What comes to mind when you think about content marketing?

More often than not, you will visualize a blog post that contains a few complementary images. As the world of content marketing changes, the question becomes whether or not this is the only form of content marketing worth investing in? In this age of information, where copious amounts of data, statistics, facts and more can be received through a variety of media, is it smart to rely solely on informative blog posts? Visual content marketing is becoming increasingly popular and useful for companies that want to deliver the right information to their current or potential clients in a fast, informative and fun way.

Content marketing is about providing your audience with valuable information in a format that suits their habits and needs. Visual content – infographics, memes, images, videos, graphs – enables you to engage your target audience through more channels. You may have an audience segment that is looking for answers fast – think millennials, business professionals, and working moms. Your great 1,000 word blog post may not suit their needs for quick information. Taking your long-form written content and creating interesting visuals, will allow you to speak to your potential customers where they are most engaged.

How does visual content work?

Visual content is effective because of the way our brains work. Our brains can process visual information 60,000 times faster than it takes to decode text. It takes one tenth of a second (1/10) for our brain to process visual prompts. Additionally, the average consumer has an attention span of about 8 seconds, leaving you with a very short window to capture their interest. Visual content marketing thrives on three components: appeal, comprehension, and retention.

how-visual-content-works

 

Appeal: Visually aesthetic content is more attractive to users. Information that is visually appealing sparks interest before the information it includes can even be processed. Find creative ways to display your information instead of using plain text and bullet points.

Comprehension: Our brains are automatically able to interpret associations between different objects and allow instant comprehension. Images associated with an object are interpreted at a faster rate than text associated with an object. 

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Retention: When a visual cue is identified or when an image draws an emotional appeal, our brain is able to make rapid connections to the already-stored information within our memory. This allows our brain to retain information longer and more efficiently. This image, for example, was used in a very successful Facebook campaign for one of our clients.

Reasons to add visual content

The science behind visual content is pretty compelling in and of itself. Beyond how our brains are wired, there are other reasons to incorporate visual content into your marketing efforts.

  1. Visual Content Helps Capture the Target Audience’s Attention. There are roughly 140 million tweets, 2 million video uploads, and 1.5 billion individual units of content generated on a daily basis. With so much information available each day, marketers and business owners need to fight for the attention of their target audience. According to data collected by Chartbeat, Americans stay engaged in an article for an estimated average of 28 seconds. Incorporating visual content to your marketing efforts is an effective way to keep your audience engaged within that short window of time.
  1. Visual Content Can Increase Social Media Presence. The data overwhelmingly shows that visual content plays much better to the social media audience. Just check out the below:
  • Content that contains relevant images has, on average, 94% more total views than content without images.
  • Views can increase up to 48% by incorporating both photos and videos in the content.
  • Tweets with images on Buffer receive 150% more retweets
  • Infographics are shared twice as often as presentations and three times as often as plain documents through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Engagement rate of Facebook Posts by category (engagements are determined by Like + Comments/Impressions)
    • Photo — 0.37%
    • Video — 0.31%
    • Text Only — 0.27%
    • Link — .15%
  1. Visual Content That Goes Viral Can Increase Inbound Links. Infographics, posters, videos, memes – all of these can go viral if enough people share your content through social media or other online platforms. It is important to incorporate your logo, website link, or other relevant information in order to easily distinguish the content’s original source. 
  1. Visual Content Is More Understandable:

By adding visual components that help explain what your content says, you add value to your message and allow the target audience to further appreciate and understand it.

  1. Visual Content is more persuasive. A study at the Wharton School of Business concluded:
  • 50% of people were persuaded by a strictly verbal presentation
  • 67% of people were persuaded by a verbal presentation that included visual cues

Best Practices of Visual Content

By now we all know what infographics are and their important contribution to an effective SEO strategy. However, infographics and other visual content must be created in an effective and professional manner in order to maximize their true potential. We recommend you consider these best practices as you or your marketing team develop your visual content.

  1. Know Your Target Audience:

Maintaining the same design or format in all of your infographics is not considered best practice. You can certainly keep elements of your brand in your infographics, but relying learnin-infographicon the same format for each one becomes redundant and can bore audiences. The goal of an infographic is to captivate and maintain the reader’s attention and interest. These infographic examples were created for the same client, but also utilize different design and formatting to keep the messaging fresh.

The following points will help you create a compelling infographic:

  • It is crucial to truly understand who your target audience is and identify their demands and interests. Is your target audience data driven? Are they more attracted to visual and colorful content? Do emotional cues appeal to them more? These questions are important to consider when creating your infographic strategy.
  • To get answers to these questions and more, do your research. Whether you are examining social media trends or Google Analytics, researching the behaviors and interests of your target audience will help you design an infographic that speaks to them.
  • A mistake people tend to make when creating infographics is focusing on topics that are too general. For example, an eco-friendly, cleaning company could choose a general topic like “Office Cleaning Tips” or a more specific topic that speaks to their target audience, like “Top 10 Green Cleaning Office Trends in the U.S.” Be sure to choose a topic that is specifically relevant to your target audience in order to increase the opportunity of spreading viral content.
  1. Create a Compelling Message:

Visuals are effective; however visuals that tell a story are powerful. Consider using visuals that can illicit an emotional response. People have a greater tendencylandscape-infographic to share images because of the emotional reaction they have to them. The bond between a powerful visual and an effective narrative are impactful. To create a compelling message, keep these factors in mind:

  • Keep your infographic content geared toward the specific message you want to convey. Your goal should not be to randomly compile data into your infographic. Instead, communicate your data through a single centralized topic. For example, this infographic is geared toward a specific message and location – Portland landscaping.
  • Begin your infographic with the most powerful piece of data at the top. By doing so, you will captivate your audience’s attention instantly. Maintaining an organized format throughout the infographic will keep your audience engaged from beginning to end.
  • Delete any information that does not add value to your infographic. Sometimes people will get lost in all of the information available that they forget what is most relevant to their target audience.
  1. Communicate Data in a Clear and Precise Way:

Most experts agree that an effective infographic communicates information in a clear and accurate fashion so that it becomes understandable to the viewer. The message that your infographic conveys should be clear enough that it could be communicated in a short sentence. The goal of an infographic is to display multiple ideas or pieces of information in a visual form. When creating your infographic, keep the following points in mind to create concise and organized visual content.

  • Information that is gathered should be citable, accurate, and must align with the chosen topic.
  • Keep a consistent flow throughout your infographic. Do not stray from the point you are trying to communicate and ensure your message flows well both visually and intellectually.
  • Ensure that your images align with the topic of the infographic. Using simple and visually appealing images will make your infographic stand out. The point of using images is to aid the reader in understanding your message.

In this example, notice how using as few words possible clearly conveys the information that is most relevant.

 

If executed correctly, visual content marketing can truly speak to your audience in order to drive traffic to your website, increase page views, and result in higher conversion rates.