Monday 27 January, 2014
When we think ‘content,’ we usually imagine articles, blog posts and other text-based materials. You might throw in a video or photo to liven things up. But visual marketing is an essential aspect of any online business, and it’s only getting more important. Your visual content engages your readers much more directly than text-based content. It’s also important in branding your company.
Visual content is especially effective on social media. Visuals get more shares, likes and comments than regular content. With new social media sites that focus exclusively on visual content like Instagram and Pinterest, this is becoming even more so.
Logos and Design
The first thing to consider when it comes to visual content is your logo and design features. These establish your brand’s consistency in the mind of your market. You should use the same logo, avatar, and design elements such as color or themes everywhere you are online.
The best logos are adaptable, not static. Look at Google’s logo – the simple words set against a white background. But with holidays, changing seasons, and promotions, the words are changed. Color and font may change, or they may be adorned with other images.
Thinking about Color
Color is probably the most important design feature. Colors trigger associations in the mind and this is why companies spend a great deal of time choosing the perfect hues. Red, yellow, and orange are colors that remind us of excitement, energy and youth. Blue and green are calming colors that imply reliability and security.
There are no hard and fast rules here, but if you look at the colors certain companies use, you’ll see patterns. Finance and entertainment websites often use green. Food-oriented sites use orange or red. Look at websites in your niche to get ideas.
There are several ways to get visual content. One is to create it yourself. If you’ve never made visual content, you’ll be surprised at how simple it is. Some marketers find the idea of making images daunting, but there are tools that make it easy and many of them are free.
You can also curate content. This is what’s happening when you share an infographic or meme that you found somewhere else. But an important element of curating content is to inject your own ideas into it. You shouldn’t share without commenting. Think of the curated content as a way to get your audience talking.
What to Create / Curate
The best visual content is like the best written content – it helps your audience solve a problem or do something. But visual content shows rather than telling. Videos can be used to demonstrate how to do something. Infographics can take complex information and break it down so that it’s easy to digest and understand.
Your visual content doesn’t have to be strictly informational. Memes and graphics that are entertaining or that resonate with your audience are the most likely to go viral. It doesn’t even need to be strictly related to your niche. It just needs to be something your audience would like.
It’s an old cliché but completely true that a picture says a thousand words. Images communicate information more directly and immediately. They’re much easier to process than words. This is why visual content works so well in online marketing.