Imagine yourself scrolling through one of your social media feeds. Which of these are you more likely to notice?
- Lengthy text post about a topic you like
- Visually appealing infographic relaying the same information
If you choose the second one, you’re not alone. You are just like me (and 65% of all people) and you’re probably a visual learner. A picture is more likely to attract people. And people can process visual content much easier than text content, which is a phenomenon known as the Picture Superiority Effect.
In our previous article, we’ve talked about why and how visual content marketing is the star of your small business. I have outlined the key benefits you get out of producing visual content. I suggest you read that before pushing through on this article.
As content is evolving, gone are the days that only white papers are the secret to inbound marketing success, visual is becoming the norm. Not only visual content builds brand awareness, but people are also more likely to engage with your business that soon will turn to potential customers.
With that said, if your brand is struggling to get the best out of visual content marketing efforts, then you might find this article useful. You will learn about different types and examples; effective tips and ways for revamping your content with visuals.
First things first: What is visual content marketing?
Visual content marketing refers to using images which come in an appealing, engaging format to entice people to visit your website, know your brand better, or buy your product or service.
As a visual content creator, I believe that visual content will still be the bread and butter of both B2C and B2B content marketing campaigns in the future.
Now, this may seem like an obvious tip, but visual content creation starts with passion, creativity, and knowledge. Read on and discover what it takes to create content that will take your marketing campaign to the next level.
Table of Contents
Here’s an outline of what I’m going to cover in this article. If there’s a section you want to skip to, click on the link to that section.
- What is visual content marketing?
- 3 Questions to ask before starting visual content marketing from scratch
- 5 Types of visual content that work
- The wrong way to do visual content
- 8 Visual content marketing tips to get your brand noticed
3 Questions to ask before starting visual content marketing from scratch
Now that you have a fair idea of what visual content marketing is, the next step is to create a strategy. One of the common reasons most companies fail is that they lack a solid strategy. Here are 3 questions I usually ask myself before creating one.
1. What is my mission?
I’ve always believed that stunning visual content is not synonymous with effective content.
Mission-based marketing is all about creating content that talks about your company’s mission instead of your product. So I usually ask myself what is our mission? What is the purpose of my content? Is it solely to impress, or to catch attention, or is it to educate our target audience and to be perceived as thought-leaders in the industry?
These questions are important because if I put up visuals that don’t communicate our brand’s overarching mission or core values, more likely, I would just be producing another senseless piece on the internet.
“Your visual strategy should not only be a reflection of your brand, but embody it. A visual strategy is what brings your brand to life in all of your interactions and online engagements.”Paul Biedermann, re:DESIGN
2. What type of visual content do I want to create?
This depends mainly on the platform I intend to use to distribute our content. For example, on Instagram, it’s been more about images that will entice followers to view our site; or on Youtube, it’s all about video content that will provide entertainment to viewers. Moreover, if I want to make complex blog post topics as easy-to-digest as possible, I’d be focusing more on creating infographics. Whatever it is, I would recommend that you keep on testing all types of visuals to see what works best for your brand.
3. Will it be appropriate?
Visual content must be used with great care to enhance, not detract from, your content marketing and branding. It’s not enough to create an awesome visual, it should also be appropriate to the type of content you’re creating. Too often, marketers get enamored with creating striking images and forget about what they’re trying to accomplish.
For example, some marketers post confusing or poor-quality images that don’t look like they’re from the same brand or meet audience perceptions of the brand. It’s always important to really nail the color, theme, and design, though you’ll need to pay extra attention to making sure you stay consistent with your styling elements. Lastly, be sure to proofread. It’s also important to ensure the data you use is accurate, even better if that data is unique to you.
5 Types of visual content that really work
Visual Content Type #1: Infographics
Infographics just might be the epitome of visual content marketing. It is usually a collection of data presented in visual form. They’re more informative than a photo, more evocative than text, and like all good visual content, they’re easy to consume and share.
Many humans are turned off when they see data, which is very hard to visualize. Infographics are here to the rescue. It’s a brilliant way to convey tons of data in a fun and interesting way. Sometimes, one image or graphic is all we need to convey what we could have otherwise said in a very long article.
Just take a look at this infographic I made showing visual content marketing statistics.
The key to making a great infographic is to ensure your design and layout are optimized to create high-impact.
The combination of facts, fonts, shapes and colors you use should be EYE-CATCHING, high-quality, and interesting without being cluttered and confusing. In this case, I only used 6 specific colors which are pleasing to the eyes with readable contrast.
