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Top visual marketing tools for publishing and media teams

Visual marketing is all around us. We pass it on the street, we scroll through it on our phones and computers, sometimes we engage with visual marketing without realizing we are being marketed to.

Brands who prioritize visual content in their marketing see more engagement, interactions, and shares, and visual posts are more memorable than text-only content. In recent years, video has been the top format marketers use in content marketing, and with apps like TikTok and Instagram rapidly growing in popularity, brands who adopt the latest forms of consumer communication are more visible than their competitors online.

"For our design we always need creative consistency. New visuals keep franchises fresh and exciting, lots of moving images, animation and illustrations work well for us so nothing is ever just floating in white space — this again gives you real stand out," says Camilla Newman, Chief Business Officer for GLAMOUR UK, a publication from Condé Nast.

Visual marketing(opens in a new tab or window) tools help publishing teams create and publish the posts that stand out in the digital world. Digital publishing is putting media brands on the map and helping to expand their audiences, connect with new subscribers, and improve engagement with content.

The potential for content to go “viral” has changed from carefully crafted advertising campaigns constructed by the top minds in marketing to a new reality, where anyone can be a creator and see their content shared far and wide online.

Engaging posts are coming from creators, brands, designers, and publishers as content is evolving as fast as creative folks can dream up new types of interactive, visual media.

Here are the top visual marketing tools for publishing teams and strategies for creating and scaling media content marketing.

Marketing strategies for publishers

Marketing in the publishing industry is about exposure. How can you get the author you are representing and their work in front of as many eyes and ears as possible? Or optimize content along with news articles so it’s more shareable and reaches wider audiences?

Not every content marketing strategy is right for every project, or even every publishing team. When you understand your target audience and analyze who is engaging with your content, you’ll find trends and patterns that prove successful. Then, you can take the strategies that are already working organically and expand your marketing plan from there.

For example, if posting visual quotes from articles on Instagram have been successful, continue to post more often, and expand to Pinterest marketing(opens in a new tab or window). The best marketing from publishing teams is authentic, engaging, and designed for target viewers or readers in mind. After all, you already have the content — whether it’s a book, and article, or a review — you just have to find unique ways to repurpose it.

Here’s an example of a media brand publisher who is succeeding at scaling visual marketing strategy. The Atlantic’s Instagram(opens in a new tab or window) page combines eye-catching visuals that incorporate illustrations and bold headlines with an excerpt from a popular opinion piece on barbecue potato chips.

Let’s take a look at some of the top visual marketing strategies for publishers.

Author Q&As

Author question and answer sessions are a strategic way to introduce authors to audiences in a more intimate way. Q&As can be done in-person, virtually, or a hybrid combination of the two.

Meet and greets with authors can also be live streamed online, some incorporating virtual message boards for fans. A popular way for readers to connect with their favorite authors is Reddit AMA (ask me anything) threads. An example of this is when bestselling author John Green hosted a Reddit event. This event excited fans (800+ comments and counting!) and helped to promote his books on social media in a completely authentic way.

A key benefit of author Q&As is that they give audience members a direct line of communication with the author. By extension, attendees leave Q&As with a deeper understanding of the author and their work and excitement for future content releases. Author Q&As can either be a one-and-done event or a string of appearances, depending on the author in question and campaign goals of their publisher.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing spreads awareness of authors and their work and has the potential to naturally take off and provide long-lasting promotion. Social media marketing(opens in a new tab or window) campaigns for publishers and media brands can include a combination of paid advertisements, organic social content, and influencer marketing campaigns. Most media companies use a combination of social media marketing strategies.

The most popular platforms for social media marketing(opens in a new tab or window) for digital publishing are:

HarperCollins partnered with Janelle Monae to raise awareness for her new book series, The Memory Librarian and Other Stories of Dirty Computer, using social media. By amplifying the book to Monae’s 1.2M X (Twitter) followers, HarperCollins reached an entirely new audience than their own social media presence. The team also partnered with local news media sources and reposted fan excitement to generate buzz around the launch.

Book, film, and television reviews

Reviews are an essential strategy to get the conversation started (and then keep it going) about authors or creators and their work. To do so, publishers need to send review copies of the work to critics and journalists and then hope that they choose that work to review. Gathering book and film reviews is never guaranteed. Instead, it’s up to publishers to form and nurture relationships with critics they are interested in working with in the future.

