Have you ever seen a cave painting before? What about a petroglyph? A geoglyph? You may be wondering why we’re asking you this, and what these things have in common. Well, they were all forms of visual content used by early civilizations to convey information to onlookers. The oldest cave painting is around 64,000 years old, while writing was only invented in 3400 B.C. It’s because we had more time to evolve along with visual content, but a human being can process 36,000 visual messages per hour! This is opposed to being able to read only 15,000 words per hour--and that doesn’t mean you process all the words you read, either. So, it is understood that the utilization of visual content is an incredible opportunity for marketers. Let’s get into the practical details: what exactly is visual content marketing, what benefits and types are there, and how can you use it?
The visual content definition is simple. Visual content is any type of content, online, that is based on some sort of image. Visual content marketing is the usage of these visuals to convey a message and emotionally connect to the audience, all with the hopes of converting these viewers into customers. There are several distinct types of visual content, and we’ll get into that next.
“Visual content” is a broad term. Whatever you think would go under that umbrella already does. We’ll go ahead and list some of the most well-known forms of visual content here:
Charts and graphs
Of course, there are many more types of visual content that are not listed here. But these are some of the basics.
Visual content marketing is extremely beneficial for brands, whether they are business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). Visual content, as stated before, is easier to process than written content. But it is also easier to process than auditory content! Visual content is the easiest type of content for people to ingest. There are things that spoken and written content cannot do on their own--like conveying body language--that visual content can.
Visual content also tends to be more entertaining. For example, if you need to convey some statistics about playgrounds, you can put together an infographic, with a fun illustration of children playing in a sandbox. Looking at that pie chart or graph is much easier and more enjoyable than looking at a bunch of numbers alone. Visuals can aid in breaking down the monotony of something like a big block of informative text.
Visual content can also help to do things like heighten brand awareness. If you take that infographic about playgrounds and add your company logo and contact information to the bottom, that little factoid will forever be associated with your brand. So, whenever people search playground statistics and come upon your infographic, they will see your logo and become aware of your brand.
Shareability is also a significant factor as to why visual content is beneficial. With something like a photo, someone can save the image onto their computer. So, make sure your logo is on any original image you create! In addition, you can add social media buttons via a plugin to the bottom of whatever form of visual content you choose.
To use visual content in your marketing campaign, you must ask yourself the right questions. What kind of content should you make? What does your audience want from you? Who is your audience, and what types of content will appeal the most to them? These are just some examples of what you should ask yourself before starting your campaign.
Remember that quantity does not necessarily equal quality. Just because you can easily find a thousand stock photos of whatever you want to post doesn’t mean you should post them. You want to spend time on your visual content, first impressions are 94% related to the design of a website. And 75% of website credibility comes from design as well. So, the quality of your visual content is paramount to the impression people will get of both your brand and your company.
Remember to put your audience first when it comes to figuring out what to post. Don’t forget the emotional aspect of visuals. Human beings are driven by their emotions, so you want your customers to feel a connection to your visuals. Make sure whatever you create is emotionally stimulating for whatever demographic you are catering to. Again, that means knowing your audience.
Lastly, know where you’re sharing your content. You might know your audience, but you also need to know the platforms you are posting on, as well as how these two elements correspond with each other. Your audience on Twitter, for instance, might not be the same audience that you have on YouTube. Make sure whatever you’re doing is exactly what is needed for each different platform.
In the end, it cannot be denied that visual content is one of the most important aspects of any good marketing campaign. Now that we have gone over what visual content is, what kinds there are, the benefits, and what you should do when using content, you have a better idea of where to start. Of course, everyone struggles with creating content in the beginning, so do not fret if your visuals are not pulling people in immediately. Remember everyone must start somewhere. Now, go ahead and get to designing!