Why beautiful presentation matters
When writing blogs, say it like you mean it
Sometimes, how you say something matters more than what you say.
Like how a dramatic trail-off or a sarcastic tone can flip a positive affirmation like “thanks!” into a passive-aggressive jab, like “thanks …"
Or how a perfectly charming marriage proposal might fall flat at McDonald’s.
You get the picture.
So why do so few companies invest in the presentation of their content? For the most part, we believe that it's structural. Good design takes skill and if you don’t naturally possess it, you have to hire someone and this costs money. Good photos aren’t free and if you don’t have the time to spend out there snapping your own, you’ll have to pay for them. And of course, if you want a great online presence, you’ll need a website that’s beautifully designed with the reader in mind. This too can cost you.
Good presentation thus often feels out of reach for most businesses. Not a day goes by that we don’t talk to a client who has “re-do the ole' website” somewhere on their checklist.
And yet, until you get that piece right you’re basically slicing off 70% of your content's value and lighting it on fire. That’s how much of our communications are non-verbal, and how much good text and images matter.
What’s a business to do? Probably, invest in a new blogging platform. But if you can’t, do as Teddy Roosevelt did:
For the shoe-string marketer, here are some quick wins:
Times New Roman was designed for newspapers back when offset printing was high-technology. Just like the buggy whip, its time has passed, and even the venerable New York Times has abandoned it. It’s time you do too.
Set yourself apart from the pack with the more modern and screen-friendly aesthetic of:
- Garamond Pro
(We use Garamond Pro and for headlines, Futura)
Marketing content with relevant images garner 94% more clicks than those with irrelevant ones. Let that sink in. You could get twice as many views for content if you simply choose better images. Or, for many businesses, try using images at all.
There’s practically no excuse anymore, as oftentimes you can get decent ones from free stock image websites. Here are a few:
(Here's a list of 17 such free image sites)
Now, if you’re truly committed to achieving relevant images, the best pictures will cost money, and you’ll find many of the free images wanting. The best photography always finds it's way to paid sites.
If you’re committed to getting the most out of your content, you should invest in a subscription to something like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto.
Less is more. The more intentional negative space you can harness on your website, the better. Google is the ultimate king of this, and you’ll see that it’s a commonality among all beautifully designed websites and blogs that they display the self-control necessary to only present what you need and nothing more.
In this age where we’re bombarded with thousands of media messages, offers, ads, and have developed ad-blockers and banner blindness, there’s nothing more soothing than a website with a lot of negative space.
Here are a few favorites:
Think more like a magazine, less like a whitepaper. Take out the “about us” widgets and quote scrollers and whittle it down to just what matters: good content and a subscription form. It doesn’t matter what you do, you can always say it more simply.
Less is more.
Good design sells, and what more could you ask of your content?