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Want a More Productive Content Team? Show (Don’t Tell) Your Strategy

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Want a More Productive Content Team? Show (Don't Tell) Your Strategy


Updated Feb. 7, 2022

Imagine you are in a meeting, furiously taking notes as the marketing manager speaks and shows a slide deck to review your brand’s content marketing strategy. Or you receive an email with bullet points touching on the strategy. Or perhaps your manager stops by your desk for a quick conversation and tells you about an element in the strategy.

In any of those scenarios, retention of what you’ve seen and heard is difficult.

To ensure that all involved understand your content marketing strategy, you need to document it in an easy-to-digest format. Text-dominated documents or presentations with a few reference images don’t work well. Create something that will remain in the minds of your team members and colleagues.

It’s easier and quicker to absorb visuals. Using them to communicate your content marketing strategy is the best way forward. Here are a few ways visuals can effectively convey your strategy.

Use visuals to communicate your #ContentMarketing strategy to help your team retain the details, says @NadyaKhoja via @CMIContent @Aprimo. Click To Tweet

Lay the groundwork

To get colleagues and upper management better acquainted with using your content marketing strategy, break it down visually.

The mind map below clearly outlines the aspects of the strategy, including suggested tools, goal-setting, and effective meetings. This single visual gives its viewers a clear road map of what to expect and how to proceed. No lengthy discussion or presentation is needed.

Click to enlarge

TIP: Print the strategy mind map and place it in meeting rooms so everybody can see how powerful visuals can be in conveying information. If your team is remote, ask them to print and post it to their bulletin board.

Paint the big picture

In visually communicating strategy, your first step is to create a visual that effectively shares the company’s primary goals – where the company is going and why it wants to get there.

Use a simple flowchart or mind map to convey this information. This visual contains important information with a long-term impact on your team. It rarely leads to immediate action unless broken into smaller projects and tasks.

Make this visual easy to read by using contrasting colors for the background and text. However, avoid using too much text as that negates the use of a visual. Instead, employ numbers, graphs, charts, or diagrams to convey the big picture. Bite-sized information is easier to retain.

You also should create a visual for your marketing team’s goals. Use more detail, maybe even create an infographic that outlines what the aims are for each month, quarter, or year.

Create an infographic for the marketing team’s goals for the month, quarter, or year, says @NadyaKhoja via @CMIContent @Aprimo. Click To Tweet

This simple mind map for digital marketing clearly outlines what the team is meant to achieve. You can customize mind map templates to include numbers the team has to hit or highlight components that require immediate action.

TIP: A simple graphic using icons and limited text immediately captures the imagination of viewers and gives them more incentive to work toward the goals.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 7 Ideas to Spark Great Infographics

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Plan a project

Now you need to show the team how to accomplish the illustrated goals. This is where you bring in your project planning and management skills.

Project timelines are an excellent way to visually convey to your team the tasks and their deadlines. The strategy workflow below details the tasks and time allotted for each. Note the minimal use of color to ensure viewers focus on the information. The icons also give a quick visual reminder of the tasks to accomplish.

Click to enlarge

Visually created project timelines are a great way to convey the team’s tasks and deadlines, says @NadyaKhoja via @CMIContent @Aprimo. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

A Gantt chart is another visual template you can use to show your project strategy. The simplified chart below clearly identifies the tasks, activities, and team members needed at each stage of the project. The contrasting colors minimize any confusion about roles. The calendar layout makes it easy to understand when and who is involved in the activity.

Maps and charts impart important information easily to your team, eliminating the need to use complex spreadsheets or long presentations.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: 

Involve the team

At this point, get your team involved. Ask them to create personal strategies using visuals to detail their goals and how they intend to achieve them.

Creating these personal visuals will not only help them retain the strategies they have been seeing but also help organize their activities. As you know, writing things down the moment you hear them is an excellent way to recall information, and plotting tasks into visuals is even more effective.

For content marketers, a simple mind map like the one below works effectively to help retain what you need to achieve. In turn, it will also lead you to organically generate content ideas efficiently.

With the tasks in place for the team member, a personal Gantt chart (like the one below) gives individuals a way to plot their activities and timelines.

Visual mind maps and timelines keep people on track and give them a quick reference as they work. These visualizations make a manager’s job easier as team members have a degree of autonomy and responsibility to complete their tasks and projects.