Provide reviewers, in-house marketing teams, or readers with branded, pre-made social media templates so people can easily share their reviews in a visual way.

Excerpts and teasers for new projects

In the months and weeks before releasing new projects, build anticipation and awareness by releasing excerpts or teasers of the author’s work. After all, the roll out of a project isn’t just done in one day.

By releasing teasers or excerpts of projects before they are released authors can reap the benefits of pre-orders and wider name recognition. These teasers can be promoted on social media, websites, and even mailing lists.

Exclusive content memberships

Exclusivity can boost interest in an upcoming project. By creating a membership-only program for fans of the author or artist you’re representing you can create a sense of urgency around their project and engage an audience of superfans.

  • Content memberships can include:
  • Previews for upcoming projects
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Weekly newsletters
  • Messaging features for members to chat with each other

Brand awareness campaigns

Brand awareness campaigns(opens in a new tab or window) are designed to spark awareness and familiarize potential customers about your client and their work. For example, authors that are still building their name recognition would benefit from a full fledged brand awareness campaign.

Brand awareness campaign best practices include:

  • Consistent messaging and visual brand
  • Highlighting the personality of creators and authors
  • A mix of paid and organic advertising practices


Email newsletters(opens in a new tab or window) are one of the most effective forms of digital marketing with an ROI of $38 for every dollar invested. They are subscription based, so readers can interact with them as much or as little as they’d like. Also, as a personalized form of communication, newsletters pose an excellent opportunity for creativity.

Use email marketing and email newsletters(opens in a new tab or window) to promote speaking events and upcoming projects, discover new authors and creatives, and to offer new subscriptions or content memberships.

6 ways digital marketing benefits publishers

Digital marketing has grown dramatically over the past decade due to its ability to reach a larger and more widespread audience than traditional marketing methods. By the end of 2021, global digital ad spend will reach $389 billion and is projected to fly by the $500 billion milestone in 2024.

The best part is, this growth is completely warranted when you consider all of the benefits that digital marketing has to offer. For publishers hesitant about dipping their toes in the digital marketing pool, let’s let these key benefits of digital marketing do the talking.

1. Digital marketing is scalable for publishing teams

Digital marketing is infinitely scalable because it exists solely on the internet (other than outer space, the most infinite place there is). This is great news for publishers, especially those who are building long-term relationships between their clients and their client’s audience. The scalable nature of digital marketing allows publishers to continuously expand the reach of their marketing efforts.

2. Social media and content marketing are cost-effective ways to grow media audiences

Another benefit of digital marketing is how much more cost-effective it can be than traditional marketing practices.

Strategies for getting the most bang out of your digital marketing buck include:

  • Embracing organic content
  • Repurposing or retargeting ads to different audiences
  • Digital marketing campaigns can be modified or optimized while in-progress
  • Email marketing as an alternative to paid advertisements

3. The most successful marketing is creative

Creativity goes a long way in digital marketing. It leads to higher engagement rates, an increase in shares, and helps your client and their work stand out from the crowd. Publishers who embrace the creative opportunity presented by digital marketing are able to craft more original advertisements and promotions than those who stick with traditional marketing.

4. Multimedia visuals are more engaging

Multimedia digital marketing is the combination of various different media types, such as:

  • Text
  • Graphics
  • Audio
  • Video
  • GIFs
  • Animation

Omnichannel marketing(opens in a new tab or window) across multiple platforms has shown to have 3X more engagement than single-channel strategy.

5. Publishing teams are finding success with digital channels

Digital marketing has quickly emerged as one of the most effective forms of marketing for publishers. The Huffington Post, one of the top digital publishers in the world uses digital marketing strategies like sharing visual content online to better reach and engage their 200M+ online readers.

6. Online marketing offers measurable results for publishers, creating opportunities for optimization

Measuring your digital marketing efforts is all about knowing which metrics to monitor(opens in a new tab or window). Because digital marketing can be as expansive or focused as publishers and marketing teams want it to be, consistent measuring is required to ensure all marketing strategies stay on track.

