• Jill Marber

Visual vs. Traditional Content Marketing

Recently, the concept of Visual Content Marketing took over the world of marketing, and in this trend is expected to expand even more. What was once just the “graphics” and “content” departments are joining forces to create more stimulating tactics to engage target audiences. They do more than simply complement each other, as in years past. Visual Content Marketing is just as it sounds. Content that is also visual, and visuals that contain content. Interactive videos, fun infographics, quality photos, and sometimes quirky memes and cartoons give web users the information they need with a quick browse.

It used to be said (from us copywriters, of course) that content was king. The realization now is that content alone may not grab the attention and keep customers interested. It is believed that 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text (Source: Zabisco). Think about the last time you read, or wrote, a white paper. My guess is that it has probably been a while. Even though respectable content is still very much important, it is clear that images are working better these days for peaking interest and gaining notice in our content heavy society, however, you can’t always communicate what you need in just an image. By combining the two, your message will be transmitted faster and smarter.

Visual content is extremely important in our saturated social media climate. Most people would rather share, and view, an image than strictly content. For example, Jimmy posted a sentence that he ate spaghetti for dinner. Who cares? But, if Jimmy posts a photo of his spaghetti with his grandma’s homemade sauce, well, he may get some more “likes” and comments. What is important for your business is now that SEO is affected by social media engagement, having Visual Content to share additionally increases your visibility. Besides simply posting a photo and stating what it is, there are several creative ways that Visual Content Marketing can boost any business.

Social Media

There is a reason Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion. People are more attracted to images than simple text or links. Social media posts with visuals such as images, videos or infographics receive 94% more engagement than those with just text (Source: Steamfeed).

You may wonder how does a non-visual company’s marketing survive in a highly-visual world? When you think about it, most businesses are not inherently pictorial. Not every company is a restaurant that can share photos on Facebook of new menu items, or a boutique that can Instagram their latest trends. The majority of professional organizations sell products that are not all that exciting, or may offer a service that is thought of as run-of-the-mill. That doesn’t mean that these businesses can’t be illustrated. Any company, with the right branding and marketing vision, can have compelling, visual content.

Share Your Photos

It does not matter if your office space consists of rows and rows of beige cubicles. There is something interesting about your company that you can share on your collateral or social media. Take photos of meetings, conferences, work lunches, team building, new employees, and whatever else can add a personal touch to the business. If a big shipment is going out the door, snap a pic, share it, and let everyone know how successful you are. If you host a company anniversary party, take a few photos and remind your clients of how long you’ve been in business. If you want to get creative, add pictures of meeting notes and insert a quote about how great ideas begin, or discover something unusual on an employee’s desk and talk about inspiration. Find something quirky to post, even if your business is conventional.

Be Creative with Your Photos

So, now you have some great photos and you’re ready to post them, right? In some cases, getting creative with your photos even after you’ve taken them will garner more attention/likes/comments/etc. One example is to make a collage of your images which can easily be done with several apps and online programs. Add text on top of your image instead of adding it after the fact, or edit your photo to be black and white.

Make a Video

Including a video on your homepage or on social media is another way to increase visual identification and information. Taking it a step beyond still shots, videos are an excellent way to stay visual and maintain a level of professionalism and originality. Key employees can talk about the vision of the company, their goals, and projections for the future. It adds a personal element while giving viewers a sense of the company culture. Like photos, you can get as creative as you want. Adding animation or compelling stock footage can add components to your video that take it beyond deskbound, employee interviews. Videos should be to the point, serve a purpose and look professional. It is believed that viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video (Source: Internet Retailer).

Create Some Infographics

Infographics allow businesses to communicate their information quickly, creatively, and easily to their target and are some of the strongest pieces of marketing available. They are nice to look at, and just happen to provide some information along the way. Almost any business can have an effective infographic which can include charts, photos, statistics, calls to action and more. To take it a step further, some businesses are creating instructographics, an infographic containing instructions. If your organization has any “how to” tips, this visual tactic is extremely social media and blog worthy. Advertisers that use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those that don’t (Source: Unbounce). The audience knows what they are reading about before they begin because their eye scans the image first. This option can be used almost in any media, from brochures to your website.

Use Visuals on Your Website

Lastly, it is important to remember that visuals are not just for social media. They are highly effective when used properly on your biggest marketing asset, your website. A strong home-page banner photo will grab the attention of potential customers right away. It doesn’t need to be a photo of your exact office or product either. Clear, relevant, simple images make the best impression even if you are using stock photos. If you add a blog to your site, have a least one Pinterest-level image for each post. If someone shares the image, they also have a direct link to your site. Having a strong, image-aware brand can turn your business into a visual superstar.

Visuals with content allow you to give your audience something stimulating to look at through the masses of media content, while conveying the message of your business. No matter what type of visual content you decide to do, the rules of marketing are the same. Keep it simple, make it clear and make it interesting (to look at and to read). I still believe content is king…it just needed a face-lift.