If you've never worked with visual media before, using an electronic message board can be difficult. There are a number of constraints on your message that aren't an issue when dealing with other forms of communication. That's because the screen has limited space, and you're targeting people who are going to see your message in passing. You'll need to make sure your display is both efficient and effective as a result.

Fortunately, all that's required for you to create effective electronic message board content is to keep a few key points in mind. Even better, if you've ever worked with office presentation software, you probably have some beginning experience with these concepts already.

Choose a Specific Focus

The biggest mistake people make when planning content for their message board is being too vague with their message. On the internet, 17% of all page views have a duration of less than four seconds. When the average person is walking to another location, you can expect their attention to be similarly limited. It's crucial, therefore, to have a clear focus for your message board that people will grasp immediately.

For example, take the concept of workplace safety. Instead of stressing the importance of workplace safety and then offering tips, cut right to the tips. Or, even better, attach a single safety tip to a common situation that your employees encounter. If your employees or clients can grasp the main takeaway from your message board quickly, it's much more likely they'll retain some of it.

Learn to Love Infographics

Marketers have known people respond to pictures and visual media for a long time. In fact, 40% of people indicate that they respond better to visual media than to plain text alone. On top of that, the same research shows people are 30 times more likely to read an infographic completely than they are a text-based article or message.

This means your message board should incorporate some visuals. In fact, one of the main advantages to electronic message boards is their ability to display dynamic images. That said, you should likely avoid complex infographics that cut and fade to new information over a long period. Remember, you're still trying to be focused and precise with your communication.

Cycle Your Content Frequently

If your content is properly focused, it probably doesn't communicate nearly enough at one time. In fact, you might feel as if you're not utilizing your message board to the fullest extent by communicating in this fashion. The answer to this problem is to update your board frequently.

The easiest way to do this is to choose a theme around which your content cycles for an extended period of time. For example, if workplace safety is your theme, you might show a graph of accidents over the past year for a day, then exchange that with a tip addressing the most pressing category of accident in your business. However, establishing a theme makes it simple to create additional supplemental content while maintaining the general communication focus that you wish to address.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't reuse cycled content. In advertising, the old rule of seven states that a buyer needs to see an advertisement seven times or more in order for the ad to be effective. Whether you're communicating with employees or prospective customers, you should carry the same guideline into your message board use strategy. Because of this, a month's worth of thematic content could consist of four or five pieces--making the cycling process easier to manage.

No matter what approach you take to utilizing your electronic message board, keep in mind that any type of communication is better than none at all. So, don't feel afraid to experiment with these concepts to determine which approach works best for you and your audience.