When the word "marketing" enters your head, do you think of arresting visuals, or do you imagine compelling statements that demand an audiences' attention and inspire further interest in your products or services? Most likely, you envision both of these elements working together -- which is just as it should be. The written content and visual design elements that express your brand image and marketing message must mesh in a concerted effort to make your business shine. So let's look at how to get the best possible use out of these two peas in your marketing pod.
First, let's establish what we mean when we talk about visual design. In this case, I refer to two primary skill sets: graphic design and web design. Graphic design traditionally includes all the static visual elements of your marketing "look," from your company's logo and color scheme to the way images lead the eye through a brochure, sales sheet, PowerPoint presentation, or trade show display area. Web design creates and positions these visual elements in a dynamic online format, with bits and pieces that may change according to what kind of screen the viewer encounters them on (a technique called responsive web design) or as you add continuous updates to your portfolio, services, or biographical data.
Web design and graphic design may differ somewhat in their requirements. For instance, certain fonts and color arrangements that work like gangbusters on a website may not look good on a print piece, and vice versa. Ideally, you want to create a design language that will work equally well for both offline and offline media.
Where does content writing enter the picture, so to speak? Well, it may come at the beginning, or it may show up later in the process. Of course your designers will want to have the basic look of your brand firmly in hand right from the beginning, while your web team will probably have some clear ideas about the basic formatting and layout decisions for your website. But the content-first approach often makes good sense for print marketing pieces. I've worked with graphic designers who used my content as a creative springboard to generate visual ideas for a onesheet, brochure, or direct marketing postcard. In some cases, a web designer may also make layout decisions based, at least in part, on what the written content seems to call for.
Ideally, your copywriter and your visual design team try to complement each other as seamlessly as possible (under the direction of a marketing director or coordinator who keeps everyone moving in the same direction). When I'm writing for a project that will include visual design, I talk to the designer about the overall concept and try to leave plenty of room for visual elements in my work. If the designer has trouble fitting my content into the design, I may need to trim it down. If I present an idea that lends itself to a particular image, the designer may want to fit such an image above, below, or alongside it. The main thing is that we're aligned as a creative unit to produce a final result that sells.
As an experienced freelance copywriter, I maintain relationships with many graphic designers and web designers. If you need both written marketing content and marketing design skills, contact me today and I'll hook you up with both!