Creating visual impact in content marketing

Jul 30, 2015

Narrative Art Director, Christelle Grobler, uncovers the importance of visuals and how they can determine whether a content marketing tactic will soar to success or sink into ignominy.

We’re in an era where customers are flooded with visual messages everywhere and at every step of our way: whether they’re billboards on our way to work, or on Facebook as we browse in bed before going to sleep. To put this craze into perspective, an average of 70 million images are uploaded worldwide to Instagram on a daily basis – an ever-growing number.

Humans are predominantly visual creatures and our environment reflects this without a doubt. Because we’re bombarded with these stimulations left, right and centre we’re becoming more selective about when, where and how we will engage when we explore content in our own time. However, for any engagement to take place, an emotional connection needs to be formed.

Think about it for a moment, when you pick up a gossip magazine or flip through the latest Builders digital magazine, you normally respond first to the visuals before deciding to read more.


Infographics say it all

Infographics have become popular because people like to consume small chunks of information. Take, for example, the personal angling blog CarpFever. A very basic ‘Did you know?’ graphic with little text appeared on the Facebook page, and by simply looking at the visual, fans immediately understood what it was about (see graphic below), and the graphic intrigued avid anglers to read the rest. Over a period of three days, this post had 98 shares and reached more than 20 000 people organically. The group only had about 920 followers at the time, making this quite a substantial achievement – graphic content works when you target it at the correct audience.

Best practice is visual

Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report provides valuable insight into the integration of visual content within social media platforms. Social media is fast moving, and grabbing hold of a customer’s attention has become the goal for many marketers.

Social Media Examiner asked marketers to identify the types of content they use in their social media marketing. Some 71 per cent use visual assets, and close behind is blogging at 70 per cent. This comes as no surprise. BuzzFeed’s Jonathan Perelman says: “content is king, but distribution is queen”. Distribution of content hangs heavily on the quality and ‘catchiness’ of visuals. Research by Twitter suggests that tweets with an image get a bump in retweets of 35 per cent, and if they have video content, they’re close behind with 28 per cent.

How to stand out from the crowd

With all the visual noise out there, how do you make your brand stand out? The key is to ensure you’re putting out strong visuals that support the content well, relate to your target audience and assist in getting the message across.

A picture should paint a thousand words: your audience needs to look at an image and know what the story is going to be about without reading a word. The visuals are the breadcrumbs that lead customers to engage in your brand, engendering affinity and loyalty, and as we see time and again, impacting positively on the bottom line.

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