With visuals comes engagement in the hyperactive world of social media.
People love reading stories laced with visual materials to aid their imaginative understanding.
Visual long-term memory was studied in an experiment to measure the capacity of the brain to remember a piece of visual information. Participants, fourteen adults (aged 20-35), were presented with pictures of 2,500 real world objects over the course of 5.5 h. Afterward, they were shown pairs of images and indicated which of the two they had seen.
The performance was remarkably high for each of these juxtapositions: when the previously viewed item was paired with an object from a novel category (92%), an object from the basic-level category (88%), or when paired with the same item in a different state or pose (87%).
The obvious conclusion from these test results was that the participants were able to successfully maintain detailed representations of the thousands of visual objects after an initial exposure.
The summary is: if you want your information stick, put it in visuals.
People are already familiar with the benefits of using visuals in marketing their business online based on the steady rise of the use of visual content in the last few years.
So this post is not going to sing another lullaby on why you should use visuals, but rather how to get creative in your usage.
Especially, there are different types of images that you can use to ignite your blog content and pique interests from your blog readers. And given the fact that social media is becoming more of visual, this could as well have an advantage in getting people to share your content to these channels.
As you would expect, the magic with using visual cotent is to align these materials with the focal points in your blogs, to pique an emotional interest of your readers.
Infographic is often touted as one of the best content with the ability to drive tons of social shares and backlinks. You can set the pace for your “viral” content by producing more of infographic content.
With loads of content being published these days, it’s understood why people want to consume more of content presented in a compressed and digestible form like infographics. By plotting out the key points in your content in form of graphs and charts, and since most of today’s readers are skimmers, infographics have only helped to smooth their experience.
Though its potent power seems to have waned recently due to abuse by some un-savvy marketers who produce loads of poor quality infographics, you can still drive tons of traffic to your blog by creating an infographic that will stand above the racks, and of the burning issue. This will require you to animate your infographic as well to make your work stand out, since animated visuals tend to do much better than static images.
Here are the tools you can use for your infographic production.
Though you can pull off animated graphics using the above tools, these are the services specifically designed for that purpose:
Custom Made Images
These visuals come very much in handy if you are in a brand marketing that requires heavy use of brand properties (colors, signage, logo, etc.) in bringing your ideas to life. Essentially, every business needs to use custom images in their marketing.
Social media, blogs, emails, landing pages, and more, custom images can be of great value to your business in your brand marketing communication.
The only downside to this visual is that it requires heavy design skills which come at a great cost of hiring graphic designers. This could as well be a competitive advantage if you can master the use of some image software.
But if the use of image software is not something you can muster, ( I use Photoshop CS5 to create most of my custom images on this blog ) you can outsource to a professional graphic designer on these freelance marketplaces:
Since the power with a custom image is in the quality of the visual itself, you should make sure that the custom image you produce is something worth the weight of your brand. I really love this custom image from Authority Hacker
You can use any of these tools to create it yourself.
Stock photos are used by virtually every business online given their affinity value to content. For example, if you want to appeal your content to office workers, you can get more of office related stock photos into the content I.e. paper stocks, keyboards, computers, scanners, office desks, etc. These are all great visual content ideas in this sense. Same as someone in health, finance, or legal profession would use stock photos related to these fields to captivate their audience.
The greatest weapon of stock images, however, is their ability to provoke thoughtful reading from readers. People use these visuals to great effect to express their thoughts in different ways, there are many instances where people get creative with the use of stock photos to add more steel to their content.
Awe, shock, humor are all common triggers that people use to drive more eyeballs to their content using stock photos.
Since your readers see a lot of content every day, it will take something quite unique from you to really entice them to share your content. HubSpot has a huge collection of business-themed stock photos that you can use here
Just like how a storyboard provides a visual illustration for a story, screenshots are a great way to add visual interpretation angles to your content and validate your key points in the process which, of course, improves its social shares.
Since visuals induce firm understanding on the part of readers (as revealed in the above survey), the idea of shortcutting the creation with screenshots is a welcome prospect to any marketers.
Screenshots, being the cheapest form of visuals you can find online, take your work to the next level by providing visual illustrations to the key points in your content.
You can download a screenshot tool as a browser’s extension (especially, for Chrome users) and customize each shot to what you need to convey visual illustrations in your content. You should really be taking advantage of the numerous visual call-outs that are available through screenshots in your content.
Screenshots are a perfect fit for your business if you produce a lot of tutorial content, but the downside is that they hardly rank for competitive keywords in Google image search.
