People are hardwired to process visual information quicker and easier than they process textual information. Ninety percent of information our brains process every day come from visual sources, and our brains process that information sixty thousands times faster than they process textual information. It’s no wonder, then, that people respond better to visual content than purely textual content.
As a marketer, these numbers should mean something to you. When we say that content with embedded video gets three times more inbound links than text-only content and that forty percent of people will respond better to visual content than to text-based content, you should come to a simple conclusion – you have to include visual elements into your content. And if you haven’t done it before, here are a couple of tips that will help you get started.
Define the Mission
Each and every piece of visual content you create needs to have a goal it should achieve. The first question you should answer before creating content is – what do you want the content to do? Do you want it to provide information about your products or company? Do you want it to tell a story that will move your audience? Do you want it to illustrate and accompany your textual content?
Once you know what you want to achieve with your content, you can start thinking about the best way to do it. Do you want to inspire your audience into using your products, or do you want to simply sell it to them? You also need to think about the platforms you can use to achieve the mission – would an infographic be better than a video, or the other way around? Once you have an answer to all of these questions, it will be much clearer to you what type of visual content you need to create.
Create Standalone Visuals that Relate to Your Products
Even if your visual content is created to accompany your textual content, you should still make sure that it can tell a story on its own. You shouldn’t need a lot of text that provides context or background information for your videos, infographics, or images – they need to tell the whole story on their own.
Another important aspect of your visual content is consistency with your business, its products, and the industry in which it operates. Think about it this way – if you want to promote a bakery, you can’t use the same images you would use to promote a smartphone. You want to use content people will associate with your business. A great starting point would be to figure out the natural setting where your customers use your products.
Embrace Consumer-Created Content
If people really like your product, they will create content that features it. They can create everything from video reviews to photos they will post on Instagram. You should embrace that content. The fact is that quality content is very much in demand, and if your users are willing to create it for you, that’s great.
But to really take advantage of consumer-created content, you need to incorporate it into a campaign. This isn’t that hard to do – you just need to figure out what type of content your users like to create, and then create a campaign that would invite and incentivize them to do so. Get people to do something interesting with your products, something creative or giving, something that will make them feel good. They’ll want to share it, and you’ll get your products featured in some great content.
Keep Your Identity, but Think about the Community
The content you create needs to show your brand identity. You can’t lose yourself in chasing for the audience – you want your brand to have an identity that stands out, and around which your consumers will rally. All of your content needs to conform to your brand identity consistently.
At the same time, you should know your audience, and what they want from your content. You should look at your audience as if they were a community, and you should create content that satisfies the needs around which the community was formed. If your bakery is famous because it uses exotic recipes and ingredients and offers interesting mixes of tastes, the community that will gather around your business will probably be a community of gastro-adventurers. The content you create for them should satisfy their needs for good food and adventure.