What is visual content?
The term ‘visual marketing is broad and includes online and offline visual assets such as those that are used for:
- Web site appearance (page imagery, staff portraits, product, testimonials etc)
- Press and media coverage
- Social media content
- Blog illustrations
Taking the form of anything from photographs to infographics to video to gifs to graphics (‘visual assets’), visual content is a form of content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Visuals are a key part of content marketing, and as such some creative, insightful effort needs to go into them. It demands an element of uniqueness and strategy. This is where many marketing and communication teams stumble. The clammer for visuals can seem overwhelming – and then there is this statement which I hear all the time from new clients, “I’m not creative, I don’t know how to get what I need.” Many others are literally just swamped with all the other demands that marketing professionals and business owners have – and frustratingly for them, it is often pushed to the bottom of the list.
Why is it important?
Given that people skim virtually all content that doesn’t capture their attention immediately, visuals are clearly a way of reaching out and grabbing it.
From a very basic perspective, your appearance is how people that don’t know you perceive you to be.
From a scientific perspective, there are endless facts that illustrate why we respond to visuals as human beings. For example, when we hear a piece of information, after 3 days, we tend to remember about 10% of it. If we saw visuals about that information too, we remember more like 65% of it.
As well as grabbing attention and providing a window into your business personality, visual content is also vital:
- To illustrate products
- In increasing customer engagement (eg. use their content too on social media)
- To increase your brand awareness
Last year, Vervate were the official photographers for the Snowdogs by the Sea campaign. Shortly after the launch party, I received a call from the Picture Editor at The Times asking if he could print an image he had seen of ours. I asked him if he was referring to a Snowdogs photo and he replied that he didn’t know what the story was about, he just thought the image was stunning and wanted to know more. It got printed in their next edition.
Key Take Aways
Remember that your visuals have to be true to your brand and to its audience. Just throwing out cat gifs or badly taken photos of your team at an event, or using stock images throughout your website, is not going to cut it. In fact, as with any marketing done badly – it is more likely detrimental.
“Avoid amateurish design. If you’re not confident of your design abilities, find someone who can help. Terrible graphic design is a sign to your customers that you are not willing to invest in creating a positive first impression — what other corners are you cutting?” Adrienne Erin writing for Search Engine People
ORGANISATION MAXIMISES ROI
Once you have spent time in deciding these things, you can begin to form your own library of images and visuals to re-purpose time and time again. The ROI you achieve from that initial process can be immense.
OPTIMISATION MAXIMISES POTENTIAL
Whether is it tagging images, making them the right size, annotating video – all of these tools increase your SEO and therefore your ROI. Professional visual content producers should address these issues with you in mind when they provide you with a product.