Harness the Power of a Great Visual Content Marketing Strategy

Jonatan Parski CEO

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Harness the Power of a Great Visual Content Marketing Strategy

Vision is the primary channel through which humans perceive their environment. But there’s so much visual information about the environment constantly bombarding us that we are only able to process a small fraction of it. When visual content is salient, that means it ‘jumps out’ at you from all the other content in your visual field.

In the history of our species, salient visual content alerted us to approaching danger, or to the presence of resources like food or shelter that helped us to stay alive. Therefore, all humans have instinctive, automatic reactions to the type of visual images that indicate resources or danger are present.

In this article, we’re going to look at how powerful visuals can empower your content and make it more effective.

The Power Of Images In Content

The main thing that makes visual images salient is when there is a strong contrast between a certain image and its surroundings. If most of the background consists of neutral colors, then a colorful image will stand out strongly – but if the background is colorful, a neutral-colored image will stand out.

The salience of images is also affected by the interests or concerns of the individual. For example, if you are looking for your gray shirt in the laundry basket, gray items will jump out at you more, even though they are not brightly colored.

Therefore, strictly speaking, salience is not just a property of the visual content itself. Rather, visual content becomes salient because of the relationships among that content, other content nearby, and the individual who is perceiving that content.

However, although the salience of visual perceptual items does depend on things like whether or not you are specifically looking for a gray shirt in the laundry basket, highly salient images still grab your attention regardless of your personal concerns.

That’s why it’s so important to get the right amount of the right visuals in front of your audience so that it can have the maximum possible impact.

The Power Of Images In Content

The viewer’s attention is immediately attracted to the red bar because it contrasts with all the green bars. 

Visual Content Marketing

In addition to contrasting colors, another thing that can make visual content salient is motion. If most of what you see in front of you is stationary, and only one thing is moving – OR if most things are moving, and only one is stationary – that thing will ‘jump out.’ Even the orientation of items can affect salience.

For example, if you have an array of horizontal bars, and only one bar is vertical, that bar will jump out. In visual content marketing, you could apply this principle to people and objects as well: as long as there is some visual characteristic that most of them share, any ‘odd man out’ will become more salient.

When you use the right content creation as part of your visual content marketing campaign, there are three main ways in which you can benefit from visual content marketing.

Steps in content creation process

Firstly, images are more visually appealing than text: images not only catch your viewers’ attention, but also engage their interest more.

Secondly, the process of interpreting images is quicker than the process of interpreting text.

Finally, images tend to be remembered more easily, and for longer, than other content creation in visual content marketing. 

Types of visual content

Images and videos are the primary visual content examples you will use during content creation, but a bit of out-of-the-box thinking can be needed to really make the most of your visual content marketing campaign.

Be creative! You can create many kinds of content marketing graphic, including, but not limited to:

  • Infographics
  • Graphs and charts
  • Annual reports
  • E-books
Types of visual content

This kind of visualization for content creation is much easier to take in at a glance than several dense paragraphs of text. 

How visual content marketing can solve your problems

The term ‘visual content’ covers many different formats, which makes it very versatile. There are no limits to how many creative ideas you can have about how to use different visual content examples as part of your overall visual content marketing strategy!

Repurposing the same content for use in future content creation campaigns can help you save both time and money, without compromising on quality, or if you want to try your hand at content creation, there are many free content creation tools available to get you started on the right track.

You can also purchase social media content services or infographics and visual media services if you’re looking for a more professional touch in content creation.

How visual content marketing can help your brand

The right content creation marketing can help your brand transition from average to exceptional. When you use e-books, infographics, videos, or similar visual content in your marketing strategy, you are providing valuable content to your visitors, and you can be sure they’ll show their appreciation of that in their loyalty to your brand.

Both online and offline visual content marketing platforms are increasingly harnessing the potency of visual content. Don’t forget about your written content creation, because that’s still important – but the way you use visuals is going to be what really makes a difference to your monthly search volume. Pages with the right visuals typically get nearly twice the views that text-only pages get.

Social media platforms

Social media users react especially well to visual content. Tweets with photos or videos get around 30% more views, and online video content creation is particularly effective in getting more viewers for Facebook posts.

Everybody knows that if something isn’t on Facebook, it didn’t really happen. 

Lead generation is the ultimate goal of any marketing campaign, and the best way to generate leads is to provide high-quality content that has value to your viewers. High-quality content that has value to your viewers needs to include plenty of visual content.

For a brand to succeed, a team of capable and committed employees is a must. High-quality visual content helps show off the work culture and environment of your company, so a good visual content marketing strategy can even help attract new talent.

How Buyers Interact with Visual Content

From the point when somebody starts thinking about buying something, every customer proceeds in a broadly similar way.

Interactive steps

First, they need to get a sense of what’s available.

Next, they need to realize the respects in which some products or services may be different from, and better than, others.

