If we talk about the early-SEO days, one could easily make their way to higher rankings with “all text – no visuals”. But if you are thinking you could succeed with this old school strategy today, then my friend you absolutely stand no chance.
Words aren’t sufficient today. It is mandatory to go a step further to delight, inform and engage the audience. Undoubtedly, content with visuals have a greater lifespan online.
With the increase of images, videos, infographics etc on various social media and content marketing platforms, many brands and companies have started discovering the power of imagery.
But why should you join them?
Let’s have a look at some of the why’s and how’s of visual marketing!
I have loaded this article with some techniques that will help you with integrating visuals in your content marketing strategy.
But before this, let’s take a look why is visual content really important?
Why is visual content important?
The following points fairly advocate for the importance of incorporating visuals in your content marketing strategy:
Stats prove that Brains conceive visuals faster than any type of content
Let’s begin the reasoning by looking at some statistics (as numbers never lie!). A study by Visual Teaching alliance revealed the following facts:
- Eyes can process 36,000 visual messages per hour.
- The sense of a visual scene can be felt in less than 1/10 of a second.
- 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
- Brain process visuals 60,000X faster than any text.
I guess these numbers are enough to convince you about the importance of visuals. With all the overload of information across the web and on social media, you have not more than the split of a second to grab the user’s attention. Using visuals in your content will certainly help you stand out of the crowd.
Visuals triggers Reaction
As discussed above, visuals are processed better and thus, they produce a faster and a stronger reaction than any other type of content. Visuals trigger user engagement and these reactions strongly influence information retention.
Visual stimuli and emotional response are linked together in the brain, which further combines to make memories (forgive me for getting a little scientific!)
These reactions can either be emotional in the form of surprise, shock, inspired etc or mental in the form of asking questions, asking for input etc.
Visuals tell a story
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words! Visuals are not only easy to comprehend or process but they also posses a quality to convey a story in an engaging and direct way. Visuals might be the best way to tell a story.
Also, visual storytelling serves as the crucial success factor for social media marketing.
One thing that you should remember while creating visuals is that it should be relevant to your brand, engaging and sticks to your marketing objectives.
Visual condense a lot of information
With faster-growing data and scope of knowledge, there is a lot of information that is available just with the tap of your fingers. Visual content is an effective way to help readers get a lot of information easily. People are able to respond better to any visual content than the plain text. There are several ways to condense all of your information like several media, such as videos, slideshows, graphs, charts, and infographics, into your blog in order to collect all information that you have and make it more attractive and reader-friendly. Visual content is always more appealing than the plain text.
Visuals increase Social Media Engagement
A study by AdWeek suggested that tweets with images received 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. People do not hesitate in sharing meaningful content and the best way to enhance your content/message is by incorporating visual content.
Thus, visual content can be utilized as a huge asset by marketers to draw a sharing response from users.
Now, that we know that why visual content is important, let’s discuss what types of visual content can be incorporated in your content marketing strategies!
Types of Visual Content:
- GIFs and Vines
How can I Incorporate Visuals in my Content?
Not every kind of visual included in your content equates. It is only successful when it is executed properly at the right place. Marketers should not expect a great change by just adding a stock photo to their tweets.
I have listed down the following techniques on how to use visuals in your content which I found really effective.
Include a Featured Image at the beginning of every article
Have a look at the screenshot below (it’s from one of our blogs) :
Always include an image at the beginning of every article. I would also suggest you to include the same image in the snippet section of your blog’s main page.
The reason, you may ask? Well, these visuals draw attention through catchy image up top to the content and increase the engagement.
Also, whenever you include any image on the top/left/right corner of your blog post, the width of the first few lines of the post tend to shorten, hence reducing the characters per line. As the social media expert, Derek Halpern puts it, “ Fewer characters per line helps people make snap decisions about text faster and easier.
Place an image after every 350 – 400 words
Basically, if the word count of your article is around 2000 words, you should place 5-6 images in your blog at appropriate places. Incorporating images at such regular intervals gives readers the time to analyze, comprehend and process the text. Generally speaking, it gives them a break.
This practice will increase the engagement level of the readers and give them a little time to relax while reading the blog.
Try and use various variety of visuals
Yes, images are not the only element that could be incorporated in your blog. There are plenty other elements which you could explore and exploit. I would suggest the following:
- 3D Charts and Graphs: This one is my favorite as it provides you a little space on the creativity front. Also, it is an easy way to communicate something. You can choose from a variety of bar chart, pie chart, world chart and so on.
