The increasing importance of visual content marketing
It is fair to say that content marketing is primarily concerned with the written word. By creating some highly targeted and unique copy, any business can build brand awareness, enhance search engine visibility and increase website conversions.
From corporate blogs and feature articles to white papers and case studies, content marketing takes a number of different forms. But in recent years, this ever-present online technique has gradually evolved and moved with the times.
More emphasis has been placed on quality rather than quantity, as Internet users want interesting and engaging content that serves a purpose and provides real value. The highest-ranking results on Google, Bing and Yahoo are likely to be web pages with well-written copy and social media approval.
However, even though search algorithms have forced content marketers to change their approach, the latest browsing trends are also proving incredibly influential.
The instantaneous and immediate nature of the Internet means that the vast majority of individuals don’t have time to read multipage pages of copy. Instead, they want to access and absorb information quickly and efficiently, which is possible with visual content marketing.
Again, this can take multiple guises, serve a variety of purposes and be seen on numerous platforms.
Even a simple and straightforward image can have a huge impact, especially when you take your visual content marketing efforts to social media sites. Networks like Instagram and Pinterest are specifically designed to promote and publicise images, while visual content receives an incredibly strong response on Facebook and Twitter.
Currently, 200 million active users on Instagram ‘like’ 1.6 billion images every day. Just like any other social network, this extensive reach enables you to interact and connect with your audience in a more personal way. Show your product or service being used in real life, share photos of employees hard at work and make sure to add relevant hashtags.
Then there is Pinterest, which allows users to collect ideas and collate images about their personal hobbies and pursuits. Due to the fact that images are linked to the original source, Pinterest drives more traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit and Google+ combined. Always use high quality photos, avoid stock images, stay organised when creating different boards and optimise your site for Pinterest sharing.
Owing to the fact that image posts receive 120-180 per cent more engagement that text updates, the potential power of visual content marketing on Facebook and Twitter is immense. Although you can share the same sort of content as Instagram and Pinterest, try to encourage conversations with your audience and post images that will be shared or retweeted.
Even though images are perhaps more concerned with social media management, they enable any brand to boost engagement, improve website traffic, tell stories and provide value, which is basically content marketing in a nutshell.
With the ability to present an abundance of information in a clean, coherent and compelling way, infographics are becoming a more and more widespread aspect of visual content marketing.
They are typically used to easily demonstrate and display complex data, which would usually be quite difficult to comprehend. Therefore, brands that have plenty of facts and stats at their disposable are taking advantage of infographics, as they are far more interesting and absorbing than simple lists or bullet points.
Laid out in a linear format, most infographics feature lots of different colours, fonts and images to segment and separate information. The freedom and flexibility to be as creative as possible means the majority of infographics look great to.
For this reason, they are very popular on social media sites. Any customer-conscious company can post an infographic with lots of detail on a network of their choosing and actively see fans or followers engage with and share this visual content.
Even though there is a temptation to include as much information as possible, this defeats the main point and purpose of infographics.
According to Cisco, video content will account for 69 per cent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2017. Therefore, it is no surprise that videos and animations are being heralded as the future of visual content marketing.
As you can probably guess, one website in particular is responsible for this upsurge of video interest. Currently, YouTube receives one billion unique visitors each month, while 100 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. While individual users are responsible for lots of this activity by viewing and sharing homemade content, there are a variety of ways in which a business can benefit from YouTube.
Whether you decide to demonstrate new products, document corporate events, provide a behind the scenes look into everyday operations or simply film a weekly video blog, there are a great deal of opportunities to be had.
If you choose to create a visual content marketing video, make sure it is appropriate and shareable. Not all content is suitable for video and some information does not require any visual reinforcement. If you try and include too much detail or cram in irrelevant content, users won’t be interested in watching or sharing it.
If you don’t want to rely on organic exposure, you could also look into YouTube advertisements as well. These appear at the start of videos and can usually be skipped after five seconds by the user. The benefits of YouTube advertisements is that you can target specific users based on the genre of the video they’re watching. However, there is an argument that these videos will have to be even more engaging and absorbing, as you’ve only got five seconds before a user can easily switch them off.
Visual content marketing summary
A lot can still be said for content marketing that favours the written word, as some stories or pieces of information require gripping narratives and detailed descriptions. Compelling copy is also the best way to secure favourable search engine rankings.
However, the rise of visual content marketing is difficult to ignore, as images, infographics and videos are proving to be incredibly influential and effective.