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The Importance of Visual Content

There is an old expression, “Use a picture, it’s worth a thousand words”, which was first voiced by the noted newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane in the context of publicity and journalism in March 1911. From this point onward, visual imagery has become pervasive in the realm of persuasive communication, and rightly so. Numerous studies have backed that visual content holds superiority over verbal content when it comes to conveying a lot of information quickly and succinctly, stimulating a perceptual and emotional response among viewers that ultimately influence their purchase behavior. These are welcome findings at a time when everything is innately visual around us – from smartphones, web pages, TV screens, tablets, video cameras, appliances, vehicles, billboards, books, maps and the list goes on.

As Professor Paul Martin Lester points out in Syntactic Theory of Visual Communication, “we are becoming a visually mediated society… For many, understanding of the world is being accomplished, not through reading words, but by reading images”. In this high-tech era where visual imagery is not just confined to images; social networking sites, infographics, blogs/vlogs, online videos, games, 3D movies and so forth take visual stimulation to another level.

Over the past few years, content marketing has been on the lips of every B2B marketer. And every form of content marketing relies heavily on the marriage of text with strong visual elements, whether it is a content-heavy blog post with images and video, or a webinar containing audio and images. There is an upward trend in content marketing toward all things visual.  Relevant findings from industry reports and trends have supported this claim:

  • CISCO predicted that by 2014, 91 percent of all the consumer IP traffic would be dominated by video including 64 percent of mobile data traffic.
  • In another study, B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America carried out jointly by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, it was found that video had the largest increase of any content marketing tactic in 2012, jumping by 70 percent from an already hot 54 percent increase in 2011.
  • A study from the Web Video Marketing Council and Flimp Media suggests that the use of video embedded in an email is a powerful tool, with 88 percent reporting that email with integrated video improves campaign performance, 76 percent acknowledging that it generates high click-through rates, and 72 percent believing that their prospective clients are more likely to buy after viewing video content sent via an email.
  • In a Forbes article by David Williams – “How the smartest companies leverage visual social media”, he mentions that the newest research on social media suggests more people are likely to engage with the brand or a product containing visuals than any other form of content.

This brings us to our main topic – Does your content marketing provide any kind of visual stimulation? Have you embraced the new way of visually telling your brand story? Not quite there yet, then you need to harp on the visual media bandwagon ASAP!

Content Marketing + Visual Media = happily ever after!

And who doesn’t like happily ever after? When content marketing and visual elements are closely entwined, we create something magical!  This magical potion provides killer benefits which include:

1) With social sharing buttons for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and like, sharing of content with images/videos/infographics is much easier than sharing huge chunks of text.  To put things in perspective, below are some ideal scenarios for B2B companies to look at:

  • For new product/service launch, hold a webinar.
  • At a trade show event, take picture and video to share it on social networking sites.
  • Explain the product installation process through video.
  • Customer testimonials capture it through video.
  • Launch an e-mail campaign with an embedded video link in the e-mail content.

2) Leverage your brand story with entertaining and engaging YouTube videos that would capture the attention of the target audience much quicker than text. Some compelling statistics that reinforces the use of YouTube as a hub for B2B marketing:

  • If YouTube were a country, it would be the third largest after China and India.
  • More than 1 Billion unique users visit YouTube each month.
  • It is the second largest search engine (bigger than Bing, Yahoo, and ASK all combined).
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube.

3) More sharing/subscribes/comments/re-tweets/likes/click-through-rates results in better visibility of the brand, thus boosts your online SEO (search engine optimization) ranking.

4) Improved SEO results mean increased website traffic, which further opens opportunities in terms of building trust/relationships and driving lead generation effectiveness and beyond, among customers and prospects.

For a comprehensive guide on designing digital content, check out this free eBook.

About the Author

Vidushi Bhardwaj is the Content Marketing Strategist at Grant Marketing. She possesses a strong background in content marketing and integrated marketing communications. Passionate about innovation in the digital marketing and social media space has driven her to the marketing world. You can connect with her by sharing your thoughts on her blog.