Screen-shot of content manager for Wayfinding
Image by um.dentistry
Screen-shot of content manager for Wayfinding
Screen-shot of content manager for Wayfinding
Image by um.dentistry
Content is king, so the saying goes. 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 businesses often turn to outside creative agencies or full-time in-house creative resources to build the graphics, text, video and effects that capture viewer interest and hold attention.
Small businesses, too, recognize the benefits of digital signage but often lack the time, money and personnel to create fresh content on an ongoing basis. Fortunately, 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 a preceding column on this topic, 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 creative resources; 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 graphics arts students from local community colleges and universities. Both paid and non-paid internships are a staple of the college experience, and local colleges and universities offering graphics arts 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. But for a small business with a marketing manager who’s able to invest the time to direct a student, offering an internship to a graphics arts student to create fresh digital signage content can be a winner.
Tactic 7: Select digital signage software carefully. How difficult is it to use? Does the software use a timeline or Web browser-type interface? Companies with limited time to devote to digital signage content creation should carefully evaluate how easy content creation software is to use. Additionally, remember digital signage software tasks often fall into a handful of major categories, including: content creation, scheduling and management. Sometimes there’s an overlap among these categories. Be sure to consider the learning curve and ease of use for each.
Tactic 8: Leverage existing maps, architectural drawings and other non-promotional information. The good news for small and large businesses alike is they’re probably sitting on a mountain of existing material that can be repurposed for use as digital signage content. Often 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, a graphics arts intern should be able to make quick work of repurposing these sorts of resources as digital signage content.
Tactic 9: Subscribe to a data services for news tickers, sports scores, weather conditions, stock data and more. Cable news channels aren’t the only media entities that can crawl text across their screens. Businesses employing digital signage also have access to these resources. Best of all, unlike cable news channels that seek to offer a broad range of news headlines, businesses can subscribe to feeds that more narrowly match their areas of endeavor. Doing so will make the digital signage content relevant and elevate the stature of the business in the minds of those viewing the signs.
Tactic 10: Add video from a Webcam or weather camera. Many digital signage controllers make it easy to integrate video from a live video camera. Imagine the possibility of a retailer at a ski resort using this capability on its digital sign to show the length of lift lines or views from a mountaintop lodge. Or, those responsible for signage at an airport might wish to integrate video from a camera mounted atop the control tower to display takeoffs and landings. Like integrating off-air or cable TV, Webcams and weather cameras offer a regular source of fresh content without having to devote personnel to the task -aside from setting up the camera in the first place.
Using some or all of these tactics can reduce the burden creating fresh digital signage content places on a business. After all, businesses deciding to add digital signage are doing so to advance their success, not to create a distraction that can become an impediment to success. Any approach that can keep content fresh without taxing limited personnel and financial resources will prove in the long run to be an important element of succeeding with digital signage.
www.signagetemplates.com | 866.310.4923 Choose from hundreds of professionally-designed templates for your digital signage projects. Ranging from Restaurant Menu Boards, to Office Signs, Lobby signage, Hotels and Hospital Public Signage, Mvix offers an easy-to-use, web-based template editor for drag-and-drop publishing on digital signage screens. Contact 866.310.4923 for additional information.
Digital Menu Board content created for The Hideout Cafe at Calypso Cove, Barnsley.
Using pirate themed apparel we created 7 fully animated digital menus which fit in with the themed cafe.
For more information about our Digital Menu Boards and Content Creation service please click the following links:
Here is a remarkable statistic published online by USA Today’s Technology Live website in October 2010. As of that date, there were 6.8 billion people in the world, 1.96 billion Internet users and 517 million Facebook users.
As Byron Acohido, author of the piece noted: “Put another way: about 7 percent of the world’s humans are on Facebook.” Just over a year later, Facebook notes on its statistics page that there are now 800 million active users of the social media network.
How many of those Facebook users carrying smartphones will visit somewhere that relies on a digital sign? One can only imagine the number for a particular venue. But consider this: Facebook’s statistics page says there are 350 million users who actively interact with Facebook via their smartphones. So it’s a pretty safe bet that the closer the demographics of the audience for a digital sign match those of typical mobile Facebook users, the more likely there’s a vast opportunity to be realized.
The likely proximity of a smartphone to a digital sign creates an important opportunity for anyone communicating via a digital sign who possesses a bit of an imagination and a willingness to experiment. Consider a noisy environment, such as a popular bar, dance club or even certain restaurants. Could designating on-screen real estate of a digital sign to a special Facebook page, give a business owner a way to help patrons connect with one another on screen and in so doing cut through the noise, attract the attention of customers and promote goods or services in other zones on the sign?
Leveraging social media in this way could be as simple as giving patrons a virtual bulletin board on which to post vetted observations and pictures or as complex as giving them a way to play bar games, like trivia, with one another. Imagination, budget and creativity would seem to be the only limitations.
The good news for small businesses looking to take advantage of this opportunity is many are already quite familiar and fluent with Facebook. According to the quarterly Merchant Confidence Index released in February 2011 by MerchantCircle, 70 percent of local merchants are using Facebook for marketing -up from 50 percent the preceding year. In fact, MerchantCircle, among largest social network of local business owners in the United States with more than 1.6 million members, found Facebook has passed Google as the most widely used marketing method for local merchants.
In addition to its wide use by local merchants, the rapid growth Facebook saw over the past year saw among merchants is positive. It appears to indicate local merchants have proven themselves to be quite willing to explore the potential of this social network. Thus taking the next step to integrate a Facebook page as digital signage content doesn’t seem to be too far of a stretch for merchants with a knack for the platform.
It’s also important to note that Facebook isn’t the only social media platform that can be leveraged for digital signage content. Twitter, too, easily fits into the same mold as a convenient way to let patrons publicly interact with one another on a digital sign via their smartphones. Like Facebook, Twitter also is familiar to local merchants. The Merchant Confidence Index found about 40 percent currently use the platform, which is up from 32 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009.
As business owners, outside creative agencies and internal graphics departments consider what digital signage content to present to the public, they would do well to remember that adding engaging, attention-grabbing element to their digital sign may be no further away than a Facebook page or Twitter account.
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