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As we steadily read less and watch much more, how do we prepare to market our businesses in a new visual age?

Forward-thinking businesses can make huge gains by preparing for Content 2.0 now.

The searchable Internet has largely been built on words – billions of them – designed to be ‘read’ as much by Googlebots as human audiences.

But the written word is a dying medium.

This house of cards will fall as information technology supersedes words in favour of more powerful visual communications assets of video, audio and images.

It’s important to note that while the written word is dying as a principle method of communication, the importance of literacy will take on a more important role as the hidden foundation stone of visual communications.

Most of us now lack both the time and the mental processing power to read more than a headline and summary before moving on.  That’s why the average stay on a single web page is just 10-20 seconds (Nielsen Norman Group).

Visual and audio technologies liberate us to absorb more information, faster and better, than reading words.

The reason for this is hardwired into us – reading and writing are not skills we’re born with, unlike seeing and hearing.

When we receive information through audio-visual mediums, our brains are innately designed to receive it, make sense of it and, if it’s deemed important enough, remember it – all at breathtaking speed.

Imagine a World without Words Podcast

by Mike Hill | Activating Audiences

The Future of the Written Word

Let’s start by thinking about where we do the most reading – from newspapers, books, on our computers and devices.

The decline of print newspapers over recent times has been dramatic and it sets a trend for all print media.

This foreshadows the start of the Paperless Revolution.

The current trend from books to audio books and film adaptations will continue to the point where the publishing of books in written form will be as novel (parden the pun) as printing an LP is for recording artists today.

Within a generation only a truly nostalgic and environmentally-irresponsible book worm will opt for the arduous option of thumbing through a paperback.

The same goes for all printed materials, especially marketing materials which will become both anti-social and unaffordable due to their disproportionate reliance on natural resources.

This not only means a shift to pixels, but a shift away from words on-screen. 

Reading on computers and mobile-devices is already unpopular, particularly for passages longer than headline and summary paragraph offering a clear value proposition.

The result – more and more visual communication reminiscent of the user experiences provided by today’s apps which are heavily reliant on explanatory videos, images, graphic design, icons and buttons to carry key messages.

Screens Everywhere

Computers and mobile devices themselves will take on a far broader definition.

As anyone with young children knows, the idea of a screen that isn’t a touch screen is now unimaginable for the next generation.

Screens will soon replace whiteboards, menus and even coffee-tables and refrigerator doors.

Our experiences will be enhanced as the smart screens that surround us will be dynamic, multi-lingual, interactive, and most importantly for our businesses, audio-visual.

Should we lament?

Would the great wordsmith William Shakespeare turn in his grave at the thought of this technology-induced word vacuum?

In my humble opinion no.  Shakespeare knew the real power of words was through human performance and I think he’d find our current abuse of the written word repugnant.

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here”

 

Business Marketing in a Brave New World

The eradication of the written word from our daily lives will be slow but steady. 

Consequently our visual cognitive abilities will be supercharged.

Savvy marketers and business owners are adapting to this new world order now.

 

The key is to stop looking at your content through the keystrokes of a word processing program and to think about your brand in terms of its key messages and stories.

While your starting point is likely to remain at your keyboard for some time to come, the final communications piece you produce will evolve like a caterpillar into a butterfly – a far more beautiful and memorable creation.

Your key messages will be worked into visual communications mediums such as banners, captioned-photos and infographics. 

Words will be used sparingly, allowing graphics and icons do as much of the communication as possible. 

Stories, the ancient tradition of human knowledge sharing, will be migrated from words to audio and video.

As they already are for experts and thought leaders, stories will become among the most important assets to all businesses.

So where do you start?

In short, think more visually.

Start with the wordy pages of your website and social media places and begin adapting them to more screen-friendly formats like videos and podcasts.

This simple exercise will take you far less time than it took you to write the original piece in the first place and breathe new life into your old content.

This is cheap and easy to do and early adopters will be rewarded with a huge boost in their visibility online.

 

Start with the wordy pages of your website and social media places and begin adapting them to more screen-friendly formats like videos and podcasts.

This simple exercise will take you far less time than it took you to write the original piece in the first place and breathe new life into your old content.

This is cheap and easy to do and early adopters will be rewarded with a huge boost in their visibility online.

 

5 Actions to Future Proof your Business

  1. Invest in quality video, design and photography.
  2. Add a video to every key information page on your website.
  3. Ensure your website is dynamic and mobile responsive.
  4. Take the time to optimise your videos and images with search-terms.
  5. Syndicate your visual communication assets across all your social media places.

If you’d like to find out more about how to ride the wave of the paperless revolution, reach out to us via www.Moonshine.Agency

Do you agree with me on this?  Let me know your thoughts on the dawn of the visual age!

Blog by Mike Hill, Founder Moonshine Agency

 

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