Visual Content Type #2: Memes
More so than before, we are seeing the rise in meme marketing in the digital sphere. Yes! Memes are more than just social trend or funny photos you send to your closest dudes. They are becoming a new way of marketing in business.
Memes have begun to influence a wider segment of the population due to their quick wittiness and hilarious sense of humor. What makes meme marketing so incredibly unique is their ability to communicate with attitudes, feelings, and situations within a digital environment.
Because of its success and extreme popularity, it comes as no surprise that brands are also jumping on the meme bandwagon. This means less promotion and more joining the humorous Internet conversations already out there.
Although, when you risk creating your own from scratch, there is no point memeing about something totally unrelatable. The memes you create must be in relation to your brand and its image, and of course, it should display a sense of humor that will make your audience laugh!
Visual Content Type #3: Photographs
The right photo will engage your audience better than just any photo. Marketers agree that visual content is critical for success, especially in social media marketing. So, make high-quality photos a strong point for your brand.
I strongly suggest taking your own pictures instead of using stock photos. A study has shown that people are more drawn to authentic photos– Stock images with people in them are largely ignored. I guess you already know why… But, real photos of people that work for your company, your authentic products, or your business adventures, gain the most attention even if they don’t look professional.
For example, the company Addictive Coffee Roasters frequently includes real photos of people in its Instagram posts which I find fascinating. Viewers are drawn to original photos, even if they’re not perfect images like we see in most advertisements.
The most important thing is to use high-quality images that match the theme and style of your brand and content. If this is not your thing, you’d really want a photographer with a flair for identifying the right filters for the right campaign!
Visual Content Type #4: Videos
There’s no denying it – video content is capturing everyone’s attention.
As recent research reveals, videos are yet to gain even more popularity. The reason being, they successfully capture and hold the viewers’ attention.
Video has exploded in popularity in recent years. Social media platforms are putting video front and center, and many audiences crave this type of communication over other formats.
If you want to get more exposure, publishing pre-recorded videos can give you the reach. They are very useful for highlighting customer pain points and showcasing the solutions you can provide.
You may start showing your expertise by creating a video tutorial, how to’s, or a short story that could provide value to your audience. OR, you may just resort to creating engaging and fun clips that create brand recall.
For example, these visual content marketing examples of the worldwide famous brands Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s are the perfect proof:
As much as photos can help give your content marketing a boost as a staple of your visual content, videos should be used whenever possible. Investing in engaging, educational, and entertaining videos can show you’re committed to providing a high-quality, valuable experience to your customers.
Visual Content Type #5: Digital Illustrations
My personal favorite! This technique can literally make my imagination go wild so that I can create plenty of exciting and engaging posts.
Depicting real-life objects or imaginations through illustrations is a fantastic way to make your content unique, fresh and likable.
Here are some illustrated visual content marketing examples I made and used for my previous content:
*Starting off with one my article covers…
to my comic strip to tell a story,
to an article’s table of contents!
And sometimes, I unleash my inner geekiness and relate it on my content.
There are also times when I feel like doodling to put a face in my brand,
or creating a flat image to follow visual style trends,
or just simply crafting a detailed illustration to express my ideas.
Whatever it is, illustrated content is a powerful tool that gives you the freedom to experiment and surprise your audience in a fun and engaging way.
The Wrong Way to Do Visual Content
I’ve spent countless hours ranting against the use of stock photos. Sadly, many brands out there are still more obsessed with showing off professional photos than with getting to the point of content marketing.
While there is nothing wrong with it, you don’t want your audience to think that you’re giving them less valuable content. Stock photos are not unique—they’re used by thousands of other brands.
However, in an attempt to scale up quickly, many brands are resorting to poor quality images or videos. Yes, I have mentioned that authenticity is a large factor in doing effective visual content marketing, but you also have to consider its outcome.
Some visual content mistakes I can’t help but notice are visual designs with overboard colors, terrible font choice, or worse, wrong information that tend to misrepresent your brand. Refining your visual content should be as intricate, if not more, as refining your overall content.
Just take a look at this example of a cluttered and poorly designed site:
This can hurt your brand in the long run. Many people get introduced to your brand through the content you create—it’s the first interaction. Although if you really suck at visuals, it’s best to seek advice from the professional artists or from the people in your team who has a flair in designs. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.
Bottom line, design can make or break a piece. A successful piece is born when visual details collaborate and work together on avoiding potential content pitfalls.
8 Visual content marketing tips to get your brand noticed
There are many aspects of content creation that influence its success. As you pursue visual content marketing, keep the following in mind to guide your creative process.
