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Is a Picture Really Worth 1,000 Words?

  |  July 5, 2013   |  Comments

It's pretty clear that anyone in publishing needs to move toward a world that is more visually driven and strategically tagged.

Last week my 10-year-old daughter told me that her friend's mother is not following her on Instagram. She asked me how many followers I had on Instagram and why she couldn't find me.

Up until this week I didn't have Instagram. But now I do, and, I have to say it poses a very interesting question: is a picture really worth 1,000 words?

Within seconds of using Instagram, 140-character commentary about where I am or what I am doing was replaced by a tagged photo. Sentences on Facebook, setting the stage for what I am doing, were replaced in an instant. This led me to wonder if we really even need words anymore.

I asked my 10-year-old what is so great about Instagram. I was informed that it is a great way to see what others are doing at the same location, or around the same topic as she is interested in. She explained that the tags are the strategic part. She told me to "choose my tags carefully" and then to make sure that I comment in a way that could be viewed as a tag.

When you consider the impact that Instagram is having on the younger generation, it seems pretty clear that anyone in publishing needs to move toward a world that is more visually driven and strategically tagged. How do we do that? Ask a 10-year-old.

Here are five things my 10-year-old taught me about content publishing through Instagram (that could also be helpful for the rest of us).

  1. #Tag big. Kind of like "think big" for those of us over 40. Make sure your initial content tags reach the broadest version of the content. This will expose your content to the broadest audience.
  2. Location, location, location. People need to know where the content originated so they can find more of it. Think of this like the new world "sourced by" capability.
  3. Be a square. Make sure what you are trying to convey fits into the frame you have. With Instagram your photo must be cropped to the size of a square. Think about how much space you have before you write or post.
  4. Go with the flow. #SelfieSaturday is a popular one. You will get more collaboration on your content if you are part of the topics and trends people care about. This often generates spinoffs.
  5. Play the game. The goal of Instagram (in the eyes of a 10-year-old) is to get the most hearts. Users have become smart at this, posting and reporting content continuously to make it appear new. This might just work for the rest of us, too.

Instagram's appeal to the younger demographic may just be a fad, but it does make you stop and think for a bit and sharpen your pencil to employ best practices.

Want to see how I view the world? Follow me @jeannieymullen on Instagram.



Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition. 

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