Visual content marketing refers to all types of visual media used in content marketing. The term encompasses all forms of visual media, including:
- Data visualization
- Interactive content
- Images and photos
In an age where nearly everyone is competing for attention through the use of images and videos, how can you be sure yours will get noticed?
In this article, we’ll show you some of the creative techniques companies use to create visual media that stands out, including:
- Quote cards
- Image and text combinations
- Infographic-style design for non-data visuals
- Data visualizations
- Original artwork
- Interactive content
- Images and photos
- Trending elements
Here are tips you can use to improve these 8 different types of content.
1. Create Infographics That Combine Data with Copywriting Techniques
Infographics are a visual way of presenting data or information. They help to simplify complicated information and make “dry” topics more compelling.
An IBCW study, “The State of Infographics 2017,” found that consumers prefer infographics over commercials, presentations, articles, and blog posts.
Make your infographics stand out by applying basic copywriting techniques, including:
- Benefits: Let readers know how they’ll benefit from your product or service before you list product details.
- Empathy: Relate to your readers by showing that you understand the problems they’re struggling with.
- Problem-solving: Tell readers how your product can solve the problems outlined in your “empathy” section.
For example, Expedia’s “12 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Vacation“ includes all 3 of these techniques.
The infographic opens with empathy by posing the question “How hard are we working?”
Then, the first section includes survey responses from workers who say they feel stressed out but can’t take time off work.
Next, they describe the benefits of vacations.
The infographic goes on to pose problems and solutions, in reverse format: solution first, followed by the problem.
Expedia’s done a wonderful job of combining data and copywriting techniques with appealing artwork.
2. Use Quote Cards to Achieve Multiple Goals
There are many ways to create engaging infographics that don’t include data. One of the ways to do this is with quote cards.
In business, quote cards can be used to:
- Reinforce your company mission
- Educate readers
- Create humor
- Form a connection
To make your quote cards stand out, try to meet 2–3 of the above goals with each card.
For example, the Grammarly quote card below incorporates both education and humor to form a connection.
3. Combine Images with Text and Graphic Elements
Another way to present visually appealing information is by combining text and images in a way that pops. This helps you get noticed in feeds and on social media.
In the example below, Socially Sorted combines an image with headline text, for an eye-catching start to a blog post.
Below is another example of how to combine text and images for standout visuals.
LinkedIn’s Rachel Diamond uses a combination of standard and hand-drawn text, plus sticker graphics, to create an fun image out a photo that might otherwise be ignored.
The extras do more than just improve the visual. She’s used them in a way that also reinforces LinkedIn’s mission by circling the “Connect to Opportunity” on someone’s t-shirt.
4. Use Infographic-Style Designs for Calendars, Guides, and Tips Sheets
Use infographics to present calendars, tip sheets, and guides that people love to download and share.
In the image below, Rebecca VanDenBerg Web Services includes an entire year of marketing ideas in one calendar, shared to Pinterest.
Below is another way she uses an infographic style with a tip sheet.
5. Use Data Visualizations to Share Statistic-Heavy Reports
Data visualization is a way of looking at data through images instead of numbers. If you have a large amount of data to present, this is one way to present a compelling graphic that simplifies the data.
Analytics Vidhya is an analytics learning site that uses data visualization graphics frequently. In the example below, they’ve compiled data from Jimi Hendrix concerts to form a stunning visual.
Consider improving your large data presentations by turning them into colorful visualizations.
6. Include Original Artwork to Create a Memorable Connection
Creating high-quality original artwork, or turning images into artwork, can be a highly-effective way to make your content more memorable.
In the example below, Bill Gates’ newsletter, GatesNotes, uses artwork instead of an image to boost the visual presentation of what might otherwise be an ordinary photo.
The whimsical style lets the reader know this is a light piece that anyone can enjoy reading.
7. Try Interactive Content to Boost Engagement Rates
Interactive content is one of the best ways to create visuals that inspire engagement. There are many types of interactive content, such as:
- Polls and surveys
- Call-to-Action (CTA’s)
HubSpot marketing is a good example of how a company can incorporate interactive material into tutorials.
In the example below, they begin one course with an interactive CTA. It offers readers the choice of watching the course introduction or getting started right away.
Once inside the course, HubSpot includes interactive elements in each lesson. In the image below, you’ll notice they’ve included four different interactive elements on one screen:
- Tabbed content
- A call-to-action
- Lesson selections
- A poll
This keeps students engaged and offers multiple ways to access more information.
Philips Interactive Media uses interactive videos to create promotions that are fun and entertaining.
For example, clicking on one of the shave style options in the video jumps the user ahead in the video, so they can see the results.
Reveal based marketing is a gamified style of visual content that rewards users with a special discount or more content. It requires viewers to interact in order to reveal a discount code.
Games, puzzles, and motion are some of the ways users can interact with this reward-based media.
According to Adweek Magazine, the interactive Macy’s ad shown below had a 921% interaction rate on Facebook. Users spent an average 3+ minutes interacting with it.
More than 20% of users visited Macy’s site after interacting with the ad.
8. Take Your Own Pictures Instead of Using Stock Photos
A Nielsen Norman study examined heat maps to determine what types of images people are most drawn to. The findings revealed that people are drawn to authentic photos that include faces.
The study showed that stock image photos with people in them are largely ignored. But, real photos of people that work for your company, even if they don’t look professional, gain the most attention.
For example, Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, frequently includes real photos of people in his social media posts.
Viewers are drawn to original photos, even if they’re not perfect images.
9. Include Trending Elements in Your Images
Trending elements are a great way to capture attention and form a connection.
One such trend is puppies. According to The Outline’s Culture Blog, dogs are officially the (new) favorite animal of the internet.
The image below shows how GatesNotes uses puppies to catch attention for all its blog posts, regardless of the topic.
Improve Your Visual Content to Make Your Digital Marketing Stand Out
Visual content does more than capture attention. It’s also been known to improve learning and retention by up to 400%. So, the better your visual content marketing, the more likely your audience is to remember the message.
According to a survey of over 500 marketers, the largest percentage of businesses’ goals include creating more visual content and more original content.
Combining elements like images and text, or adding interactive media, can make your visual content more successful. Data visualizations, original artwork, and authentic photos also help improve your content marketing.
Use some of the tips above to enhance your content marketing and create eye-catching visuals for social media and blog posts.
This article was originally published on The Manifest on June 21, 2018, and was written by Rhonda Bradley.