Some of the metrics to measure in digital marketing are:

  • Engagement
  • Impressions
  • Email open rates
  • Click-through rate
  • Cost per click
  • Social media likes, comments, and shares

7 digital marketing tools for publishers

Having a strategic digital marketing tool box allows publishers to focus on what really matters (their marketing goals), instead of getting bogged down while trying to navigate overcomplicated tools.

The most effective marketing tools for media teams are user-friendly, integrate with a variety of apps and platforms, and can scale alongside your digital marketing strategy.

Here are the top digital marketing tools for publishers.

1. CMS

Think of your Content Management System (CMS) as the backbone of your digital marketing. Within the CMS users can create, edit, and manage digital web content. CMSs act as the central location for your digital marketing content management and can be easily accessed by publishers and marketing team members.

Benefits of using a CMS include:

  • Easier collaboration between publishers and marketing teams
  • Built-in features and integrations with third-party tools
  • CMS platforms are secure

Canva for Enterprise is a CMS(opens in a new tab or window) for teams that provides the features and support growing organizations need to scale.

Canva for Enterprise features include:

  • Brand approval workflows that ensure consistent design
  • Brand management
  • Bespoke Canva design expertise
  • Real-time collaboration

2. Content creation platform

Content creation platforms are online platforms that supply the tools publishers need to create content for their digital marketing campaigns. The best content creation platforms come stocked with templates and stock images and allow you to upload a brand kit(opens in a new tab or window) with logos, colors, and fonts to minimize manual work. They make it easy for anyone, of any content creation skill level, to familiarize themself with the tool and begin creating content instantly.

Content creation platforms like Canva Pro(opens in a new tab or window) include built-in design tools like free elements and images, pre-made templates, team folders, social integrations, and more.

3. Content publishing tool

Once you’ve created your content the next step is to publish it. Depending on your overall digital marketing strategy and publishing goals, the content publishing tools you use will vary.

For example, if your marketing campaign goal is to boost awareness for your client on social media, then you’ll need a content publishing tool that integrates with social media platforms(opens in a new tab or window). The more automation and integrations in your content publishing, the more time to develop visual projects and engage with your audience.

4. Content strategy tools

Content strategy tools allow publishers and marketing teams to better understand their audience and create content that resonates with them.

Strategic marketing tools provide insights for effective campaigns and help to make sure teams are spending media budgets effectively. The best strategy platforms automate processes such as keyword research,audience targeting, and campaign performance analysis.

SEO apps

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) apps are keyword research tools(opens in a new tab or window) that help marketers create the most effectively designed and easy to find content possible. SEO apps are designed to boost visibility and increase organic traffic to your website or blog(opens in a new tab or window).

5. Project management platform

Project management software enables marketing teams to efficiently work on multiple projects at once, all from a single central platform. With so many short and long term goals, ongoing tasks, and deadlines to look out for, project management platforms(opens in a new tab or window) help to keep publishers organized and on track.

News rooms and media and entertainment companies have complex editorial and publishing calendars that require organization and more importantly, collaboration.

Benefits of using a project management platform for digital marketing include:

  • Seamless remote collaboration
  • Effective task delegation
  • Simplified file access, editing, and sharing
  • Increased productivity
  • Budget management

6. Social media management tools

Social media marketing can quickly grow into an untamable beast if not properly managed. Social media management tools streamline the process of publishing content and engaging with followers, and many are able to generate reporting and analytics for increased insights into the strengths of your campaigns.

Social media features to look for:

  • Social listening
  • Auto scheduling
  • Reporting + analytics

7. Email marketing platform

Email marketing(opens in a new tab or window) is one of the most effective forms of digital marketing. They generate an average of $42 for every $1 spent(opens in a new tab or window), which comes out to a whopping 4,200% ROI. Using an email marketing platform, publishers can write, send, and track emails from a single location. Many platforms also allow users to view metrics in real-time, like open and click-through rates for marketing emails.

Regardless of the tools you use for your digital marketing campaign, the most important part is that you are creating content that speaks to your client and their work. For more insights into how you can take your upcoming digital marketing campaigns to the next level, here’s Your ultimate guide to visual marketing(opens in a new tab or window).

To learn more about growing your franchise and building a lasting franchise brand, read:Managing the content revolution — how media brands are growing audiences and publishing faster.(opens in a new tab or window)

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