In an online world where content is king, it’s not good enough to just have content. You must have valuable and engaging content that is highly relevant to your target audience.

What does it mean to have valuable and engaging content? This is where it may get complicated. The best way to provide value is to know what your target audience needs, then deliver content that educates and offers solutions to any problems. Notice I said educates first, solutions second.

The challenging part is that unless you capture their attention, you won’t have the opportunity to do either of these things. This is where media diversity comes into play. Earlier this year, I wrote an article called “Broaden Your Appeal & Increase Engagement with 4 Types of Content” where I emphasized Neil Fleming’s VAK/VARK model focusing on a behavioral science approach to communication. This model is a staple in learning design and development. It focuses on how each of us has different learning styles and preferences toward the way in which we want to receive information, a rule that is important when planning your communications approach, as well.     

Neil Fleming’s VAK/VARK Model

Visual –Pictures, infographics, charts and videos

Auditory – Podcasts, radio shows and videos

Reading – Whitepapers, blog posts and email newsletters

Kinesthetic – Games, calculators or applications that allow interaction

We’ve all heard the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  This might not be far from the truth. Did you know:

v  The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisco)

v  40% of people will respond better to visual information than text  (Source: Zabisco)

Video

Think about it: Most of us are drawn to movies and pictures. Why? They capture our attention by triggering various learning styles. Take online videos as an example. Suppose you have a video that involves images, narration and text expressions inside the clip. This type of video may activate the visual, auditory and reading learning styles. Assuming the message is compelling and relevant to the audience, it will be one of the most widely appealing forms of media. This is part of the reason that online video consumption is increasing at unprecedented levels.

To drive this point home, take a look at these 2013 online video statistics:

Infographics

Another content trend taking the Internet by storm is the infographic (see below right; click to enlarge). For those less familiar with the term, Wikipedia defines them as: Visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. Infographics can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual systems ability to see patterns and trends.”

I would like to draw your attention to the underlined portion of the definition, which focuses on “cognition” and “the human visual system.” Consistent with the previous discussion of Neil Fleming’s Model, it’s no surprise that Infographics, like videos, appeal to a greater audience due to their visual stimulus and the mind’s ability to process information faster in that format. s

Why diversify?

By publishing across multiple media types, you will increase your potential to capture your audience’s attention and appeal to their learning needs. If you are fortunate enough to have been developing content for some time, consider repurposing your past content into visual or video formats to breathe new life into them.

Generally speaking, there isn’t a specific ratio for how often you should publish one content medium versus the other. The best rule is to develop your content strategy based on your audience expectations. Not sure what form works best? Try sending a survey or posing questions on your social media channels. My experience has been that your audience will willingly share their opinions in order to help you best serve their needs as well as your own.

Diversifying your content strategy will allow you to find countless ways to appeal to the widest audience possible, deliver your message effectively and grow your business as a result.

For more from Todd Greider, see:

5 industry blogs you can’t afford to ignore

How to find the right social media solutions partner

How to host an online meeting (and widen your prospect base)