Develop your strategy picture

In a work climate where pressure is high and time is short, making it easier for everyone to absorb the company ethos and understand the tasks in front of them will lead to a more efficient workflow. Using a visual strategy in the marketing team is an excellent way to obtain top performance from your team and eventually lead to your business achieving its goals.

Want to learn how to balance, manage, and scale great content experiences across all your essential platforms and channels? Join us at ContentTECH Summit this March in San Diego. Browse the schedule or register today. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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MARKETING

2022 YouTube and Video SERP Result Changes

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2022 YouTube and Video SERP Result Changes

When you think of video results on Google in 2022 (and video optimization), you might think of something that looks like this (from a search for “flag football”):

In mid-October, we noticed a drop in this type of video result, and that drop became dramatic by late-October. Did Google remove these video results or was our system broken? As it turns out, neither — video results have split into at least three distinct types (depending on how you count).

(1) Video packs (simple & complex)

The example above is pretty simple, with the exception of “Key Moments” (which debuted in 2019), but even the familiar video packs can get pretty complex. Here’s one from a search for the artist Gustav Klimt:

All three of the videos here have Key Moments, including a pre-expanded section for the top video with thumbnails for each of the moments. Some specific SERPs also have minor variations, such as the “Trailers & clips” feature on this search for “Lion King”:

Video packs are still often 3-packs, but can range from two to four results. While only the header really changes here, it’s likely that Google is using a modified algorithm to surface these trailer results.

(2) Branded video carousels

Some videos are displayed in a carousel format, which seems to be common for branded results within YouTube. Here’s an example for the search “Dave and Busters”:

While the majority of these “brand” (loosely defined) carousels are from YouTube, there are exceptions, such as this carousel from Disney Video for “Lightning McQueen”:

Like all carousel-based results, you can scroll horizontally to view more videos. Google’s mobile-first design philosophy has driven more of this format over time, as the combination of vertical and horizontal scrolling is more natural on mobile devices.

(3) Single/thumbnail video results

Prior to breaking out video into separate features, Google typically displayed video results as standard results with a screenshot thumbnail. In the past month, Google seems to have revived this format. Here’s an example for the search “longboarding”:

If you hover over the thumbnail, you’ll see a preview, like this (edited for size):

In some cases, we see multiple video results on a single page, and each of them seems to be counted as one of the “10 blue links” that we normally associate with standard organic results from the web.

There’s also a variant on the single-video format that seem specific to YouTube:

This variant also shows a preview when you hover over it, but it launches a simplified YouTube viewing experience that appears to be new (and will likely evolve over time).

(4) Bonus: Mega-videos

This format has been around for a while and is relatively rare, but certain niches, including hit songs, may return a large-scale video format, such as this one for Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero”:

A similar format sometimes appears for “how to” queries (and similar questions), such as the one below for “how to roundhouse kick.” Note the text excerpt below the video that Google has extracted from the audio …

While neither of these formats are new, and they don’t seem to have changed significantly in the past month, they are important variants of Google video results.

(5) Bonus: TikTok results

Finally, Google has started to display a special format for TikTok videos, that typically includes a selection of five videos that preview when you hover over them. Here’s an example from one of my favorite TikTok personalities:

Typically, these are triggered by searches that include “TikTok” in the query. While it’s not a standard video format and isn’t available outside of TikTok, it’s interesting to note how Google is experimenting with rich video results from other platforms.

Does YouTube still dominate?

Back in 2020, we did a study across 10,000 competitive Google searches that showed YouTube holding a whopping 94% of page-one video results. Has this changed with the recent format shuffling? In a word: no. Across the main three video formats discussed in this post, YouTube still accounts for 94% of results in this data set, with Facebook coming in at a distant second place with 0.8%. This does not count specialized results, such as the TikTo results above.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re tracking video results, and have seen major changes, be aware that they may not have disappeared – they more likely morphed into another format. This is a good time to go look at your SERPs in the wild (on desktop and mobile) and see what kind of video formats your target queries are showing. Google is not only experimenting with new formats, but with new video-specific markup and capabilities (such as extracting text directly from the soundtracks of videos and podcasts). You can expect all of this to continue to evolve into 2023.

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