Why visuals are so important in content marketing and five ways to do them well
Human beings are wired for visual content. For millennia we've used visual cues to understand the world around us and relied on imagery to communicate complicated ideas quickly and clearly. As a result, our brains typically process visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
So, if your audience is human, your content marketing needs to be visual. Studies have shown that people will retain 65% of information if it includes a relevant image - compared to only 10% without - and introducing an image into a piece of content increases understanding from 70% to 95%.
Your audience is also more likely to pass on visual content, as illustrated by the following stats:
- Visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media
- Facebook posts with images enjoy 2.3 times more engagement
- Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without
- Posts featuring videos attract almost 300% more inbound links
- Landing pages with videos boost conversions by 86%
Understanding the importance of imagery in content marketing doesn't make it any easier to creating great visuals. According to the new Content Marketing Institute (CMI) report, challenges with content creation is one of the top three issues cited by struggling marketing organizations.
And it's not just that creating great visuals is hard - you have to do over and over again. That same CMI report shows that 87% of the most successful content marketers deliver content consistently.
Your marketing organization needs to meet the challenges of creating eye-catching images and engaging videos; here are five tips for producing breakthrough visual content.
1. Get in the mood
Mood boards are a great way to organize creative ideas and spark inspiration and can also save valuable time on a project.
Pulling together a bunch of visual references can help you focus on what you really want from your creative team. And given they are much more likely to respond to visual information, a good mood board is a very effective way to brief your team and get their creative juices flowing right off the bat. Mood boards also allow you to get early buy-in on creative direction from your internal clients without investing too much in time-consuming design work.
2. Do it yourself
If you don't have a large creative team or don't have the budget to always use freelancers there are a number of simple DIY tools can help even the earliest beginner create images, infographics and video for content programs.
A few noteworthy tools include Animoto, which lets you quickly turn your video and image content into high-quality and beautifully rendered films; Piktochart, an easy-to-use infographics tool; and Illustrio, a great tool that enables anyone to create quality customizable illustrations for presentations, infographics, videos and more.
3. Collaborate visually for faster review cycles
Too often creative feedback is provided over email, where the visual work being discussed is relegated as an attachment. When comments are given out of context, it increases the potential for confusion and time wasted on additional emails and meetings.
A visual collaboration tool-like Hightail-that allows you to give feedback right on a specific part of an image or infographic ensures feedback is always provided in context. For videos, you won't have to note each time code - your comments will appear at the exact second you're referencing.
4. Know your channels
When creating visual content, it's important to think about how your audience will consume it. A two-minute video might work well on your website, but can you break it up into a series of shorter films to share on social media?
This is a great opportunity repurpose content you've already created. For instance, can you break it up into chunks that may go viral on Twitter or Facebook? Or turn an infographic into a presentation that you can post to Slideshare?
5. Share everything
We all know the creative process doesn't have to stop once an infographic or video is signed off and approved. Social media managers and content editors know their channels and their audiences well and will often have ideas for how to use visual content in ways the creative team would never have thought of.
Finding a way for everyone in your team to get insight into the creative process can help spark fresh ideas that reach new audiences.
How have visuals raised your content marketing to new heights? Share your stories and tips for creating better images and videos in the comments.
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