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 several bullet points touching on the strategy. And what about those quick conversations when your manager stops by your desk and tells you about an element in the strategy?
Retention of what you’ve seen and heard in any of those scenarios 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 thrown in 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.
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, how to set goals, and how to conduct effective meetings. This single visual gives its viewers a clear road map of what to expect and how to proceed, without you having to speak at length or give a presentation on the subject.
TIP: Print the strategy mind map and place it in meeting rooms so everybody can see how powerful visuals can be in conveying information.
Paint the big picture
With an accepted understanding of the power of 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 use an infographic that outlines what the aims are for each month, quarter, or year.
Look at this simple mind map for digital marketing. It clearly outlines what the team is meant to achieve. You can customize mind map templates to include numbers the team has to hit or to highlight components that require immediate action.
TIP: A simple graphic using icons and limited text immediately captures the imagination of those viewing it and gives them more incentive to work toward the goals.
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Plan a project
Project timelines are an excellent way to visually convey to your team what its tasks are and when they must be completed. The strategy workflow below details the tasks and time allotted for each. Note the minimal use of color to ensure that the focus is on the information. The icons also give a quick visual to remember the tasks to accomplish.
A Gantt chart is another visual template you can use to show your project strategy. The simplified chart below clearly shows which team members are needed at which stage of the project, as well as what their tasks are for which field. The contrasting colors minimize any confusion about their 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 Excel sheets or long presentations.
Involve the team
At this point, get your team involved in communicating visually. 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 also will 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 to see while working. They 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 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.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute