Why You Should Consider Visual Content



Most marketers intuitively understand why visuals are so important. Whether you're a commerce site selling products, a media company telling stories, or a travel site selling getaways, your visual content isn’t just important, it’s everything. Consumers have high expectations, little time and even less patience. Social media has expanded engagement opportunities and increased competition. It has created new visual-first engagement and buying opportunities, and popular brands can no longer rest easy on past brand loyalty. More than ever, your brand can make it or break it at first sight.
On top of these shifts, the disciplines of marketing, communications, and PR continue to become increasingly integrated, and it is no longer enough to remain within the confines of our former roles and responsibilities.

Here are the top 5 things every marketer should consider when creating winning, visual-centric content.

1. Visuals are no longer add-ons; they’re key players in your content strategy.

You have just seconds to connect with your audience, why not let a single image speak volumes in an instant? Research shows that we remember what we see visually much better than what we read, and that visual content gets viewed 94% times more than content without any visuals at all. Images are emotive and emotional connections are powerful. One image can convey a brand’s essence and values, and speak to an overall esthetic.
Many years ago infographics gained in popularity, accompanying or all-out replacing data-rich reports, surveys and announcements. They remain effective visual assets to this day for good reason.
As content marketing has evolved to embrace visual storytelling, images have completely transformed previously copy-heavy content like whitepapers, eBooks and even customer case studies. When writing your next eBook, consider adding more visual content, more emotional hooks, and let your images speak volumes.

2. Old-school photography rules for framing and composition still apply.

One of the first and most important rules in photography is the rule of thirds. The composition rule suggests that you divide the frame into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and line your subject within one of the intersection points. This beautiful video featuring filmmaker Philip Bloom explains more. When framing or cropping your images for the web, a social post or thumbnail consider this rule to help your viewer be guided to the most important subject.
When considering cropping understand too that multiple versions of that image will need to accommodate multiple screens and sizes. Just recently I noticed a major retailer tagging a pair of shoes on a model where the feet were cropped out of view, thus tagging a product that wasn’t even visible. Whoops.

3. Investments in professional photography will always pay off.

While there are use cases for stock photography, the value that custom photography will bring to your brand and campaigns can not be understated. The initial investment will be higher but those costs will be well worth the spend in the long run for several reasons. Stock photography, even the really great shots that align well with your brand, are always someone else’s vision, not yours.
Given the importance of authenticity and the power of a first impression, wouldn’t you rather invest in imagery that conveys who you are and speaks directly to your audience? It will feel like a small investment when that social campaign with your own beautiful photos is converting clicks into customers.

4. The power of SEO doesn't stop at your web copy.

Understanding Google’s recommendation for image optimization as it relates to SEO is critical, but many marketers neglect to carry simple SEO best practices over to their images and lose out on important ranking power. Your web marketer is likely employing these basic techniques to your site but it’s important for all marketing and communications stakeholders to understand them.
First, make sure that you’re using unique images that are relevant to the page, and ensure that your images are of the highest quality, and as small as possible. Always include a concise caption and utilize the “Alt Text” to maximize accessibility.

5. Video boosts engagement and sales by a lot, yet remains underutilized.

According to HubSpot, 54 percent of people want to see more video content from marketers and 64 percent of online shoppers are more likely to purchase a product after watching a video about it. Emails that include videos can boost click-through rates by up to 300 percent.
According to Forrester, if a picture is worth a thousand words, an informative 60-second video is worth 1.8 million words. And yet Forrester also found that only 38 percent of companies received passing marks for engaging consumers with video. Concerns about production time and costs, and general ROI uncertainty, remain top barriers.
More research from HubSpot reveals that videos under 90-seconds have a high retention rate of 53% and that 34% of viewers keep watching until the end. So best to keep your video content brief and to the point.

Conclusion

The right visuals can say all the right things, boost engagement and foster long-lasting connections. Let your images and videos play a bigger role in your next campaign and have some fun!

Source: MTA
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