So, you’ve set up the structure for your magazine. You’ve mapped the editorial formula and selected the templates. Now you’re off to the exciting phase of actually producing and collecting the content for your magazine. But how do you get that fresh edge to your images and texts? Will you go for stock images or hire a professional photographer? Do you use a copywriter or can you reuse texts that were used for print? We’ve asked Maxim van Oostrum, Customer Success Manager at Instant Magazine about content creation for web publication. The article below contains his tips on how to engage your audience with awesome content creation.

HERE OUR TIPS ON CONTENT CREATION FOR WEB PUBLICATION:

Imagery Web publications are focused around visual storytelling. In general, you could say that there’s an image/text ratio of around 70/30. So 70 percent imagery to 30 percent text. Now you know where your focus should be: finding the right images for your magazine. The right image plus your content can prove to be the golden ticket for your online magazine, but it’s very easy to make a mistake. So how do you create an enticing page and what can you do to inspire the reader to click through to the next one?

1. MAKE SURE THE IMAGE MATCHES YOUR CONTENT

Research shows that our brain processes images a whopping 60,000 times faster than text. The combination of text and images is 60 times more successful in bringing across a message than plain text alone. One important rule applies regarding the use of images: your image has to match your story. It’s unlikely that you will get your reader’s full attention otherwise, and they will most likely leave your page. So you need to make sure that you choose an image that is right for your text. Only then will your publication benefit from its appeal.

 2. THE BIGGER THE BETTER

The bigger the image, the greater the effect will be on your readers. Do not forget to take technical aspects into account. Choose a large, high-quality image. It would be a shame to have a blurry picture spoil your page! Choose an interesting image that will inspire your reader to stay on your page. You could choose something unusual that makes your reader wonder about what comes next and that inspires them to click to the next page. Did you think that the above image was strange? Then we can give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done. ‘Perfect’ pictures are not attention grabbers after all. Remember to look at the colors in your image and adapt your design accordingly. The idea is to create unity and prevent a motley collection of colors.

3. PUT AN END TO LAZINESS! DO NOT STICK TO STOCK PHOTOS

You can easily get your hands on pictures from stock photo agencies such as Getty Images or Shutterstock. But the images in your publication will probably be less than thrilling. What happens next? You end up with static images that do little to pique the reader’s interest and make them want to continue reading. A great place to find more interesting images is the database of the Flickr photo community. Many photos there are available free of rights and free of charge. Google Images and the Freeimagesstock photo site are excellent alternatives. Choose your image carefully because not all images are free of rights. You will mainly engender credibility by using your own images. Your own images are unique and personal and you can choose the perfect picture for your text. Using your own pictures will ultimately provide the reader with more information than a hastily selected stock picture. The municipality of Hollands Kroon in the Netherlands uses images from an online photo competition in their magazines. This is a great example of images obtained through user-generated content and a creative way to quickly compile a great image archive for your organization!

4. KEEP UP TO DATE ON CURRENT TOPICS

Using outdated images is a huge faux pas. You should use recent pictures of people you are quoting or interviewing. The subject of your interview or quote will appreciate this but the reader will as well. Make sure that you check the supply date on photos: was the picture taken more than two years ago? Then try and find a more recent one. It’s entirely possible that the person in the picture looks completely different now. Is your image provided by a photographer? This helps ensure a recent picture. You should make sure to properly brief your photographer on responsive photography. You should also leave plenty of room around the article so you can choose the size of the cropped image.

5. USE INFOGRAPHICS

Does your material contain figures or complex subjects and would you like to find out how to make it more appealing? Use an infographic that presents your complex content in a clear and attractive way. Nobody loves long uninterrupted content that includes a summary or a deluge of numbers. Spruce up your content by adding an illustration that includes the data that you want to present to your audience. Whatever you decide to do is entirely up to you of course. Whether you pick a pie chart, an illustration, a flow chart or a graph, choosing the right infographic is far from easy. The infographic that goes with the above image is no exception. It includes thirteen reasons why infographics have such an effect on our brain. Infographics present a large amount of complex data in a clear and appealing visual way. Take a look at the complete infographic here. A picture says more than a thousand words, we all know the cliche. But still: texts are still a very big ingredient of your web publication. How do you create a nice flow, optimized for the ever hasty online reader? A large chunk of text, in Arial 12 font is something nobody gets excited about. No matter how great the content, your article will be skipped. You need to be able to convince your reader in a few seconds, especially in online magazines.

6. GREAT TYPOGRAPHY

Add a unique feel or style to a text by playing around with different fonts, font properties, sizes and colors. Use clean and professional fonts for business communications and something more playful for a human interest story. You could think of using a large header, a bold font or even contrasting colors. Be sure to check which fonts can be combined or which Google fonts would go together. Do not use more than two different fonts per text. Make sure the body of the text has a calm look, so you can play around with titles, subheadings, and quotes. Be careful that your text does not become too ‘loud’. Overusing shapes and colors will be distracting for your readers. An example of a good approach can be found on the Rhapsody Media’s blog.

7. PLAY AROUND WITH WORDS

But there’s more to letters than just the way they look. The right words really give your message an extra boost. Use attention-grabbing titles and powerful first sentences:

    • Place short, powerful headings above long articles. Be sure to use a subheading or a ‘lead’ that summarizes your text.
    • Ask a question: So what can you do with an online magazine?
    • Address the reader directly: Here are five tips to writing exciting texts.
    • Use alliteration: Magnificent magazines and creative content.

8. SPLIT IT UP

You can read longer articles in online magazines by scrolling down. Give each article a different layout:

    • Split your article into several bite-sized chunks of text.
    • Alternate between short and long texts.
    • Use summaries and lists to provide a clear overview of the facts.
    • You can use powerful quotes to bring a long article or an interview to life.

9. STYLE

Interviews and reports have completely different layouts. It’s very important to take the time to consider the style of your article. If there’s a contradiction in your article, you could put a creative spin on things by dividing the text into two columns (pros and cons). This is a simple way to guide your readers through the text. Is the interviewee responding to statements, then you can divide the answers into blocks of text. Your page will look completely different and will have a great structure.

GO!

What you should consider is that you don’t need to create all the content by yourself. It’s very easy to curate content. So get that great video in there about that topic your audience is interested in. Never mind that it was created by a third party. If it values your web publications’ audience, you’ll benefit from it. Start playing around with your images and texts and analyze what templates in combination with your copy and visuals lets people stick on the page. Now let’s go and create that awesome content!

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A lifetime serial entrepreneur, mentor, advisor, and investor. Obsessed with the infinite realm of possibility in the digital transformation of the world, digital media, marketing and the blockchain.