Category Archives: Information Design

The Content Creative Process that Delivers a Larger Audience

Medici Gardens in Florence, Italy

Medici Gardens in Florence, Italy

Most 8 year-olds learn how to write, draw, and paint by grabbing a piece of blank paper and just get started. Not me.

I grew up in Italy and in 3rd grade I found out how Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci started a creative project. They learned it in the Medici family gardens in Florence where they were apprentices.

The rich Renaissance family set up the garden as a teaching studio.

Student artists were assigned to master artists and the apprentices leaned their craft by copying the work of their mentors. The masters taught them to immerse themselves in a subject to learn everything about it. They studied not only the form but the history, stories, everything they could find out about a subject they were going to produce.

I call this “immersion therapy.”

Medici family home Florence, Italy

Medici family home in Florence, Italy where art apprentices learned their craft.

The combination of immersion and copying the styles of the masters helped the apprentice learn the techniques of discovery, learning, materials, tools, and technical craft to paint, sculpt, and more. It helped them learn how to feel a subject and see it deeper from many angles.

The young artists found out how to visualize a story in their work.

Apprentices did this until they were competent enough to create their own style. They continued immersion therapy on each project but no longer needed to copy. They created from the knowledge and feelings they had about the subject and could tell stories with a painting or statue.

Leonardo da Vinci took it to extremes and it pushed him into engineering, architecture, and invention – well beyond art.

This model for learning and the creative process has been the most effective method I’ve seen or used for producing content – writing, illustration, painting, sculpture, video, film, and photography. Most of the best producers of content use this process to learn and continue it throughout their careers.

I use it every day.

The process helps especially in producing in-depth content marketing material like feature stories.  It inspires ideas for creative non-fiction, not just straight, grind it out, news copy.

When used effectively, I’ve found that it attracts a larger audience, encourages more engagement, and works to draw customers to a brand.

Immersion therapy isn’t easy to master but the benefits of richer and more insightful stories will payoff in a stronger brand connection with the audiences you want to reach.

Courting an Amazing New Client

Wild Florida Orchid 0001Looking forward to a major announcement in a few weeks concerning a new client.

The work involves launching them as a new multimedia broadcaster and publisher, and positioning them as the authority in their field.

The photo is a hint.

I’m so excited about the topic, the folks I’ll be working with, and the future success they will have – I’m ready to explode!

Stay tuned….

 

The PowerPointing of Web Articles. Don’t do it.

Top 25 Mistake

Making viewers wade through content is a big mistake.

Are they making us watch PowerPoint on the Web?

It seems the latest trend for publishing web articles that want to show the top 10 or 25 etc. of a topic, issue, or trend, is to show a big picture and a blurb about each one with a giant button for you to click to see the next best in the list.

They always start with the 10th or 25th and make you click and reload the whole page, slowly working your way to the first in the list.

In a top 25 article it could take 15 minutes or more to go through the ugly process to finally see the number 1 in the list. Time waster!

A reader has to be pretty motivated to wade through the webpage loading and reloading. It reminds me of the most boring PowerPoint presentation you can imagine, just because of the waiting.

I know why web publishers do it. They want you to be exposed to all the ads surrounding the content… up to 25 pages of them. Ugh. This is not a site I will revisit because of the waste of my time.

A better option is to list each item as thumbnails all on one page. That gives the viewer the option to go right to #1 and explore all the others if they want.  And if you’re the publisher you can still put ads on each individual page so the viewer will see them when they expand the thumbnail.

Anytime you take away control from your viewer and force them to do something, you risk paying the price in damaging your brand, page view and satisfaction rate, engagement rate, and subscriber numbers.

What to Do

College Football Top 25 (AP)

What NOT to Do

25 Best Places to Retire (Forbes)