1. Do something unique and original
Data visualizations, original artwork, and authentic photos — these are surefire ways to achieve success in visual content marketing. Coming up with new ideas and thinking of creative ways to solve problems can really help you provide value to your audience.
Furthermore, creating high-quality original artwork, or turning images into artwork, can be a highly effective way to make your content more memorable. Just take a look at this crazy illustration I made for an article:
While thinking of something original for your next piece of content, don’t let your fears hold you back. Don’t be afraid to try something unique or do something you really want to do (as long as it’s appropriate and will not hurt your brand’s reputation). Sometimes, your crazy idea might also be a crazy good idea that will take you to the next level.
2. Do something experimental
As I have said, trying new things can be the next big thing that will work for you and your brand. Combining elements like images and text, or adding interactive media, or filming trendy videos can make your visual content more successful.
But unfortunately, things just don’t work out for you sometimes even if you do everything right. Just because one thing didn’t get the results you wanted, doesn’t mean you’re dead in the water. Visual content marketing is an ever-refining process. So, keep on experimenting!
3. Do something relatable
When you’re planning to choose a photo, create an artsy post, or film a video, think about the kind of content you could share that truly demonstrates what your brand is all about – the ones that will more effectively tell your story.
If you really want to cut through the digital noise and steal the limelight, try to grab the attention of users by using trending elements in your visuals. Great examples are viral memes that everyone could totally relate.
Keep an eye on what’s trending and incorporate the trends into your visuals. Just remember to use it smartly so that it does not feel unprofessional.
4. Do something someone did before, but better
While originality can get your brand noticed, you don’t always have to break new ground. Observe your competitors’ work or the highly applauded visuals around the web. If you can build upon or do something better than the “best ones”, why not?
I understand you might be tempted to use existing visual content because they are easily available and everyone is doing it. But if you really want your brand to stand out, you should take your own pictures or create your own images.
While you observe in a highly competitive market, you can see opportunities to improve someone else’s content and take your own shot at providing more value to the audience.
5. Improve your previous works
As you have already known what worked and what didn’t, it’s time to refine your previous works and make better versions of them. Check out if there is stale content that could use a makeover or repurpose some content that worked for your marketing.
Also, look at the content you have to see if you can get more mileage out of it. This is applicable especially if there are new data and studies out that could really interest your audience.
Remember to test different things, to monitor the results and to stick with whatever works for you. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to visual content marketing, so you’ll need to figure out what works for you and improve it.
For example, as I was exploring new stuff for our brand, I recorded a timelapse of my illustration on progress and decided to use it as a piece of content.
It goes to show that visual content can come in many shapes and sizes, you just have to be creative.
6. Express your weird imagination
Creative visual content can make all the difference in whether it is seen or not. High-performing visuals could be behind-the-scenes features, helpful infographics, or content that is part of an ongoing series.
As I do my article covers, I always consider creating something unique and artsy that will give my audience the idea of what the article is about. I encourage you to not be afraid to express your unique imagination and turn it into compelling content. Think outside the box and you will be setting your content to success.
This is an example of an article cover I made for my previous article (which I find extra weird).
7. Be consistent and remarkable
Every piece of content you share in the Internet is considered part of your brand identity, and you want your identity to be consistent and remarkable. In other words, no matter how the story is told, your personality and brand identity must not change.
Make sure you and your team are all on the same page about your brand’s visual guidelines and standards so your audience has a coherent, familiar experience with your content.
As human beings, we’re visual by default. That’s why creating beautifully made visual content can be a great way to build connections and to make your brand more remarkable.
8. Share your content across social platforms
Lastly, There’s no point in creating great visual content if you’re not going to market it. To achieve your goals it needs to reach your audience where they spend time and are open to your influence. One of the most effective ways is distributing your content through different social media platforms.
Example below is our instagram feed where I usually share my works along with our article links.
Social media cross-promotion helps you grow visibility for your content. If you create multiple images for your content, these images help you with more options to share your content and convey your message.
The importance of visual content marketing has been widely discussed over the course of the last few years.
Visual content marketing is already important today, but it’s going to become even more important in the months and years to come because of our ever-increasing consumption of images and videos.
As a visual content creator, I believe that the road to success is to seek improvement, not perfection, and to find your own voice. Just make sure it is appropriate and relevant for the audience you are targeting. Being creative and unique will easily set you apart from the competition.
Hope my collection and examples of visual content marketing fueled your brain with fresh ideas.