Not exactly. (Yes. I admit the headline is a bit over the top.)
Fast Company’s recent spotlight on The Rise of Visual Social Media raises an important question. In a world where pictures and video seem to be dominating the social media landscape, is there any room left for written copy?
The reality is smartphones and tablets are more accessible, and we—as a culture—are more mobile. Most of us are not chained to a desk or working the line in an manufacturing plant. So it makes sense why research supports the trend that more and more people are using mobile devices and choosing to share pictures and video through those mobile devices.
So what does this mean for writers…champions of the written word…craftsman of copy…and wordsmiths?
In short, this shift offers an opportunity to become even better at your craft.
Written copy is no more on its way out than peanut butter and jelly. The only chance of endangering the written word is if we decide to go back to a pre-linguistic society. (Not happening by the way.)
The implications are clear. It should push writers back to the basics:
- Know your audience. Who are you writing to? What are their native content consumption habits?
- Clarify your message. What are you trying to say? Does anybody care that you’re saying it…other than yourself?
- Define your goal. How will you measure success? What outcomes are you wanting to achieve?
- Understand the power (and limitations) of the distribution channel and delivery mechanism you choose. Don’t expect people to read a 60,000 word manuscript on a smartphone. Make sure the final product takes advantage of the strengths of the chosen distribution channel. How does your delivery mechanism change the way you craft your copy?
The best way for writers to continue to be effective in a visual marketing world is to experiment with visual media yourself. Cartoonists have been mastering the art of matching pictures with words for years…way before social media. Billboards and TV ads weave together video, images, and words to create an experience.
Oddly enough…experimenting with visual media will make you a better writer because it activates your creative engine and helps you focus on context, content, and connection.
Visual marketing does not signal the end of the written word. Rather, it ensures its vitality and veracity moving forward.
How are you experimenting with visual marketing and media? What impact is it having on your writing?
Ben Stroup is a content activist in a post-paragraph world. He is chief broker of opportunity at Ben Stroup Enterprises. Connect with Ben via email, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via email to learn how to use content to move people to action.