If you play a role in marketing your business, you’ve probably found that visual elements improve the performance of all sorts of content, from press releases to websites to marketing emails. But with that promise of better metrics comes a constant demand for videos, photos, graphics and other elements that make your piece pop. Why do visuals matter so much, and what steps can you take to use them more effectively?
Why Visual Content Is Such a Big Deal
In recent years, product design has come to play as big a role as functionality in consumer purchase decisions. Spurred by Steve Jobs and his original iPhone design, most modern manufacturers of consumer-facing products strive to create items that look beautiful and elegant — and that people will feel proud to have in their homes.
The focus on the visual has extended to many types of content. In the past few years, Instagram — with its focus on photos and videos — has begun to supplant Facebook as the preferred social platform for image-conscious young people.
Like good product design, good visuals can make or break your content. Humans are wired to quickly process what we see. In fact, research has found that our brains can identify images we’ve viewed literally for only an eyeblink — as little as 13 milliseconds! With our strong connection to what our eyes take in, it’s no wonder that visual content has quickly gained significant importance in marketing.
Now that you know the why of visual content, let’s move on to the how.
Using Visuals More Effectively
Here are some of our top tips for incorporating more visual content into your marketing efforts.
Focus on video. Look at just about any website or social media platform, and you’ll quickly see that video has become king. Short, memorable videos are infinitely shareable and go viral much more easily than photos or articles.
In addition to social media and websites, other marketing formats also have become springboards for more video. Online ads, editorial content and even public relations (PR) are all using video. If you want to see an example of a video press release, just take a quick look at your local news broadcast. Many of the featured stories on new or improved products, services and trends make use of videos and releases provided by PR agencies.
Despite the skyrocketing popularity of video content, the challenges in creating it keep some companies from jumping in. Producing a constant stream of quality video content requires a talented and high-performing team of creative professionals — who also have the available time and access to the resources they need. If you’d like to incorporate more video content into your marketing efforts without using an in-house team, work with an experienced marketing agency.
Create a system for locating visual assets quickly. Speed is the name of the game in today’s social media world and having a library of visual content that you can pull quickly can help you engage with your customers. To set your organization apart, create a plan for including visual assets in your social posts as often as possible. By setting up a quick-access library, your social media team can grab what they need and get it online — and working for you — in a flash.
Take a multimedia approach. Consider including multiple types of visual content in your campaigns to promote maximum interest and engagement. You’ll find that different types of visual elements provide your customers with different benefits, and by including a mix, you can appeal to various market segments.
Along with videos and photos, think about how other visual elements, including animations and informational graphics, may fit into your presentation.
Consider how your visual elements will scale. Many organizations create visual content with only their own websites or primary social platforms in mind. The problem is that when those video assets inevitably spread to other channels — such as press releases or less-used social media sites — they may not scale properly and may not look as great. To ensure that your video elements scale appropriately, look at how they will render on various sites, including mobile sites, and consider creating multiple versions.
If you haven’t yet included visual content as a major element in your brand story, 2019 is the time to get started.