Use Multimedia to Enhance Your Digital Content Strategy

6/25/2014

- Matt Crowley, Manager of Optimized Services

A well thought-out content strategy has become a vital piece for a business’s online digital marketing efforts to be both efficient and successful. However, an often overlooked portion to this content strategy is the use of multimedia.

In today’s online environment, the strategic use of multimedia has become increasingly important. Multimedia can help capture your audience’s attention and increase the possibility of their engagement.  When multimedia is created with a specific strategy in mind, it can be re-purposed and used across multiple marketing channels. This strategic use of multimedia can help your company stand out from the competition and increase the efficiency of your content production.

The one key to multimedia creation is that it should be original. While stock photography can serve a purpose, original multimedia often yields much stronger results.

Although multimedia can include several different forms of content, for the purpose of this article, we will focus on:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Charts
  • Graphics
  • Slideshows

Often, the core reasons as to why multimedia is overlooked by many companies are either due to its perceived difficulty or its perceived value. Many companies that have never leveraged multimedia content believe that creating it is too difficult and / or not valuable enough to allocate the necessary resources toward. For companies that currently leverage multimedia or plan to in the future, they often overlook the optimization aspect. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to overcome the difficulty, understand the value, and ensure the proper optimization of multimedia content.

Difficulty

Mulitmedia

The best multimedia content can be difficult to create and you should strive to create the best content that makes sense for your audience. However, if your company doesn’t have many resources to allocate towards multimedia production, there are certainly more than a few ways to create compelling content without many resources. Depending on your company’s resources, consider the following options.

Low Difficulty

  • Take photos and videos of your company, employees, or processes using a smartphone.
  • Ask your customers or social media followers to send in photos of themselves using your product.
  • Hold a contest for your users to send in drawings, artwork, or graphics.

Allocating thirty minutes each week for taking photos and / or videos on a smartphone should not fall into the “too difficult” category. Limited resources should not stop your company from creating original multimedia content.

High Difficulty

  • Hire a graphic designer to create charts (static or interactive) that can deliver complex information about your company in a simple, easy to digest format.
  • Use a professional photographer to create compelling images of your business or its products.
  • Bring in a videographer to create educational content that can help your audience solve common issues that they experience or innovative ways that your product / service can benefit them. 

The content that a professional can create will often be more resource intensive than the content that someone at your company can create with their smartphone. However, this is the type of content that often yields the best user engagement.

Value

High Quality Multimedia

The value of multimedia is often debated. Many times this debate is centered on using professionals to create multimedia content. If your company doesn’t currently have the resources for this, use a low difficulty method, such as those listed above. The value and return on using multimedia certainly increases with the quality of your content, but everyone has to start somewhere.

Multimedia content, when paired with textual content, can yield a great return. This is primarily due to the efficiencies gained after you have created the multimedia content. If you create textual content, it should only be used in one location in order to avoid duplicate content issues. If you create multimedia content, you can host it on your website, share it within your social media channels, include it within email marketing campaigns, and more. For example, if you create a well thought out and crafted infographic, many of the data points can be repurposed into smaller graphics and then used throughout social media. This one piece of multimedia can be turned into many pieces of multimedia.

Other than the efficiencies gained, multimedia content yields value by:

  • Increasing user engagement
  • Breaking up textual content so that it is easier to read
  • Helping your content perform better within social media
  • Increasing the likelihood of your content being linked to
  • Adding value to your pages in the eyes of search engines

Optimization

We discussed image optimization in a recent blog post, so we’ll focus on the other types of multimedia content here. Search engines tend to have a difficult time understanding multimedia without some help. Although we advocate using multimedia to enhance each user’s experience, we also want search engines to understand and credit you for this content. When optimizing your multimedia, ensure that you are keeping the following items in mind:

  • Textual Content:  Include textual content on the page with your multimedia. Even if a video is the main focus of your page or social media post, be sure to include some descriptive textual content.
  • XML Sitemaps: Whether it is videos or infographics, be sure to create separate XML sitemaps that group all of the similar multimedia (such as videos) together. These XML sitemaps can provide additional details to search engines.
  • Hosting:  Hosting your videos on YouTube and embedding them within your website may be free and require less resources, but the value of that content will not be fully attributed to your website. Consider the pros and cons of hosting your video content through your website or through YouTube, as there are benefits to both.

Start Creating Multimedia Today

Regardless of the path chosen, it is important that your company start incorporating multimedia into your content strategy as soon as possible. Original multimedia, whether done on a smartphone or through a professional, will provide new efficiencies, help your current content perform better and help increase user engagement. Social media channels such as Facebook and search engines such as Google are pushing multimedia content more than ever and this will only continue to increase. Whether your company is new to this type of content or you have created it before, be sure to properly leverage multimedia for your digital marketing efforts moving forward.

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