Content Creation

5 Common Digital Media Mistakes and How To Avoid Them


June 21, 2016 (Updated: November 1, 2022)

Choosing to incorporate digital media into your content marketing strategy can be a formidable task for any size business.  From understanding the technology to creating ideas, there can be challenges to reaching the desired outcome. While having a plan for your digital media asset is a start, there are other ways to lose sight of your brand’s goals when incorporating digital media. The five areas outlined below are common digital media mistakes for marketers in all verticals. And understanding what these problem areas are and how to avoid them can save you time and money.

1. Lack of Planning

image of computer monitor showing a picture of pixels animation, concept for digital media, digital media mistakes to avoid.

Image via Flickr by song zhen

It goes without saying that any successful project requires a plan. Digital media projects are no exception. But what kind of plan can you make if you don’t know the digital media language? Steer clear of the pixel talk and dots per inch, and focus on things like how you plan to implement this digital media asset.

Other important planning questions to ask may include: What devices will viewers use to see this piece? What are my branding requirements? How do I plan to promote this piece? Spending time answering these questions early in your planning process can help you communicate your design needs and avoid this digital media mistake.

The next phase of your plan should focus on the asset’s design. What do you want the final product to look like? Start with examples of digital media content that have elements you would like to include in your project. Be able to communicate to your designer what you like about these pieces and how you envision incorporating them into your content. Creating a white paper? Take a look at some different white papers and find page layouts that fit your message.

Lastly, incorporate how you plan to measure the success of this digital media piece. For example, creating an interactive infographic can be exciting and bring life to your content. But without a clear measurement of success, these projects can be viewed as expensive. If the goal for your interactive piece is to increase engagement, then the call-to-action buttons should include links that can be tracked in your analytics software. The ability to communicate your KPIs to a designer can also help the two of you work together to create points of emphasis that deliver on those metrics.

2. Cohesion

Lack of cohesion is one of the digital media mistakes that can lead to confusing, hard-to-follow content pieces. Once a digital media piece becomes hard for a viewer to follow, you instantly begin to lose potential customers. One good rule of thumb is if you’re having trouble making it through your content piece, your customers are going to as well.

Think about it. You’re an expert in your field. No one knows motor oil pressure meters like you, but your infographic on how to manage oil consumption during winter months has you ready to throw in the dipstick.  Consider your audience; understand that they may not have spent countless hours mastering the scope of your craft. Break down your content into easy-to-visualize sets of data that can tell one cohesive story.

Once you have your data story in order, it is important to make sure that your fonts, colors, and branding all continue to convey the same message.  Consider your company’s current marketing assets. Your logo, website, and mobile app all have elements that flow and create a consistent brand message. Your digital media pieces should have the same look and feel.

3. Gathering Information

Having wrong or outdated information on even the best-looking digital media piece can easily kill your credibility. Imagine giving your spouse the most extravagant and expensive bracelet, only for them to realize that you put the wrong name on it. Keep your brand out of the proverbial doghouse and avoid this digital media mistake by making a concerted effort to check the information on your digital media pieces before going into the design phase.

Make sure you also cite your data sources properly. Poor or missing citations may insinuate that the data is forged or incorrect. If you are pulling data from credible sources, giving proper citations should be viewed as an added value for your audience.

4. Visualizing Data

Understanding how to find data and represent it visually can often be the hardest part of any digital media plan. Effectively outlining and communicating your goals to your designer can help both sides determine which pieces of data will add the most value. Once you have figured out which data you will be using, putting that data into easily digestible graphics is the next hurdle to overcome.

Most designers will assist you in selecting the correct way to graphically represent your data. However, it is still important to understand some common rules about data visuals. Parts of a whole, or percentages, are best represented with pie charts. Growth rates or changes over time look better in bar charts or line graphs. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, even the most experienced marketing experts struggle with this concept at times. Bad graphics often get produced when marketers fail to cooperate with the designer on how to use charts and graphs effectively.

5. Spacing (Clutter)

I think we have all seen infographics where it seems like there is just too much text for the space provided. These graphics tend to be hard to read and even harder to understand. Make sure that you get the most out of digital media pieces by sticking to the “quality over quantity” rule. One way to avoid overly crowded designs is to get a wireframe from the designer.

The wireframe stage is important in digital media creation, especially when dealing with complex data visualizations. The wireframe allows you and the designer to get an overview of how the copy and data will be laid out visually. Use the wireframe stage to make any spacing and copy changes before going into the actual design phase. Marketers will often elect to skip this step to cut down on turnaround time.

The problem this presents is if data needs to be reorganized, added, or removed, the designer has to alter the actual design. These changes are less time-consuming if they are made while the graphic is in the wireframe stage.

Creating Successful Digital Media Strategies

Delving into digital media creation for your brand should be exciting. And nothing is more exciting than producing assets you can use and distribute across all your marketing channels. By planning effectively and communicating your goals to the designer, you’ll ensure the results get your brand valuable digital media pieces.

Don’t get caught spending time and money on digital media pieces that have no direction. Avoid common digital media mistakes and use your data visuals to tell one cohesive story. Give your audience a chance to engage with the content without feeling overwhelmed.

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