Anyone with an internet connection can create and share content – visual or otherwise. This translates to a vast array of professional and amateur content, and a crowded environment. To stand out in any content marketing campaign, you must have quality, of course, but visual content can set you apart from the crowd.
Why visual content? 90% of the information the brain processes is visual. 65% of people are visual learners. And, when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. But, when that information is paired with a relevant visual, the three-day memory retention rate increases to 65%.
If you want people to remember your message, visual content is key. Creating a variety of visual content assets ensures you can reach a wide audience.
Photos and Images
Whether you take the photos yourself or get them from stock photo sites, images can break up the monotony of large blocks of text. The old saying goes, “A picture is worth 1,000 words” and it rings true, especially in the world of online content. Articles that include images get 94% more views than those that don’t – so you’re not doing yourself any favors by skipping them in your blog posts.
Where can you get high quality images for use in your projects?
The first three websites offer free photos under creative commons licensing. Depending on the terms of the license, you may be able to include the photo without attribution. The last three sites are premium photo repositories, where credit may or may not be required depending on the terms of the licensing and the way the photo is to be used. Most of the time, you can get the photos you need without having to pay for them, but you should never simply Google and take images from the results. If you’re not sure what the licensing requires, always provide credit to be safe. When looking for photos under creative commons licensing, if you’re using them for your business blog or any other related projects, you must make sure those images are safe for commercial use. If not, you are violating the licensing terms.
Slideshows or Presentations
If you’ve got something that would work great in a Powerpoint type format – then you can make it a valuable content asset for your brand. Thanks to platforms like Slideshare, it’s now possible to share those presentations with the world, making it even easier to connect with your audience. Research shows that presenters who make use of visual aids are 43% more effective when it comes to persuading audience members than presenters who do not make use of visuals.
According to a 2015 study, four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. 25% of customers lose interest in a company that doesn’t have video. Customers are nearly 50% more likely to read emails that include links to video. And 80% of customers say a video that demonstrates how a product or service works is important.
You don’t have to have fancy video equipment, or be a professional actor to do well with online video. You can use a smartphone or DSLR camera with a tripod as long as you’re in a decently lit area. It’s even possible to use screen capture software like Camtasia Studio or Screenflow to record video straight from your computer screen. Then you can use something like iMovie or Movie Maker to handle the editing. When you grow and can to invest more into video creation, then it’s okay to upgrade your equipment.
According to The Next Web, the ideal length varies depending on the type of video you’re creating, but you want to keep it as short as possible.
- Tutorials/Explanations: 45-90 seconds
- Creative Commercials: 15-59 seconds
- Crowdfunding: Average 2:30 minutes. This time should be used to create credibility for the project and provide depth about it.
- Testimonials: 60-119 seconds
Infographics are a wonderful way to visualize data that’s boring when delivered in a standard text format. It helps to make the information more appealing, which reduces boredom and helps keep people interested. It’s easy to relay information in this format, and makes it more memorable and persuasive.
When is the best time to use an infographic? If you have data that you want to share with the public, but it is best explained with graphs and pictures, then that’s the perfect opportunity. We’ve done a few infographics here at Sach’s Marketing Group, to help simplify long processes, like the Ultimate Social Media Launch Guide.
You don’t have to be a graphic pro to have a successful infographic. It helps to know one, but there are various tools online to help you build one on a budget. Take a look at Canva, Picktochart, and Vizualize for places to start.
If you’ve got a bit more freedom, consider using a platform like Fiverr or UpWork to hire a top-notch graphic designer to build it for you. You can write the script and include the sources, or hire a writer to handle that part for you.
When your infographic is ready, host it on your website or with a third party hosting platform, like Dropbox, Photobucket, or OneDrive. Include the embed code, which is the HTML code people can copy and paste into their own blog posts to share the graphic with their audience. This helps with distribution, and each time it’s embedded, there’s a link back to your website, which helps boost your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. If you want to learn more, take a look at my post about infographic distribution.
Screenshots, also known as screen captures, are an excellent visual to add to any tutorials or anything that is technical in nature. It’s nothing more than an image of something on your computer screen. There are many ways to take screenshots – the simplest being using the print screen button on your keyboard, and then pasting into a Paint doc. This only works in Windows, but what that button does is “copy” the screen image.
If you’re doing a blog post about the installation process for your product, then it’s a good idea to include screenshots of what each step looks like, so people can make sure they’re on the right track. Keep in mind, however, that if you update your software in anyway that changes the screen appearance dramatically, you should update the screenshots in the article accordingly to avoid confusion.
You can also use screenshots to document a timestamp.
Popular screenshot software options include:
- Snipping Tool (Windows, free)
- Lightshot (Windows and Mac, free)
- Jing (Windows and Mac, free)
- Skitch (Mac, Free)
- net – free online screenshot capture and editor. There’s also a desktop version, and app in the Google Play store.
Do you have a favorite quote? I have several…. And I’m willing to bet you do, too. Whether inspirational, motivational, or related to your niche, there’s a quote (or two, or 10) that you could find to share with your audience on social media. But simply typing out the quote with credit? Why be that boring when you could use a tool like Canva to create a stunning visualization that matches your brand colors?
You can tailor the quote your message, adjusting things like your color palate and typography to reach your audience and connect with them in a new way, leaving quite an impact. Plus, these images are highly sharable like memes. They’re easy to create, and have viral potential.
Meme was a term first coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins. The word was used to describe the phenomenon of an idea’s capacity to replicate itself into different meanings from person to person. Today’s definition describes images featuring humorous captions, and you can find thousands of them. If you can’t find one you’re looking for, you can use a meme generator to make one.
Though they began primarily as a way for college students to entertain themselves, memes are wildly shared across social media today, and have become an integral part of content marketing simply because it’s a quick and easy way to create visual content.
A word of caution: memes are not appropriate for every niche. When used correctly, however, they can set you apart from the competition and evoke positive emotion. If your brand is targeting a younger audience, then it’s fairly safe to say memes should be a part of your strategy. You can create a number of memes with jokes about your industry, to foster community while making people laugh.
You can find funny memes for any number of niches out there, but here are a few of my favorites from the realm of internet marketing.
Visualizations Make All the Difference in Content Marketing
The internet isn’t going to run out of content any time soon. And the written word will always have its place here, but adding visuals makes it a bit more fun and enjoyable, not only for the content creators, but for the readers, too.
Take a few minutes to think about your current content marketing strategy. Where are you already using visual content? What types of visual content are you using? How is your audience responding? Use the answers to these questions to determine what other kinds of visual content you could add to your next campaign. Test a number of different memes or quote cards to see what they respond to best before spending a lot of time and effort in asset creation. Try one infographic before investing resources into a full series.
If you’ve already got a killer visual content strategy, that’s great – but there’s always room for improvement. Share some ideas about how you’ll make your next one better. Tell me what kinds of visual content you’re using and how it’s working out for you in the comments below.