What is Visual Content Marketing in 2018? - part 1
If you or your brand treat content marketing as one of the pillars of your growth, make sure that you distribute on-brand visuals that will stimulate online engagement and amaze your public. In the digital era, text-based content is not enough to drive your rankings. It is visual content that must play a pivotal role in all your marketing efforts if your goal is to win at it.
Can you create visual content marketing if you’re not a designer?
To be honest, no one is born a designer. Design is a process governed by some rules.
Designers learn by applying those rules to their projects over the course of time and for different campaigns. You can do that too. It is like cooking - you know the basics, now play with ingredients and see what come out of different combinations. Let others try and let you know what they think - share it with your public and see what resonates with them.
Let's start from the beginning before we jump to trends of 2018.
What is Visual Content Marketing?
Visual content marketing, or visual marketing, means merely creating, promoting and using visual content rather than text content. Visual content marketing includes different forms of content marketing based on visual design elements.
It is a powerful way to use images to communicate a message about your business, to be so, images must be created and represented in a variety of ways, including photographs, infographics, slides, logos, screenshots, comics, graphics, memes, and diagrams.
Visuals should also include all sorts of “moving images,” such as videos, animations, SlideShares, and moving pictures.
Science behind Visual Communication
Bear in mind that 65% of people are visual learners, 90% of information that comes to the brain is visual, and presentations with visual aides are 43% more persuasive, it makes sense to use content types which people have an innate psychological resonance with. Our brains are naturally hard-wired to process visual information better and faster than we process text. Why?
Humans have been communicating with each other for the last 30,000 years, but only in the latest 3,700 years or so have we relied on and developed a written form of it.
Did you know, for example, that a group of neuroscientists at MIT in 2014 found that it takes only 13 milliseconds for a human brain to see an image?
Visual information is utterly more effective and more persuasive. It is almost automatically driving your trustworthiness and authenticity as perceived subconsciously by your audience. You know the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words? It is as valid as it has always been! Let's see how the image can tell the story of your brand in 2018.
Here are seven basic rules for creating visual content before we move to trends and tactics which will take your marketing campaign to the next level in 2018.
1. Create value for your audience.
Especially on Social Media, when it comes to selling and visuals - you should play the slow game. Dig into your target audience's drivers and behaviours. Your visuals should appeal to, as well as educate, motivate and inspire them. Once you create visual content that resonates with them, they will help you beat that nasty Facebook's algorithm by liking, sharing and distributing your message, without you asking them to.
2. Be original: stand out or you don't stand a chance
Now is the time to be honest - re-using, sharing, pinning someone else's content is no longer "cool" or right. Although this is how Pinterest got so big, now is the time to produce your own, original visual content, if you want to stand out as a brand, increase your credibility and establish your position in the industry with the ultimate goal of beating your competition.
3. Create shareable visual content.
Do not be afraid to be bold, original and fun, if this is what your audience or brand is all about. Your content must reflect your brand's or product's philosophy and at the same time appeal to your audience. Or try going the other way round? How can you incentivise your public to share their content with you? After all, earned content performs best! Brand photography is now a key driver for marketing performance.
4. Have a strategy.
It is good to experiment from time to time, but consistency is what gets you remembered. Your visual content must be similar across all platforms of distribution. Make sure you have basics covered - whether it is a colour scheme or particular style or aesthetics - be harmonious and stay faithful to your branding as well as to your audience's preferences.
5. Visual storytelling is king!
Pitches don't sell, but emotions do.
Establishing emotional communication with your social public is crucial. People no longer trust perfected ads. Show real brand #love with original on-brand content or let the customers tell a part of your story using the earned content.
When you are looking for images to use for a marketing campaign, you may be thinking of using stock photos. These do little to speak about your business and the uniqueness associated with your business, brand or product.
Sharing content created by your audience integrates consumers around the brand and sharing crowdsourced authentic content builds positive, consumer-centric brand identity.
6. Make sure your content is legal.
It is not ok to steal, we all know that. Make sure you have the rights to the visuals you use on your website, blog, social media pages, etc.
Do not take shortcuts here, unless you want to end up in court paying the authors what they deserve and risk paying fines that may amount to millions in reimbursement for copyright infringement.
Turning to crowdsourcing your conent via Foap.com can bring you plethora of legal, versatile, original, on-brand content at a cost of one photoshoot.
7. Know the trends and act accordingly
Stay informed. See what is en vogue now, for each channel, public, target group. Your internal marketing group should have someone who knows the game and latest trends, has shown interest in psychology. Brand imagery is a powerful asset when it comes to buliding your audience and converting it to consumers.
Design is all about combining visual ingredients and making them work together! The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Promote visual content that resonates with people who share your lifestyle, preference or interest or even features them.
Ultimate lesson for your first attempts at winning on shareable visual content for social media and digital needs?
Show who you are! Trust is the authentic impression on your social listeners and personality takes dominance over perfection.
And do not be afraid to invite your customers to be a part of your brand's communication!