Content is king in digital marketing, with written words still ruling today. But a content marketing trend has become so mainstream it’s hard to ignore its value: visual content.
No wonder Facebook and YouTube are the most popular social networks worldwide. Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest are also catching up. Visual elements like images and videos dominate these social media channels, with some of them getting viral.
All-text-without-visuals is a thing of the past—visuals reign in content marketing nowadays. For your campaigns to stay relevant to the times and your audience’s ever-changing needs, beef them up with the right mix of text and visuals.
Why You Need a Visual Content Strategy
Photo courtesy of Walter Lim via Flickr, Creative Commons
Let’s define first what it means to integrate visuals into a content marketing strategy.
In visual content marketing, you use images, videos, infographics, memes, or other types of visual content (may be accompanied by informative or inspirational text) for your marketing campaigns. Visuals come in an appealing, engaging format to entice people to visit your website, know your brand better, or buy your product or service.
Content marketing becomes successful with the use of well-designed visuals. According to PR Daily, visual content gets viewed 94% times more than content without any visuals.
Marketers see the valuable impact of visual content on growing their business. In the 2018 Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs study, B2C marketers chose pre-produced videos (45%) and illustrations or photos (29%) as among the most effective content marketing types for meeting their company’s specific goals.
In the future, visual content will still be the bread and butter of both B2C and B2B content marketing campaigns. Marketers plan to use more pre-recorded videos (77%), images (68%), and live videos (63%), according to a 2018 Social Media Examiner report.
If your peers in the digital marketing industry can do it, so can you. Here are four specific ways a visual content strategy can help you achieve your business objectives.
Raising brand awareness
According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners – they can retain information better with images, videos, and other visuals than with written words. That’s why UX planning must be a critical element of content marketing strategy.
Additionally, the Wyzowl’s State of Video Marketing 2018 survey found that 83% of consumers who have watched a branded video would consider sharing it with their friends. More shares mean more visibility for your brand.
Want your audience to remember your brand? Use visual content to increase your brand recognition and recall. For one, you can put a watermark of your brand logo in all the visual assets you use online. When an image gets viral, people can easily associate that with your brand.
Check your company website or e-commerce site, as well as your landing pages. Are they just static? Make your brand easier to remember by updating them with compelling photos, videos, and other visuals. Just don’t overdo it.
Increasing website traffic
By 2021, videos will account for 82% of all consumer Internet traffic worldwide, based on the latest forecast by the Cisco Visual Networking Index.
Video production costs a lot of money, but it’s a necessary investment to attract more people to your website. If you hesitate to make videos a part of your content marketing strategy due to budget concerns, consider how much your business will lose in terms of website traffic. Videos have been the rage these days—embrace it.
Engaging customers through visual storytelling
Adding visuals to written content makes your content marketing campaigns more interesting and keeps your audience engaged. Rather than having long blocks of text, for instance, several images that break them up makes your content easier for people to skim and digest.
According to BuzzSumo data, Facebook posts with images had 2.3 times more engagement than those without. Meanwhile, including images to Twitter updates resulted in 150% more retweets than plain text updates.
Visual content also helps you to keep your site visitors on your landing page. This raises the click-through rates to other parts of your website and the visitor’s engagement with your brand.
Why do people prefer to engage with visual content? With just an image that resonates with your audience, you can elicit joy, sadness, shock, fear or anger. That’s how powerful visual storytelling is.
Improving conversion rates
Ultimately, higher brand awareness, site traffic, and customer engagement from a successful visual content marketing strategy can all lead to increased lead generation and sales.
Video content, for example, is a key driver in the buyer’s journey. The 2018 Wyzowl Video Marketing Statistics Report notes that video has become “a decisive factor” that convinces consumers to purchase or download a product or piece of software.
The report found that a brand’s video influences 81% of viewers to buy a product or service. Also, 95% of people learn more about a product or service by watching an explainer video.
How is Visual Content Marketing Different from Content Writing?
Visual content creation and content writing aren’t mutually exclusive. Together with content planning and promotion, these critical parts make up the content marketing process.
Nevertheless, it helps to know the differences between the two types of content, so you can better strategize your campaigns.
Visual content gets your message across faster
The human brain processes visuals in its visual cortex, a less busy and faster part that’s separate from the busier section that processes words. This is why it’s faster and easier to understand, for instance, a cooking instruction through a video rather than text.
Visuals are easier to remember
Images, videos, and other visuals are processed in the brain’s long-term memory, while words are processed in the short-term memory. When people read text-based information, only 10% to 20% of it gets retained. Add a picture to a written information, and people will recall 65% of it.
Creating visuals is harder than content writing, but not as hard as you think it is
It takes a specialized skill set to produce a stunning infographic or educational video. But even if you’re not a designer, you can still create great visuals. A lot of online visual content marketing tools can help you easily edit images, create memes, and animated GIFs, convert PowerPoint slides to video files, and more.
They’re suitable for different business-customer relationships
Should you use more text or more visuals in your content marketing campaigns? It depends on whether you’re marketing to consumers or to other businesses.
B2C marketers prefer visual content over textual content. The 2018 B2C Content Marketing Report shows that most B2C marketers use pre-produced videos (76%), illustrations or photos (67%), and infographics (59%).
On the other hand, B2B marketers use text-based content more than their B2C counterparts do. According to the 2018 B2B report, B2B marketers use case studies (73%) and ebooks or white papers (71%). Additionally, most B2B marketers said ebooks or white papers (62%) and case studies (47%) were the most effective content marketing type.
Moreover, blogging is more important to B2B (36%) than B2C (22%) marketing, found a recent study by the Social Media Examiner. Meanwhile, more B2C marketers (36%) see the importance of visual content than B2B marketers (25%).
Compelling visuals or written words are great on their own. But when you use them both, you can expect greater results.
Do you focus more on visuals or text in your content marketing campaigns? Which one works better for your business? Share your thoughts!