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i WED: SXSW on marrying writing, editing, designing

Unifying your content in a multimedia era

We’ve all heard the expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but when viewers look at your webpage, app, and yes, even book, they instantly judge whether it’s worth their time to continue reading or not. That’s why it’s imperative that your writing, editing, and design are presented as a package that represents what you want it to.

At this year’s South by Southwest conference, Roy Peter Clark – writer, editor, teacher, and writing coach – and Mario R. Garcia – newspaper and magazine designer – presented on the way you should “wed” these three aspects of presentation with their session, i WED (writing, editing, designing).

One of the most important principles of creating well-designed content is to start with the blank page and design and write together, according to Clark and Garcia. Don’t simply write the text and add design elements afterward or you will lose valuable opportunity to make your content an experience rather than just some words and a picture.

It would be like watching a movie with no music and minimal settings. To tell a story with emphasis, you have to consider all parts with equal care.

Techniques and elements to consider

  • Making content design functional and intrinsic
  • Storyboarding ahead of time, and not repeating content
  • Planning key points and emphasizing them using design elements
  • Using white space as punctuation to create emphasis and tension
  • Creating an interesting dissonance of conflicting components; Clark explains this further in his TED talk in the video above
  • Designing for the different platforms on which content is published

Writing, editing, and designing content for different screens

This infographic shows that attention spans online are shorter than ever - which is why it's so important to make your content emphasize your points effectively on different platforms. Image found here: http://www.huckleberrybranding.com/category/blog

This infographic shows that attention spans online are shorter than ever – which is why it’s so important to make your content emphasize your points effectively on different platforms.
Image found here: http://www.huckleberrybranding.com/category/blog

Many newspapers will now cover the essentials of a story immediately for their websites and mobile apps, and then write a more in-depth story later to be published on media for which readers tend to have longer attention spans.

This trend keeps in mind the way to design differently for each platform, and allows readers to get what they want out of your various applications.

In fact, The New York Times has a set of staff dedicated to designing content for their mobile app NYT Now, which gives bullet points of stories and links to the longer articles on the website.

  • Phone – Readers on this screen have shorter attention spans, about 3 minutes, and would therefore need more truncated and bullet-pointed design.
  • Tablet – Readers here have more engagement, have more time to spend, and are looking for more entertainment than on phones.
  • Online – You want to encourage engagement and sharing, and must also write for “continual partial attention,” meaning thoughtful use of subheads and bullet points to encourage readers to continue reading.
  • Print – These readers can’t interact as immediately as with the other media, and this reader has already invested in your content by the time they have the print version in their hands, so you can go more in-depth. You still want to encourage engagement with your brand, however.

As Garcia and Clark say, “Digital news is the raw meat; print is the cooked meat.”

While Twitter and blogs are fantastic for giving an impression of the raw meat of a story, you don’t want to lose sight of how the whole dinner will come together.


[social_share style=”circle” align=”horizontal” heading_align=”inline” text=”Don’t forsake the real meat of a story — more SXSW takeaways @NewMediaProf” heading=”Insightful? Share with your followers now” facebook=”1″ twitter=”1″ google_plus=”1″ linkedin=”1″ pinterest=”1″ /]

While this session was strongly tied to multimedia from a publisher’s perspective, what takeaways do you see for your brand? Looking forward to your seeing perspective in the comments.

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Mobile Strategies for Event Marketing | A CrowdTorch Webinar

With the creation of Smartphones comes their respective software: the “mobile apps.”  Mobile apps are designed to make your life easier (and more fun) by providing maps, restaurant reviews, games, news, and a multitude of other interesting features. It is not surprising then that apps for event planning and event marketing have been developed.

Are you an event planner, coordinator, or do you work for an agency that plans large-scale events?  This webinar, Mobile Strategies for Event Marketing, offers some tips on how to use mobile apps for event planning purposes.

Hosted by CrowdTorch, a division of Cvent, Brian Ludwig, VP of Sales at CVent, and Camille Wingo, Sales Executive at CrowdTorch, were the webinar speakers.

CrowdTouch has created customized apps for TOMS, Toyota, and many other notable companies, conferences, concerts, and organizations.

Mobile apps stats for the ‘average’ user

  • 74% of adults own a smartphone
  • 77 minutes per day are spent using apps
  • The phone is looked at 150 times each day
  • 65 apps are installed on phone

Bottom line:  “This is not a fad” says Brian Ludwig: Mobile usage is on the rise and apps are here to stay.  In 3-4 years all large event, tour, and marketing initiatives will have a mobile app.

Benefits of native mobile apps

  • Native App: Installed on phone, not found on web means users can access content anywhere
  • Direct access at the palm of your hand with real-time updates
  • Customized for individual events & personalized experience
  • Social media engagement
  • Provides logistics & analytics for event organizers
  • Eco-friendly:  Reduces printing!
  • Synch-able with smartphone device features: contacts, GPS, etc…

Mobile Apps basics

  • Brand reflection:  Make app content brand-focused and unique
  • Target audience: Cater to audiences’ personal wants from event & make user-friendly
  • Generate $$ through sponsorships: Banners on apps, use logo on apps, personalized sponsor sections
  • Interactive: Maps, real-time weather, rich media (YouTube) and social media
  • Push notifications: Send announcements and updates

Market your mobile app

  • Website: Call-to-action on site for super-easy download of app
  • Emails: Share app with users via email when event is near
  • Blog: Show off app on blog
  • Social media: Share the app on all platforms
  • User ratings: Urge users to provide feedback

Case studies

Big Day Out: A traveling Australian music festival that went to 6 locations.  The app created for this event allowed the user to pick the location they wanted to see the concert in, and the app delivered the details accordingly.  Bonus: Successful in consistent branding throughout navigation.

National Cherry Blossom Festival: User can see every event and sort by date, location, category, and use basic search.  Bonus: Allowed user to create their personalized agenda.

Insomnia: Wanted one “mothership app,” which allows users to access all events and pick what interests them, personally.

What’s next

  • Ticket integration: Buy & share tickets directly on app
  • RFID Technology: “Bracelet” that allows greater accessibility to activities during event
  • Gamification, photo sharing & amplification, lead capture

This short but succinct webinar hosted by CrowdTorch presented the upside of using an app for your event marketing initiatives. With significant success stories and great insider tips, why not try creating a mobile app for your next event?