Why Your Content Should Have Visuals

If you’ve done all the right things in making your content findable and helpful for your readers, but it’s not getting much visibility or shares, you might need to consider adding visuals to improve your content.

Chances are you’ve got all the right things to say, but if you’re not appealing to the primitive parts of your audience’s’ brains, they might pass on by and miss out on your valuable content. The primitive parts do what you’d expect them to – they answer questions related to the most fundamental parts of your survival. If the answer is a little more complicated than “Yes, you can eat this,” or “This is going to hurt you,” the information will move to the neocortex, which processes abstract thought. If your content is lacking visuals, it’s trying to go straight to the neocortex, which isn’t always effective.

I’m sure you’ve visited a website that is text-heavy, and your brain just shut down rather than tried to process the information. Compare that to visiting a site that has a photograph of beautiful people or a shocking image of a dangerous animal. Now you’re paying attention! This same idea should be applied to the content you present your audience. Appeal to their primitive brain first, and you’ll have their focus locked in on your content.

While it would be easy to slap a picture of something appealing like a delicious looking dessert on your content, the visual you use should relate to your product. Your graphic should emphasize your main point. Take a look at what others have successfully posted about the same topic to get inspiration for your own visuals. Just make sure it’s inspiration, you don’t want to be doing exactly what others are doing.

The concept may be simple, but implementing it to your content can be difficult for some people. Using a good graphic designer helps, and having a source of quality photographs will help with this process.
Keep in mind that just like content with too much text, content with too many visuals can also overwhelm the primitive parts of your audience’s brain. Not to mention that a post full of graphics can lead to slower load times, and your audience might not stick around long enough to take in your content.

Keep a look out for our upcoming blog on the best places to find free stock images that aren’t painful to look at.

The Online Industry is Losing 8 Billion a Year

The World of Online Is Losing 8 billion Dollars a Year!

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) came out with a report in December 2015 that claimed that the world of online advertising is losing $8 billion per year. It’s not just ad blocking – contributing $782 Million – it is also bot traffic and content piracy.
The study, commissioned by the IAB and conducted by Ernst & Young, found three primary causes that, if we were to fix it, would add $8.2 billion to the digital advertising industry.

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What Happens When You Reply to Spam Emails

Ever received spam emails promising you money as long as you give them your bank details to claim it but the message never went further than the trash can?

Ever thought what would happen if you replied?

English comedian James Veitch has spent the last 3 years replying to every spam email he received and the results are hilarious.

Check out his TED Talks video below.

 

You can also read more of Veitch’s spam conversations by buying his book ‘Dot Con’ here

The Art of Listening

In today’s society, we are constantly being instructed how to communicate in different mediums. From Twitter, to email drafting, to actual conversation, we are being constantly critiqued on our conversational skills. However, there remains one valuable communication skill that almost everyone seems to neglect: how to listen.

While many of us acknowledge how important listening is to our understanding of material, and our ability to learn new things, we often fall short of having effectively listened to what we are being told. In fact, we often act more as a watchman waiting for an opportunity to jump into a conversation, rather than a dedicated and concentrated listener.

Instead of flexing and developing our listening muscles, we treat conversations as a sort of scorecard. Many people fail to listen properly for one simple reason: it is hard. When listening properly, you have to master several steps, including critical thinking. Additionally, our concentration on written word conversations have taken a lot of the burden of us listening wise these days. Listening is becoming more and more difficult, but if you want to be a successful communicator, you must dedicate the time to mastering the valuable technique.

To learn a bit more about why listening is so important to professional development, we simply need to listen to Tom Yorton, CEO of Second City Works, the world-renowned improv comedy theater and school. Yorton feels listening is crucial to success in a business.

We’ve highlighted and transcribe part of the video for you below.

“Listening is critical in life, in business and certainly in our work on the stage. We can’t create something if we’re not paying attention to all the cues going on around us. And for all the energy and time that we spend practicing our writing skills and our speaking skills, we do none of that. There’s no practice at all for listening and listening is paramount in business.”

“You have to work at listening. You have to practice it. I think the biggest thing about all of our stuff with improvisation is it’s the idea of being in practice and not just taking it for granted. And so for listening every conversation you have whether it’s on the phone or a conference call or a meeting, any of those things, those are opportunities to build the muscle and to get better at the craft of listening. It’s not just the monologue that you put out. It’s the ability to create opportunities for a productive dialogue. And looking for and welcoming the contributions of others.”

However, practice is not enough according to Yorton. To truly master the ability to use listening effectively, you need to learn how to listen to understand:

“If you want to become a better listener probably the single most important thing you can do, or the best thing you can do, is adopt this idea and that is to listen to understand as opposed to just listening merely to respond. Often in our communication, whether it’s our personal or professional communication, it’s almost like a game show. Halfway through what another person’s saying we’ve got our hand on the buzzer ready to complete the answer. We know where they’re going. We’re done listening to them. We want to come in with our own response usually to redirect or control a conversation. And often at that point, that halfway and beyond point we lose vital information. We lose the chance to truly understand what that person’s saying.”

Here’s the training example that Yorton spoke of in the video.

“So at Second City we do a lot of work honing listening skills and we do a lot of work with our corporate clients around listening skills. And one of the exercises that we have used very successfully is an exercise that we call Last Word Response. And Last Word Response is really fun and simple.
We instruct people to pair up. We tell them to have a conversation about anything at all business related or not. And the only rule we attach to the conversation is that a person’s first word of their response has to be the last word of what their partner said. So it might go something like this:
‘Hey Jim, I just had a great cup of coffee this morning.’
The other person would say ‘Morning is my favorite time of day.’
And back and forth. The other person would say ‘Day is better than night.’ You get the idea.
The conversation goes on and on and we let it go for a while. Then we instruct people – we call a stop to it and we ask them what it took to be successful in the exercise.
Invariably we hear things like well I had to listen all the way through. Well I had to really pay attention and usually I don’t pay attention all the way through when people are talking. And what we talk about in Second City and we talk about in improvisation is this idea that you have to listen all the way through to get the full intent of what someone is saying. You have to listen to understand, not just respond.”

Here’s to hoping this was helpful and that your journey toward being a more successful and considerate listener gets off to a great start!

6 Reasons to Get a New Website

If you’ve made the decision in the past to invest in your business by building an independent website, then congratulations. You’ve taken one of the most important steps as a business owner in today’s modern economy by unlocking your company’s potential with a stand alone website. However, just like with all advertising and marketing costs, you won’t be able to get away with paying for a website once and leaving it at that.

If you want to get the most out of your website, it’s necessary to update your investment from time to time to make sure you are working with relevant technology. That means that eventually, even if you have already designed a site for your business, it’s a smart idea to invest in a whole new website. Here are six signs that it is time for a new website.

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