Design and Content Marketing: The Perfect Match

As I talk to clients and other creative business owners these days, I hear a lot of fear and frustration about keeping up with content marketing and how to get the content (and design) to be on brand. The bottom line is listening — to your audience, your clients, and your brand story.

Content is every word, image, video, and piece of audio that represents your organization. Design is the envelope for content. The better both are, the better your organization can connect with its customers. 

Today’s audiences are hungry for content. But not just any content. 

If you’ve ever been scrolling an Instagram feed and felt really uninspired, or you’re looking for something on the internet and all you get is really dry information, or you’re searching for a google image and all you see are stock images that are used everywhere — you know that people want content that is more exciting than what is already out there. They want interesting, inspiring, helpful content that they can’t get anywhere else. And companies are trying to keep up, by doing an abundance of content marketing, but realistically, many are doing it wrong. 

Here are my 8 design-informed tips for smart content marketing:

  1. Serve, don’t sell with your blogs, social media, and emails

You want to inspire and educate your audience. Do not use content to give them the hard sell. Design-wise, you may not even want to include your products in your content marketing designs. It should look like you, but subtle is usually better. A small logo is often enough.

The emails that I create for the University of Oxford — the Oxford logo, fonts, and color palette are the only tie-ins to their brand.

2. Have a secure brand to make your content recognizable and let your design stand out

If your foundational marketing is chaotic, any new marketing efforts will be watered down because they aren’t supporting a consistent, recognizable foundation. If you’re considering content marketing, make sure you have brand guidelines in place first. These guidelines can include the type of visuals that you use throughout your marketing, logo placement, alternate logos, etc. We develop and expand companies brand guidelines so that everything is in sync.

Example: For the marketing presentations for Bredin, a leading agency helping Fortune 1000 companies create content and research for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), we created their pitch presentation templates with new icons, modern photos, and color palette.
  1. Introduce just ONE new content marketing effort at a time 

Stay focused. Unveiling more than one new content marketing channel at once creates unnecessary confusion and split focus, which isn’t beneficial when you’re trying to strengthen your existing audience or find a new one. And for goodness sake, keep the design consistent! Even if we are rushing something out the door we make sure it is on-brand.

anniversary logo design
SEO is celebrating its 60th anniversary and needed an anniversary logo as well as an expanded color palette and font library. We also showed the logos and colors in use within their existing branded materials. This will be rolled out this year.
  1. Have specific goals for your design

Don’t just do Instagram to do it. Define your purpose. When in doubt about what realistic goals look like, engage a social media specialist. If it’s an online platform, stats will tell you just about everything you need to know.

For Ruzow Graphics Instagram (IG) we have templated our posts. The outer ones are sharing client work, the top one is our inspirational quote template, and the bottom is our testimonial template. Colors and fonts are consistent for all, so if seen on IG or LinkedIn they can be recognized.
  1. Commit to a plan, for at least 6 months 

You have to give content marketing a chance to work. At the same time, you don’t want to be spending time and money on something that just isn’t working. Hopefully, your up-front strategy and research will help you predict success accurately, but the proof is in the pudding — and sometimes, despite our best efforts, things don’t pay off. 6-12 months is a good amount of time to give a new effort a chance, but not waste resources. 

  1. Think about where your audience actually is 

Where is your audience? Where is your prospective audience? If none of them are on TikTok*, then don’t bother doing TikTok! Market only where your current or prospective audience is. (*watch this video on the magic of TikTok)

  1. Consider a collaboration 

A great way to get in front of a new audience is to collaborate with someone who has that audience. And hopefully, your collaboration will be tastier than Tropicana Crunch.

  1. Remember, content marketing and design go hand-in-hand 

Content quality is just as important as content design. You want to be sure every piece of content you deliver looks like your brand and has strategy and care behind it. Growing your brand is all about consistency and cohesion! 

Make your design PART of your content strategy & planning 

I get quite involved with my clients’ content marketing — whether it’s an email, landing page, blog, social media channel — because I design it.

At Ruzow Graphics, we do all the design you need for your content marketing efforts, including:

  • Alternate logos that fit
  • Podcast images
  • Newsletter design
  • Design for collaborations
  • Emails
  • Blogs
  • Presentations and other support materials
  • Facebook / Instagram / LinkedIn posts + pages

Plus, we make it convenient! 

We can design templates on Canva, so you can update them every month on your own. For something like a podcast, this gives our clients a lot of flexibility.

Whatever your next content marketing effort is, let’s design it together.

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