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Visual Content Strategy – Move beyond Content Marketing in 2015

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Visual Content Trend in 2015

The next big trend in content marketing

Visual Content, quite an oft used term in online media, is one of the strongest weapons for content strategy in 2015. On an average, consumers find images more grasping than content in a lengthy text format. Research shows that human brain remembers 80% of what is seen in contrast to 20% of what is read because human brain processes an image or a visual 60,000x faster to text. Hence with visual content you get to make your audience and visitors more engaged with higher chances of conversion.

Content marketing is at its peak, and there is no sign of slowing down. As per Forrester Research, annually content is speeding up at a rate of 200 percent. Every industry is turning to content to allure consumers, which has naturally led to the evolution in content marketing strategy to keep up with the demand for more sophisticated and advanced content. While ‘original and fresh articles’ could suffice the need for ‘quality content’ a year ago, the web has become overcrowded with such content, and now we need to innovate to stand out. Which explains the necessity for visual content.

HubSpot recently created an infographic that shows more than 2,460,000 pieces of content are shared in Facebook every minute, 3,472 images pinned, 277,000 tweets shared, and 347,222 photos shared on WhatsApp and videos in YouTube. So let’s take a more comprehensive look into content share worthy content and the survival routes to stay ahead of competition.

The January report of Citrix shows that almost two-third of the posts and updates on social media comprise of visually appealing content. Pew Research Center’s recent stats shows 54 percent internet users have posted selfies and personally created videos on different social networks and nearly half of the online users have reposted different photos and videos they found interesting. It has been found that content with appealing imagery gets 94% more traffic. Tweets with images get 150% more retweets. A press release with photo generates 14% more views. A post with a visual and video can get a boost of 48% more views and shares. The above statistics show that visuals play an imperative role in online popularity and successful clicks/visits.

Let’s explore the top strategies to use visual content to increase traffic engagement in your blog and make it stand out.

  • Videos – YouTube or Vimeo into a post or just directly share on social media
  • Screenshots of your product or aesthetic display of work with quick annotations can make it look authentic and appealing
  • Infographic is the most powerful way to turn unappealing text into an exciting and informative content
  • Charts and graphs – easy to recognize and a powerful tool to reflect statistics
  • Slideshares are unique and a great way to represent a thought process or a procedure with relevant texts and eye-catching visuals.
  • Screenshares and webinars are brilliant ways to create an opportunity where you can interact with your visitors and interested clients.
  • Comic strips and cartoons add an element of fun
  • Short videos of 6 to 15 seconds with Vines and Instagram can be a unique way to tell your story quickly to your target audience
  • Mems and Animated Gifs in social media and blogs add a zing to the toolkit of the digital marketers
  • Interactive Visuals are quite appealing and goes a long way in drawing the attention of online readers and visitors

And while you pay attention to these factors that could boost your traffic to a great degree over a short period of time, to pay close attention whether your new sets of transformed visual content is mobile compatible. You need not build a separate content strategy for mobile if you create content keeping your mobile visitors in mind. Clearly, visual content is more engaging on both platforms, but more so for the latter if you consider the practical concerns of a shorter screen and more distraction for a mobile visitor who is on the go.

So, let’s steer our discussion to how a change in your current content marketing strategy could benefit your website or blog.

  • Get more click-throughs with visual content: A post with an interesting and complementary visual or a video generates 80% more click through than otherwise.
  • More social media engagement with visual content: Social channels are a very effective tool to a blog’s success only if you can identify your target audience, and prepare your content keeping their likes and needs in mind. Social media can play a dominant role in visitor engagement. A blog post shared in social media is generally found to attract 53% more likes and 104% more comments.
  • Reach your audience uttering less with eye-catching visual content: Visual content expresses your ideas and views more precisely in a nutshell, occupying less canvas space. It’s quick and conspicuous and is one of the most powerful tools to enhance blog engagement. A stand alone video or an infographic says a lot more about a topic than mere text.
  • Visual content demands a higher retention time in a reader’s mind: While as a reader I am not likely to remember the paragraphs I read about a topic, a reader is more likely to remember an image or a concept depicted through a visual imagery or infographic. And the latter is also more likely to be shared than textual content.

So, how to create a great visual content that can generate more shares?

  • Create a content that actually works. What does that mean? Well, it means, just creating images or videos can get you the desired rise in traffic or higher visits. You need to choose a topic that resonates with your audience, something that THEY want to know more about. Research keywords, rely on your industry exposure and experience to create topics that people are researching about, look at market trends to identify areas which need more discussion, and choose a powerful topic. When you talk about something people are keen to know more about, you already have an audience; you just need to reach out to them.

As per Gary Vaynerchuk, author/ entrepreneur, your blog content should be one with which your audience can relate to and not appear like an advertisement. Your content should flawlessly mix with the user experience and should appear valuable to your audience. Your content should make your audience feel that you understand them. Some of the best sources for topic ideas can be popular industry related blogs, keyword research, information from personal research and expert guidance. The best visual content would be something that keeps audience happy and needs fulfilled on one hand and emphasize ones proficiency on the other.

  • Secondly, choose the best type of visual content for your chosen topic. HubSpot reports, people prefer to go-through an infographic 30 times more than plain text. Infographic posts have been found to generate more views and comments than the conventional ones. Whereas users tweet images 361% more than videos in tweeter. Retweets are 128% more on images than videos. If you post a video in the landing page of your blog/webpage, it could boost your webpage conversion by 86%. Videos create 74% better clarity and understanding of a product and service and thereby increase chances of a possible sale by 64%. So, choose wisely the type of visual that can add value to your article.
  • Whichever type of visual content you choose, make sure it’s attractive with an effective layout. Design with grids and create an excellent image as it’s much easier to superimpose texts onto grid images. Give a professional look and structure to your image with grid technique. When it comes to color, stick on to five colors at the maximum. The color and the fonts should depict your brand. The color you choose for the image or infographic should be at par with the topic. Icons, fonts and negative space within the design should be paid attention to. Some of the best and common tools for creating brilliant visual content are PowerPoint, Canva, Photoshop, Skitch, infogr.am, Place It etc.
  • Promote your content and share it effectively. Social media, your key influencers, business partners, industry relevant blogs and websites and consumers and readers are the main channels to promote your content. A well devised content marketing strategy includes branding, guest posts, sharing, creating relationships with media outlets and content syndication for effective result.

So, Over to you folks! We have discussed extensively the different types of visual content strategies, how to create them and ways to share your visual content effectively. Feel free to share your views too.

What is the most appealing form of visual content that has given you the best result? We’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and ideas related to this post in the comments below.

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