How to create buzzworthy digital signage [+VIDEO]

Why settle for digital signage that no-one notices, when you can go from dull to dynamic  – and without incurring any big costs?! 

One of the biggest digital signage myths is that you have to spend a fortune to ensure that your online content is interesting enough for people to look at. 

While it’s true, that your content must be fresh and up to date, there’s no reason why creating an eye-catching lineup should be either time-consuming or cost prohibitive. It’s simply a case of starting out with the right approach, according to Jenny Hicks, digital signage expert and Group Head of Market Intelligence at Midwich, a multi-award-winning  audio visual (AV) and document solutions technology distributor.

Before you start designing anything, think about what content you intend to broadcast and why? If your only plan is to create a digital version of your notice pinboard, then you’re not likely to create anything worth seeing. You want to avoid, Jenny warns, “digital signage burnout”. This happens when viewers become so bored and tired of the same old, unoriginal content that they don’t even notice it anymore. Consider what information would be genuinely useful and/or entertaining for your viewers to see, and how you could present it in the most engaging way. What fits your brand and customer strategy? As Jenny says, it’s a good idea to sense-check any content ideas by asking yourself, “Is what I’m doing so common that I need not bother? Have I seen it elsewhere?” Always remember that even if you’ve seen something amazing – like a 20-metre digital waterfall tunnel, there’s no point trying to re-create what’s already been done. Moreover, being original and thinking outside the box is also likely to be less expensive than trying to emulate other brands’ big budget productions.

  • Find your inspiration

It’s not all on you to think of something original! There are plenty of affordable content support options that are specifically designed to ease the pressure and give you both the inspiration – and the tools to create a head-turning content lineup. Digital signage content management systems (CMS) can offer as many as 500+ content tools, including apps that enable you to use your own company collateral to create unique and on-brand campaigns – all without the need for any coding. Also, why not make the digital signage experience interactive by sharing on-screen QR codes that can be scanned? This is a great strategy for measuring engagement, but more importantly, it enables you to create an appealing call to action (CTA). For instance, you could tempt more people to sign up to your company newsletter by offering them a product discount or entry into a prize draw, if they scan the code and register via their smartphones. Digital signage closes the customer journey loop, enabling you to connect your online and in-store experiences to achieve a truly impactful and joined-up omnichannel strategy.

  • Context is everything

Think time, space, and place! One of the most important reasons why digital signage is so engaging is because you can broadcast information at exactly the right time and place, when it’s most relevant and interesting to viewers. This means that planning where your signage will be installed is key, as is the timing of what you want to say. If you want to celebrate an employee achievement as part of an employee recognition scheme, for example, then you’ll need to ensure visibility on every department floor, and schedule the shout-out, when you know all employees will be coming into the office.

  • Brand versus bland

Staying on brand is important, but as Jenny warns, it can also, ironically, work against the viewer experience, if it inhibits creativity, and makes the overall content look exactly the same, no matter what exciting news you feature on-screen. To find a balance between observing brand rules, and creating fresh-looking material, it’s often worth researching different designs and styles.=of content templates that are available with content management systems (CMS). These editable templates enable you to adapt fresh designs with your branding and logos. 

Another tip is to experiment with the angles of your branding. If you don’t have a lot of flexibility in terms of how you’re allowed to present branding, sometimes featuring it at different angles can add some visual interest. Not all viewers are likely to approach your digital signage square on, so this also has the benefit of enabling them to see your branding, whatever direction they’re coming from.

You can also mix things up a little by experimenting with the resolution of the content you deliver – for example by running any graphics-heavy content you have in 4K on a compatible screen. The eye-popping 4K visuals will give previously viewed 4K-ready content an extra lease of life with viewers.  Similarly, by adapting previously seen content, so that it can be run in either portrait or landscape modes will also help refresh it, simply by displaying and presenting it in a different orientation.

  • Smooth viewing experience

There’s no bigger digital signage turn-off than a screen that’s not working properly, or that displays an error or software update message. Broadcasting should be smooth and timely, and be an asset for your company, not a liability. One way to reduce the risk of a content mishap is to try out remote CMS scheduling functionality. This enables you to pre-schedule content lineups, weeks, even months in advance. You can also remotely schedule how long you want specific content items to run for and rely on the CMS to automatically remove them from the on-screen programming on pre-selected dates. Features like In-built tagging offer more support, making it quick and easy to post content simultaneously to all the screens in selected  locations.

  • Make content sustainable

The kind of content you deliver can make a real difference to your company carbon footprint. Think of the colours you use on-screen, for instance. Displaying white or colourful content will consume more energy than material designed in darker colours, for instance. It might seem like a small detail, but factoring in the efficiency of your content not only enables you to save energy, but also to reinforce the sustainability and green credentials of your overall company digital signage strategy.

For more tips on how you can create original content that people will notice, tune into the latest episode of Digital Signage Explored with special guest, Jenny Hicks from renowned AV distributor, Midwich.