tips, but what I mean by this is even something as simple as taking pictures around your office or in your day-to-day operations, or, as in my case, what I create with simple programs in 5-15 minutes for fun, meant to amuse. If you want something more professionally-appealing, you may have to try a few different pieces of equipment, such as the camera in your phone (I’ve come across a few people who’s phones take better pictures than my camera), and in the end you may prefer spending just a little on cheap stock photos. That’s okay. This is only meant to be a guild-line to help make your content more presentable without breaking your budget:

Anyhow, I digress, so let’s get to the point!

3 Tips to Help Your Content Be More Visually Appealing

  1. Bullet points
  2. Sub-headlines
  3. Pictures (at least one)

(I have a feeling some of this may have been covered at the recent Piedmont Blogger’s meeting.) It’s one thing I’ve come to appreciate, as I read more and more articles online (and less offline), and continue working in a computer-based job, is just how much of a difference the layout and presentation of content on the screen matters. In fact this very blog is threatening to lose your interest with too many words, not enough sub-headlines, and no bullet points (except the ones above). I’m breaking my own rules. (Hmm.)

I don’t think your content has to be broken down into this neat little chart all of the time – obviously, mine fails all the time, like this blog post. But if you keep in mind that your audience likes pictures, headlines, and bullet points, I think it will help you to remember to highlight what you want their eyes to be drawn to, and help you to remember to try and format your writing to suit their eyes.

You may argue that what the piece is will change how to format it, and there is some justification for that, but even then you still want to grab your reader’s attention visually.  You may not use bullet points as much in Press Releases, but you do use headlines, right?

Other Ways To Make Your Content More Visually Appealling
There are other ways to make your content more presentable that I am not covering here, such as font size. If you are working on a website with a fixed font size, this could be an issue. If not, however, font size in the online industry has increased – more and more websites are favoring larger fonts. Color is another factor, such as not use reverse type (light-colored text on a dark-colored background). Very difficult to read. I am talking about it here in case you can control these issues, but oftentimes in an online setting these are fixed on a website.

Food for thought. Have a great weekend!

Picture is How_To_Present_Your_Content.egg created on Aviary.





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