It might sound like a worn-out cliche, but humans are visual creatures. We are biologically wired to respond to what we see. Colour and movement capture our attention like nothing else and our vision largely shapes our idea of the world. Of course, marketers have long caught wind of this natural affinity. Visual marketing strategies take advantage of the associations we make with colours, shapes and symbols to strengthen a certain narrative and convey information in a more complete and memorable way.As a content marketer, how do you best make use of visuals? And how can you ensure your visual content marketing strategy has a meaningful impact?We’ll answer these and more questions in today's blog post on visual content marketing.
Using Visuals to Enhance Your Content Marketing Strategy
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content marketing strategy is the continuous process of planning, creating and managing content, either written or visual, to meet your business goals. A strategy informs any actions you take to reach your business goals. Without a strategy, you’re really just producing content for the sake of it. Having content strategy is essential to producing high-quality content that actually helps build and maintain connections with your audience.Your content strategy should answer the following questions:
- What are your business goals? How does your content serve those goals?
- What is your target audience? What content is of interest to that target audience?
- How will you source content ideas that meet your business goals and align with your branding and audience?
- What content formats are suitable? And which formats are you able to produce with the current skill sets of your team?
- How will you ensure that you stay on track and not fall prey to ad hoc requests for content that does not align with your content strategy?
Source: Gabrielle Merite @ behance
How is this Different From a Visual Content Strategy?
A Visual Content Marketing Strategy takes this concept and targets content to specific audiences through material that appeals to sight. Because visuals are not just nice to look at. They also:
- Help audiences understand your business venture,
- Serve your web optimisation goals,
- And help you maintain audience bonds by telling more compelling stories.
In other words, visual content marketing helps you stand out, cut through the noise, and truly impact your audience. The key to a successful content marketing venture is using visuals that attract your desired audience to their full potential. Understanding what makes your audience tick is therefore just as important as creating top-notch content. You have to know your channels, what type of visuals work best and what your audience will respond to.You see, visual marketing requires a solid strategy because it is complex - yet effective.
Source: Maryna Ryzhova @ behance
The Types of Visuals in Content Marketing
We’ve been talking about visuals quite a bit. What do we mean by that?Here are the main types of visuals we see used in content marketing:
One of the most effective types of visual marketing, videos can replace dense chunks of text and explain concepts more clearly. Videos have shown to be immensely successful at capturing the attention of users and conveying emotions. This makes video a prevalent form of visual marketing.
A picture still says more than a thousand words. When combined with written text, a single photo can make any blog post more worthwhile to read, and easier to comprehend. Not only that, people also retain 65 percent more information if an article is accompanied by a visual.
Custom-made illustrations help you communicate your message more organically whilst enhancing your brand messaging by giving it a personal touch.
If you’re trying to convey complex data and statistics, nothing is more effective than easy-to-digest infographics.
- Charts and data visualisations
If you have a lot of data to represent, charts and visualisations can help you distil information for a wider audience and get more people’s attention.
Benefits of Using Visuals As Part of Your Content Strategy
There are endless benefits to incorporating visuals into your content marketing!
- Visuals Drive Brand Awareness
Visuals inspire instant presumptions about a company - which can be beneficial if you know how to use them effectively. Giving your audience something to connect with, you’re making your brand more recognisable and deepening the bond between you and your customers.
- Visuals Establish a Bond with Customers
The correct use of colour conveys emotions and experiences that will positively affect the relationship between your audience and your business. The colour blue, for instance, is said to inspire trust and loyalty. This is why many companies use it in their branding - think Facebook, PayPal and Ford.
- Visuals Increase Customer Engagement
Eye-catching graphics or videos make every interaction with your brand more fun. Captivating the attention of your audience naturally leads to more shares, likes and comments.
- Visuals Improve Web Traffic
If you stick to your visual content marketing strategy, you will see that greater brand awareness and more customer engagement become natural drivers of more and more website traffic. Blog posts with visuals get 94 per cent more views than those without. As your visual assets become instantly recognisable on their own, you can use them as a doorway to your product pages when it’s time to close a sale.
Visual Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Visual content is an SEO booster, because it increases the time people spend on a page and increases the readability of content by making it easier to consume.How Do Visuals Impact Your SEO?
- Videos increase the time visitors spend on a page
Videos increase the time visitors spend on a page, a metric Google looks at in order to determine whether or not your content is relevant.
- Google rewards increased readability
Infographics break up content and invite users to scroll down the page. Since Google rewards readability, this will be advantageous to your SEO efforts.
- Google now looks at visuals to determine value
Google’s machine learning algorithms are getting better and better at understanding visuals, which means they can use images, videos and graphics to determine how much value a page offers users. Read next: The Anchor Digital SEO guide for smart marketers. How to Use Visuals to Boost Your SEO?There are a few ways you can optimise your visuals to best contribute to your SEO efforts.
- Choose visuals that add value to your content
The overall aim is to create a consistent experience for your audience. So don’t go overboard and add tonnes of images and infographics just for the sake of it. Make sure that any visuals contribute to the rest of the content.
- Optimise visuals before use
Creatives have to be optimised, too. There’s no point in slowing down site loading speeds with heavy images and video files. So make sure to:
- Choose an appropriate file name that includes specific keywords
- Choose the right format for its use (JPEG, PNG, and GIF etc.)
- Scale image to ensure loading times remain fast
- Add alt tags to your images
On the page itself, include appropriate, concise and captivating captions with each visual used. Captions are read on average 300% more than the rest of the content. How to Create Visual Content That ConvertsUnderstanding the importance of visuals is one thing, but using them effectively is another. A proper plan and strategy can help understand what visuals are appropriate for your audience and how they remain consistent in forming a brand identity. To get you started, follow these steps:
1.Create a brand style guide if you haven’t already. This will help you solidify your brand identity and values and align your visuals with your brand. We do recommend partnering with an experienced graphic designer that can create visuals with substance and excellent style. Related: The importance of creating a strong brand identity.
2.Understand your audience’s platform use, and tailor visuals to the chosen platform. A great visual content marketing strategy has the potential to boost your brand awareness and reputation by captivating your audience and encouraging them to learn more about you. But you need to know what speaks to your audience and how they tend to consume content before you start creating!
3.Start by repurposing popular written content into visuals.It takes an immense amount of research and a profound audience understanding to successfully incorporate visual content into your marketing efforts. A great first step towards integrating visual content into your marketing strategy is to look at what is already working for you. Adding shareable visuals to popular content, you encourage your audience to spread the word and attract like-minded users. If this sounds like a daunting task, consider hiring a professional content marketer to ensure you meet your marketing goals this year. The content and design team at Anchor Digital can help you strengthen your brand with imaginative visuals that put you in front of more potential customers. Give us a call at 07 3036 0994 or connect with us online to talk about your content marketing strategy. We’d love to hear from you!