Easy on the Eyes

The Importance of Visuals in Content Marketing

I find that the use of visuals in articles, media, stories, etc. are very important. The quality and purpose of an image can play a crucial role in how content is received and whether or not it is successful. While content and stories themselves must be well-written and produced on their own, adding images heightens their attractiveness i.e., they heighten the chances that someone scrolling through the never-ending feed of media will stop and take a second look at your content. However with the wrong image or poor construction your content can be lost in the masses.

Three Do’s of Visuals in Content
  1. Quality Check

This one has two meanings. In one sense it means to choose a quality image; something that is the correct size for its platform, appropriate to the message of the content, and attention grabbing. In another sense it means to make sure that the visuals are original, relevant, and accurate material. Overall the quality check in both senses is important because it is what gives visual appeal and credibility to both the piece and your company through the content the audience is receiving. In a NewsCred article, photographer Vicky Wasik describes how even the small details of a visual can enhance or hurt content. For example, she discussed how an old photo she pulled for an article on absinthe actually gave the article negative attention because the photo depicted a practice that was incorrect and/or outdated.

2. Matching an Interesting Title with an Attention-Grabbing Visual

This is essential because this interaction is what will stop someone from scrolling to click on your content. It is quite simple really, if you have an article about a rescue dog but the main photo is just of the junky backyard it was rescued from, there is some disconnect. The best way to catch the viewer is to have a photo that matches, i.e., maybe a before and after of the rescue dog instead. Therefore the connection to the story is easy, viewer sees before and after picture of dog, reads a title about a rescue dog’s amazing recovery from abuse, and the viewer is more likely to want to find out what the story involves and clicks the link. It is crucial to make that instant and easy connection between the content in viewer.

“In the Global Age, the short attention span age, you’re going to need great visuals to keep people’s attention on longer pieces. It’s also going to be the key to that short attention span content that people are consuming.” — Editor in Chief of Content Quarterly

3. Look at the Content Design as a Whole

“Powerful visuals + evoke emotions = Deeper Engagement” — Getty Images

The way content is designed can do a lot for a viewer, even if they don’t actively recognize it. Design can easily turn a viewer away or draw them in; a cluttered, disorganized grouping of visuals, quotes, and, content will overwhelm a viewer and make them click out before they’ve even gotten to the point. However, a clean, organized design that is simple to follow will allow your viewers to engage without over-thinking. Content can be stunning without crazy theatrics.

Three Don’ts of Visual Content
  1. Don’t be inconsistent: Brand consistency is important to establish trust and credibility, so it is important to keep the visuals on track not just in one story, but across the entire platform. This means that if your signature is to have short paragraphs broken up by big, stunning graphics, stick to that, don’t try to have five pieces like that and then randomly have one long feature with no visuals whatsoever.
  2. Don’t Overcrowd the Content: If you have too many visuals, this can also be a distraction. Your viewers may feel or think they don’t need to read or engage with the content and can just skim through the photos if it looks like the visuals are the dominant element.
  3. Don’t Neglect Your Audience: A pretty simple example of this would be if you are promoting a cruise ship line that is known for being classy, elegant, and relaxing, it is probably not in your best interest to use visuals that show a club scene or young people partying. You won’t garner the business you want or engage with the right audience.
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