Create your awesome screenshots with these tools
What quotes do basically is that they add credibility and authority to content. Putting your quotes in an image will further reinforce on this point to your readers.
You can scale your content with quotes from other writers in your niche, then go to canva.com or other image software tools to dress up your quote in an image.
The good thing is that it is easy to find the great quotes you can use in your content. Simply type your keywords with quotes i.e. “(your keywords) quotes” in Google, then click on any results that seem a good relevant source.
You can use any of these tools to put your quotes in an image in a matter of minutes:
Charts and Graphs
The power of these visuals can be viewed from the data-driven perspective they add to content. Apart from their visual appeal, charts and graphs are a great source of facts and figures to consolidate the key points in your content.
The challenge with most people is how to find the charts and graphs that will fit their content style to convey more understanding to their readers. Since it is a challenge to some, then it is an advantage to proficient marketers who have mastered the skill of sourcing for right charts and graphs for their content.
As most often the case, one of the simplest ways to drive tons of social shares is to produce content that is furnished with data. More so is the staggering amount of over 2.5 million blog posts published per day, and that is only few of whom contained charts or graphs.
So, you are sure to reap the rewards if you have mastered your “charts and graphs” skills.
Compiling your data into charts or graphs isn’t that difficult (or time consuming) as most people would think. These are the tools you can use to do the heavy lifting
Simple and powerful, custom arts are a simple way to shortcut visual content creation for your blog. Using this method is powerful in the sense that it produces visuals with some similarity to the editorial makeup of your blog.
One of the biggest advantages with custom arts is how they can also serve as brand marketing tools for your business.
Since a typical custom art will include your business colors, logo and signage, this presents a unique advantage for your business in terms of visitors coming in who are already familiar with your brand through these arts.
Businesses using custom arts are known to have a firm engagement with their fans. Custom arts allow you to create a strong connection with your audience through the cohesiveness in the use of brand properties. You can also get creative in the process and improve your brand skills.
Co-schedule.com is one of such businesses known for their use of custom arts to promote their brand. They often use these artistic works to convey the key points within their content and furnish every blog post with visuals that resonate with co- schedule’s brand.
Here are the tools to emulate co-schedule’ styles
Whether it is a cross-section photo with business associates or an image of you speaking in a summit or being interviewed, the benefits of using personal photos in your content marketing are multipurpose.
You can use your personal photos to provide a memory tour of a project you are working on, or to showcase your weekly engagement to readers.
But, bear in mind that personal photos should be used with caution. You don’t want to disengage your readers with personal photos that are not related to business e.g like a personal photo of you in a birthday party with friends or when you are in a bathtub 🙂
It is left to you to know what’s off-limits and what is ideal to share with your readers. It is good to have a mixture of visuals anyway.
Whether you are looking to throw up some jokes in your content or you think humor is best to convey certain points, then you can use Memes to lighten the mood for your readers.
Memes are no different than ordinary images, but for the text that is overlaid.
You can create your own memes just by writing text on already found images. But you will have to be creative with the text to make a meme that will be popular.
You can gain ideas from existing memes that are already doing well.
One big advantage with using memes is that they are easy to find and you don’t need to create your content from scratch.
With a couple of searches in Google and social media, you can come up with a bunch of memes that people would like
Since you are conducting your search on social media, this tells about which memes to use to resonate with your audience.
Be sure to know the people you are marketing to before going about this visuals for your business. You want to be sure your use of memes is not counterproductive.
For instance, it is common to see young readers and millennials, who love to have fun with their time online, chimed in with meme content and delivered a dose of it to their friends on social media and forum conversations. The baby boomers might not be so impressed with such tactic.
It boils down to the level of understanding that you have cultivated with your audience to know what is the right match.
Nevertheless, memes can bring a new level of enthusiasm from readers which freshens up pallid eyes and drives hordes of social shares.
You can begin your research for memes from this site.
Visual Step by Step Instructions
This is a simple way to arrange key points in your content in chronological order that makes it easy to understand. Visual step by step is similar to what a typical infographic will like look but differs in terms of form (one is image, one is graphic) and arrangement (infographic is not necessarily arranged in chronological order).
A visual step-by-step means picturing each stage of your content journey progressesively right from the starting point to the finishing end. A good example of this visual is step by step instructions on how to prepare a dish
The fact that this method is scarcely used is another good reason to give it a try. You only need a small skill in picture-merge to come up with such visuals, and of course with the right tools by your side:
Over to you,
What visual marketing tactics have you tried before, and what are the impacts in your results? Do you think any other visuals or tools should be added to this list, let’s hear your views in the comment box below?