- Stock images: These are not expensive and are easy to get. But I would suggest not to stuff your blog with these.
- Custom-made images: You can use your own screenshots or custom design your image. You can communicate your brand/product/objective more effectively using these type of images.
- Infographics: These represent the evergreen type. They are graphical visual representation of data and information. What better than this?
- Cartoons: Everyone enjoys a good laugh. What could be a better way to put things than a humorous way?
- Memes: This is a new trend catching fire. But be a little careful while using these. Use them only when it feels appropriate.
- Embedded tweets/ Instagram or Facebook photos/videos: They simply enhance the value of the content.
Add logo to your images, wherever possible
You can place your brand’s logo in all your custom images. Whenever you create your own image, infographic, always put your logo on it.
The above image is an infographic by RankWatch.
Once you create your own image, you own it. Now, anyone who uses this image, it will include your company’s/brand’s logo.
Make the most of Social Media
Social media is the greatest platform where visuals could be used to get the most effective results. The aforementioned statistics on tweets with images getting more retweets, clicks and favorites justify the above fact. Let’s have a look on which social media channels can you used to capitalize on visual impact:
Slideshare, owned by LinkedIn is an entirely visual platform. Getting approximately 60 million unique visitors a month, it is amongst the top 120 most-visited websites in the world. Millions of brands/companies are increasingly using SlideShare to share valuable information and data. This powerful tool is very helpful in generating leads.
While designing your slides, you could concentrate more on what your audience needs to know and not on what you want to say. Use some compelling visuals to narrate a story. Also, before uploading your presentation, make sure that you have included at least one call-to-action.
Instagram being used by approximately 200 million users, has gone from a selfie (broadly, photo sharing) platform to a global community of consumers and brands. Instagram is one platform where you can find photos from the farthest of places to the hottest trend in the fashion market with additional options like classic filters, tap to focus feature, 15-second option, providing an even better customer experience . This social media network provides an effective platform to create your own visual style and define your brand/product/objective.
This platform offers the most instant impacts on brands. To get the maximum out of it, chose your filters appropriately, hold photo contests using hashtags, showcase photos of your employees and office and so on.
Pinterest is a website which allows you to “pin” you all the things (images and videos) which you discover and like online. It is basically a virtual pinboard.
The benefits associated with Pinterest are tremendous; increased blog traffic, additional blog traffic, new leads and increase sales.
To get the maximum out of Instagram, add an on hover pin in button to your images, always greet commenters, make your pins inspiring, leverage your website’s images and so on.
Youtube aka the second largest search engine has seen the evolution from a video based website to a channel based website where subscriptions are of utmost importance.
A platform driven by customer-engagement, YouTube will do wonders for your whole marketing efforts if you use the right interaction channels such as the comment section, suggested videos, banner advertisements, and annotations.
You can also integrate your youtube channel with other platforms including facebook, google+, twitter to spread awareness and increase your subscribers.
Tools to create Visuals
Now that we have covered why is visual marketing important, what type of visuals you can create and how can you integrate visuals in your content, let’s go on to the part where we actually create the visuals.
I would recommend you to use the following tools:
This amazing tool offers you a variety of templates for creating professional looking images including, social media, facebook, A4, poster, facebook photo etc. You can also choose for creating the image with your custom dimensions.
You can easily create infographics in a few minutes using this tool. Piktochart offers a wide range of themes to choose from. Also, you can customize templates to fit your style and needs.
Wideo is a great tool for creating videos for social media, quickly and easily. You can start with it’s free version which offers you the option of creating a 45-second video.
This is a great tool for creating interactive content. It basically helps you in creating clickable images. You just have to upload your basic image and add little icons (Which will be displayed whenever the user will place their cursor on it).
These icons help the users visit any link, watch a video or simply read the message or text you have written.
This tool helps you create slideshows for your blog.It has a huge library of background images and great fonts. You can select any picture and add the desired text and make a beautiful slideshow in no time!
It has a huge library of background images and great fonts. You can select any picture and add the desired text and make a beautiful slideshow in no time!
These were my thoughts! I hope they helped you.
What is your take on visual marketing? Which strategy do you follow distributing visual content? Share with us in the comments below!