Most brands dream about getting thousands of page views, generating traffic and accumulating targeted leads with their videos and images. While there are no secrets or magic tricks for a successful visual content strategy, there certainly are steps that you can take to make sure your tactics work.
At Uberflip, visuals have become one of the main drivers of the thousands of targeted visitors that our content hub receives every month. Out of the current 20 most popular posts, at least half are visual in some way (ie. infographics, webinar recordings, slide decks, etc.).
Another success indicator is the fact that our infographics and videos have been picked up repeatedly by well-known media outlets, getting thousands more eyeballs on them. This means higher traffic and even more awareness for our brand.
Based on our own experience, here are some insights into how to successfully align visual content with your overall content marketing strategy, how to work with different formats, choose the right tools, and ensure visibility and exposure by incorporating cost-effective promotional tactics.
Why visual content?
From a cognitive point of view, given the short attention span of online users it’s important to catch their eye and hook them in a matter of seconds. It’s a fact that images are processed a lot faster than words. When it comes to quick and clear communication, they trump text almost every time and viewers are more likely to share them.
As you can see, the very same type of information is not only presented more efficiently but can also affect users emotionally. For instance, choosing warm colors (red, pink, yellow) over cold ones (blue, brown, gray) might motivate readers to feel a certain way or take different actions. All of this increases the opportunities for users to engage and increase your ROI.
Statistically speaking, it’s no secret that visuals have become widely popular in recent years. YouTube is now the most used search engine after Google, and the majority of companies are already producing visual content. Take a look at this clip which describes how brands incorporate video to their tactics:
Mapping content to the various stages of the sales journey and buyer personas is an essential step of successful content marketing. This also applies to visual content. A single infographic or video will likely not lead to success. As with written content, we need to make sure that our visuals are categorized by funnel stage and type of audience.
If, for example, an image on Facebook was the hook that introduced someone to your company, an infographic can direct them to a tutorial video and ensure a deeper level of engagement. This will again push them further down the marketing funnel and close to converting into customers.
“Snacky” content, like memes, infographics, and Twitpics, will be a valuable hook to snare contacts. But other forms of visually-driven content, like video or webcasts, can deepen engagement and educate the audience on your brand benefits too.
Some content assets can appear in more than one stage of the funnel. This will depend on the topic rather than the format. A webinar could create awareness about a product or service, but it could also serve to educate new customers.
The right format
When considering specific types of visuals, marketers must ask themselves questions like:
- Beyond words, what stories can we tell using visuals?
- Who do I want to reach?
- Why would this idea be better framed as an infographic or a video, rather than a 600-word blog post?
- Do I have the skills/resources to produce the visual? If not, is it worth outsourcing this?
Always make sure the format that you choose is relevant and adds value to the message. For instance, a 3-page report with market stats on a certain product will surely look more appealing as an infographic or a motion graphics video, as opposed to posting a text-heavy version.
Here’s a list with some of the visual formats (and content creation tools) that we often use at Uberflip:
Motion graphic videos
Visual blog pieces
Tutorials & Webinars
Sharing is caring
Don’t forget the importance of promoting your visual content. As with any other type of asset, people won’t find your visuals by mistake or accident. You can use a mix of paid, owned and earned media (organic) to promote them.
Most companies already have a social presence (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), email lists, a blog, and other types of landing pages. Use your existing channels to share your visual assets. For instance, excerpts from an infographic can turn into interesting tweets; a video still can be a clickable image for your Facebook page.
Sometimes your visuals might need a little boost to get in front of more eyeballs and increase shareability. Examples of effective paid tools for content marketers include promoted tweets, Facebook ads, Outbrain, and sponsored LinkedIn updates.
This channel is the hardest to work with. It includes all the attention you can get organically via search engines (SEO), media pickups, and non-paid shares by influencers. Building a network of powerful contacts to promote your visuals and ranking higher on search engines is a long process, but it is also a cost-effective long term investment.
Need help creating a promotional plan for your future content? Check out this article with very actionable tips.
More than videos and infographics
Lastly, keep in mind that, beyond individual visual pieces, your content as a whole should also showcase a style that’s attractive and consistent with the rest of your brand, from colors, to font types and overall look and feel.
Make sure that even text-heavy articles are re-imagined, incorporating visual breaks, lists, text colors, and other formatting elements. Even when there are no images, audio or video, the intention is always to generate more engagement, to make your content easier to digest, and to reinforce its identity.
Visually-led content can help companies get noticed without saying a word. As Robert E. Horn, professor at Stanford University, said, “When words and visual elements are closely entwined, we create something new and we augment our communal intelligence (…) visual language has the potential for increasing ‘human bandwidth’—the capacity to take in, comprehend, and more efficiently synthesize large amounts of new information.”