Content marketing is how we reach our prospects and customers today. I’m a fan! I even wrote a book about content marketing.
But these days, there’s another powerhouse method in town. There’s another channel we need to use. I call it visual content marketing.
What is visual content marketing?
Visual content marketing refers to using images to convey valuable information in an engaging visual format. The purpose? To attract people to your website, your cause, your offers.
Visual content marketing examples include images with educational or inspiring text, infographics, and “signature branded images” that promote written, audio, or video content.
(Scroll down for visual examples!)
Remind me, please: what’s content marketing?
Content marketing is any information, online or offline, which informs and educates prospects and customers as a way to build trust and engagement.
The most common formats for content marketing today are:
- Blog posts or articles like this one
- Video blogs or “blogs”
- Informational posts on social media
But using a content marketing strategy to promote your business goes way back!
You may remember:
- Newspaper “supplements” that were a mix of content and ads for a specific company’s line of products
- Long, information-packed mailings for a product or service that used to arrive in your mailbox
- Ads featuring recipes with which used one company’s branded products (how many of those did you clip and save?)
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How does visual content marketing differ from written, audio, and video content marketing?
It engages the brain
One of the major advantages to visual content is that it is processed in a different — and less busy — part of the brain.
Think about it:
From the time you awake to the time you lay your head on your pillow at night, you are reading, listening to, and writing or speaking words. Words! All day long.
But there’s a super fast part of your brain that’s not as overtaxed — it’s the visual cortex.
When we tap into the visual cortex we engage more of our prospects’ brains.
It adds visual interest to your page
Visual content marketing can be used to create more inviting pages.
When you break up page text with occasional images, you show the reader that the page will be easy to skim and understand.
This helps boost time on page and information retention.
It’s fast and easy to consume
Here’s a surprising fact:
When researchers tested how long it takes to process an image, they recorded 13 milliseconds.
But that may not be accurate. You know why?
Our brains might process images even faster than that! 13 milliseconds was the shortest measurable unit of time they were able to capture.
The important thing to remember here is that images are understood almost immediately. There’s no …
Letters > Words > Sentences > Paragraphs process.
It’s an image of something and we “get” it immediately.
Why not put that speed to work in your marketing?
What does visual content marketing look like?
Visual content marketing helps attract the right people to your website, your cause, your offers.
Visual content marketing: article image examples
At the top of every blog article at Big Brand System, I include a piece of visual content marketing like these:
These article images do a few things really well:
- They’re an “easy in” to the written content. Because images are processed so quickly and easily, they give the viewer a quick way to engage with your written content.
- They add meaning that goes beyond words. With clear images like the ones above, people see and understand your idea immediately — no words wasted.
- They serve as “ads” for your content wherever it’s shared. Article images like these display when you share your written content on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They entice viewers to click and consume the content you’re sharing.
Visual content marketing: the quote image example
My friend Dawn Kotzer uses visual content marketing like a pro.
She was a student in my first Image Lab cohort — but came to the class with so much previous experience I featured her in a bonus interview that students can use as inspiration for being courageous with their images!
Taking your own photos and adding thought-provoking text induces curiosity and inspires conversation.
Visual content marketing: infographic example
Earlier this year, I put together an infographic that shows the step-by-step messy-to-polished process most logo design takes.
It includes all the awkward in-between steps my logo design took and features the thoughts that were going through my head as I worked on it over several days.
Infographics are high-level visual content marketing. They communicate information with a combination of images and words and they’re easy to skim and understand.
Can you create visual content marketing if you’re not a designer?
A little inside secret: no one is BORN a designer.
Design is a process and that process has a series of rules.
Designers learn by applying those rules to their projects over many years until those rules become the way they see and respond to everything they do.
You can learn those rules, too.
It’s a little like cooking: once you understand how foods react to heat and cold and you see and taste what happens when you combine certain ingredients, you’re better able to predict the end result when you start freestyle cooking.
Design is all about combining visual ingredients and making them work together! The more you practice, the better you’ll get. 🙂
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