“Context is king,” “results are king,” “content is king,” and on and on the media debate continues until everyone is blue in the face. And while "it's good to be the king," as funnyman Mel Brooks famously observed in "History of the World Part I," achieving that status can be complicated and treacherous.
In the kingdom of digital signage, things aren't much different. Creating fresh, compelling content worthy of regal status is no simple task. Large enterprises and even SMBs often turn to outside creative agencies or full-time in-house creative resources to build advertising campaigns that capture viewer interest and hold attention. Even though anyone can have a creative flair, some are endowed with creative genius, and thus exceptional work should not be taken for granted.
Regardless of the size of business, most communication managers recognize the benefits of digital signage but often lack the time, money and/or personnel to create fresh content on an ongoing basis. And fresh content is crucial if digital signage is to remain effective and relevant to audiences with specific and ever-changing needs.
Fortunately for us common folk, with a little planning and creativity, it's possible to sidestep these impediments and create a fresh stream of digital signage content on an ongoing basis.
In Part 2, I laid out in detail five tactics businesses can employ to reduce the expense of content creation, including: the use of templates; relying on digital signage software with automatic data import capability; leveraging existing digital media; integrating RSS feeds into digital signs; and taking advantage of cable or off-air TV reception. Here, I explain five more powerful tactics that can be of help in reducing the strain of creating fresh digital signage content.
Tactic 6: Consider offering internships to graphic art students from local community colleges, universities and institutes. Both paid and non-paid internships are a staple of the college experience, and local colleges and universities offering graphic art programs are filled with students looking for a chance to let their talent shine. Often, institutions will have requirements for companies offering internships to ensure their students are properly supervised and receive a quality experience. For a small business with a marketing manager who's able to invest the time to direct a student, offering an internship to a graphic art student to create fresh digital signage content can be a winner.
Tactic 7: Select digital signage software carefully, and be leery of the too-good-to-be-true marketing gimmicks and charlatans the industry is fraught with. Trustworthy companies are typically involved with the industry’s two major associations. And never forget, you get what you pay for holds true even with digital signage. Ask: How difficult is it to use? How much support is offered and at what cost? How long has this company been in business? Will they be in business next year? Does the software use an offline or online user interface? Which UI matches my needs better? Companies with limited time to devote to digital signage should carefully evaluate how easy the content management software is to use, because poorly designed software will waste epic amounts of time.
Tactic 8: Leverage existing non-digital assets, such as, brochures, flyers, sell sheets and catalogs. The good news for small and large businesses alike is they're probably sitting on a mountain of existing “analog” material that can be repurposed for use as digital signage content. Yes—these resources will need to be reworked to fulfill a specific requirement for digital signage use -something most business people don't have the time or talent to do. However, graphics art departments or interns should be able to make quick work of repurposing these sorts of resources as digital signage content.