Finally, they need to weigh up all the information they’ve come across, and judge which product or service best fits their needs. Visual content marketing should be tailored to each stage of this process.

The Awareness Stage

To ensure that potential customers, trawling the internet looking for ideas and information, find your page first, you need to maximize your SERP (search engine result pages) ratings.

Research your keywords properly, so that search engines will give your page a high search engine ranking. Just as importantly, design an eye-catching page that will draw your visitors in, increasing the organic traffic to your site.

The Awareness Stage

Site traffic is the underlying goal of all content marketing. 

This is where eye-catching visual content marketing can give you a big competitive edge. Use the principles of contrast and motion to direct visitors’ attention where you want it.

At this stage of the process, you want potential customers to be saying to themselves, “That looks interesting! Let me give it a click.”

The Consideration Stage

In the consideration stage of the customer’s search, eye-catching visual content is less important. Your customers’ attention has now been caught: what they need next is information.

But it’s still not a great idea just to write pages and pages of text, even if it’s very informative. The customer needs information, but information that can be digested quickly and easily.

The point of the information is supposed to be to make it easier to compare the different options available.

Your visual content marketing needs to reflect this. Bullet points and simple diagrams (with arrows, highlighting etc.) can be used effectively at this stage.

Graphs, charts and other infographics can also convey the info you want to get across, in a clear, easy-to-understand format.

The Analysis Stage

At this stage, your customer is ready to make a commitment. Customer feedback or other examples of your product or service being used successfully can work very well.

Not surprisingly, visual content marketing can be key at this stage, because relevant images are so much more eye-catching than text.

The Purchase Stage

When your customer has made a decision about what product or service to purchase, the next step is actually purchasing it.

Product demos work well during this stage – or if you are selling a product on a website, this might be the stage where you’d need to think about the actual mechanics of making a purchase.

Is it easy for your customer to see at a glance where to click and what details to fill in, in order to make the purchase?

The Purchase Stage

All sales processes follow similar steps. 

How to Create a Winning Visual Content Strategy

Perhaps you could say that any visual content at all is better than nothing – but not all visual content is created equal.

Steps for success

When you get started on your visual content creation process, there are a few steps you should definitely not leave out if you want really engaging content. Here are four of them:

1. Identify your goals.

When you engage in visual content marketing, the point is normally to get people to take action. Most likely, after they’ve viewed your content, you want people to click your link or purchase your product.

If you have a well-defined goal such as “Encourage people to click the FIND OUT MORE button,” you’ll find it easier to come up with visuals that work towards that specific outcome.

2. Identify your target audience.

The more targeted your visual marketing is, the more effective it’s likely to be. Think about what type of viewer you are trying to reach. What type of content is likely to appeal most to those viewers?

Also think about the levels of knowledge those viewers may have. What do they already know, and what do you still need to tell them?

Market research techniques are very advanced in this day and age, so you’re likely to find a wealth of information out there.

3. Identify your best visual content marketing channels

You can do as much research as you like into which type of content is most eye-catching and you can create the most amazing content marketing visuals – but all your effort is wasted if nobody sees your content.

Basically, your options for publishing your content fall into three categories: channels you own, channels you’ve earned, and channels you’ve paid for.

Your own channels are your or your company’s websites and social media posts, as well as things like newsletters or email circulars. Be sure to keep these pages up to date, and complement the text with well-chosen visual content.

Channels you’ve earned are things like professionally-published books (which will appear on the publishers’ websites), or influencers you’ve managed to get on your side.

Finally, if you’re willing to pay for it, you can get sponsored content or posts published almost anywhere you’d like. Choose carefully, using the same principles you used when deciding what type of visual content to develop.

4. Identify partners for your dream team

When building your team, think about the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to get on board. You will also need access to the right resources and infrastructure, which you might be able to get via your partners.

If not, paid services or an agency might be your best bet. Here are a few points to keep in mind, whatever option you decide on:

In-house:

The main thing to keep in mind when creating visual content is not which people you want, but which skills you need. Obviously personalities also make it easier or harder to work well as a team, but the skills people have is the main thing to think about.

Outsourced:

Engaging a professional web content writing service can remove a lot of potential stress from your workload! A reputable and experienced visual content marketing agency will breeze through tasks that your own team might struggle with.

Even if you hire the best agency in the world, remember, everyone is human, and everyone can sometimes make mistakes.

That’s why it’s a good idea to keep yourself informed about how every aspect of the project is coming along, so you don’t get any nasty surprises after it’s too late to change things.

Expert Advice

Images help make your site stand out, but there are many, many different types of images and ways to use them. You have to think both about what kind of images are best for your purpose, and how you can use them to maximum effect.

Although trends in visual content marketing come and go very quickly, a few basic principles have stood the test of time, namely:

Use Attention-grabbing Images

This is another way of saying ‘use salient images.’ Create saliency by showing action in your images, including plenty of images of people (and especially of their faces), and by using contrasting colors effectively.

However, you also need to think about your audience, and what is likely to be more salient to that specific group.

Salient images

One thing that’s true in just about every visual content marketing context is that, in most cases, photos are the most salient type of image you can get. And it’s easier than ever before for everybody to snap photos of everything – you don’t even need an actual camera, as long as you have a smartphone.

All the major social media platforms make it very easy to share photos from your phone directly onto your page, so plan on using plenty of photos when you start creating content.

Salient images

Life seen through the lens of a smartphone camera. 

Use Representative Images

Underrepresentation of minority groups has received a lot of attention, and is therefore much less widespread than formerly.

However, this is still an important point to keep in mind during content creation: people identify better with others the more things they have in common.

That doesn’t mean that you have to try and figure out a way of having black people, white people, Chinese people, males, females, children, and all the rest, all in the same piece of web content – but the better each piece of content reflects the audience you’re aiming at, the more impact your visual content will likely have on them.

Make Use of Consumer Content

Everybody loves taking selfies, and posting pics of themselves and their friends – and the best types of visual content creation are carefully crafted to incorporate this great resource.

Every time you are able to create visual content that incorporates user generated content posted by your customers or fans, you’ll make that content stand out, and draw in traffic from different platforms.

Harness the power of emotions

In a 2003 review article, leading neurobiologist Jaak Panksepp discusses the purpose of emotional states in the history of different species.

He claims that the key function of emotions is to motivate organisms to act immediately and strongly to ensure their survival.

For example, if there is danger, the organism must feel fear, and that will motivate it to escape as quickly as possible. If the organism finds something that gives it a good emotional feeling (like food, shelter, or a social group), then it must stick around, and benefit from those resources.

Create actions

Panksepp’s idea is supported by Bjorn Merker, who gives the example of respiration (breathing): As long as everything is as it should be, breathing is unconscious (in the sense that you don’t have to keep thinking ‘Breathe in, 2, 3, 4, out, 2, 3, 4…’). But when something goes wrong with your normal breathing, like if you choke while eating, you immediately start to panic.

According to Merker, the emotional feeling of panic is what causes a person (or other organism) who is choking to act immediately to try and clear their airway, before they pass out from lack of oxygen.

These kinds of instinctual emotional responses could be what make the difference between life and death, so it’s no wonder they’re very powerful. When you use emotional types of visual content as part of your visual content marketing strategy, you can harness this same powerful motivation.

Create actions

Images showing emotional faces are even more powerful than other images – even other images of faces. 

Employ Good Design Principles

Even if you’re using specialized tools to help you with your content creation, there’s still a right way and a wrong way of using them.

As the brains behind the content creation process, you need to ensure that the way you use different types of visual content is in line with tried and tested good design principles.

Steps in visual saliency

Here are four of the most important things to keep in mind if you want to create good visual saliency in your content:

Neutral colors:
Ensuring that your images always have enough space is vital. A neutral background behind the images helps make those images stand out. Even if your visual content is really awesome, it won’t have its maximum effect if it’s too crowded with other content that distracts attention away from it.

Color-coding:
Very often, a brand’s visual content strategy will include the use of trademark colors. Feel free to stick to this color scheme in your visual content marketing, but never take it to extremes. If your brand’s colors work well together on your website, great – but don’t try to force the issue if they don’t.

Loading speed:
The big problem that often has to be overcome in visual content marketing is that really good visuals take too long to load. Sad but true. However great your visual content may be, if it takes too long, your viewers are not going to wait for it. Cut your losses and use slightly simpler content that still does the job, but at a better speed.

Typography:
Don’t underestimate the importance of the look of actual text in your content creation. There are so many fonts available that you really can’t afford to use a font that doesn’t match your brand vision. The size and weight you choose for your text are also critical, since bad decisions in these areas can detract from the message you’re trying to convey.

Steps in visual saliency

It’s not only the meaning of your text that’s important: the visual appearance of the font you choose can make a big difference. 

Conclusion

Whenever you’re doing any type of visual content marketing, the first thing you need is always salient imagery that will grab viewers’ attention.

There are at least four basic steps you should take when creating your visual content strategy: identifying your goals, target audience, marketing channels, and partners.

This article has also provided four top tips for creating a winning visual content marketing strategy: grab your audience’s attention, ensure images reflect your whole audience, harness the power of emotions, and employ good design principles.

However, if all this had to be condensed into a single point, that would be salience: for successful visual content marketing, you need visual content that stands out.

Follow our guidelines, and you’re all set to start creating the best visual content marketing strategy ever!

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Chantelle

Chantelle started her career in IT before eventually finding her way into Marketing. This eventually became her passion, along with Digital Marketing, SEO, and Brand and Web Development. Today, she helps businesses find their voice and grow online.

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