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10 Visual Content Marketing Questions Answered for Marketers and Entrepreneurs

Visual Marketing
Visual Marketing

Knowledge is power. Content is king.

Visual content marketing however, is what gives power to the king.

As a marketer, you cannot neglect the power of content. Sharing valuable information with your audience help you build trust and develop a strong and influential brand.

We know that 61% of US online consumers are making purchases based on recommendations they read on blogs.

Therefore, why wouldn’t you do the same thing? Why not set up a blog for your own company or the company you represent?

Articles with images get 94% more views than plain text articles and marketers are aware of this fact, considering that 65% of them believe that visual marketing solution is at the core of their strategy.

At the same time, the number of people who remember articles that feature relevant images increases by the same amount of 65%.

This is why I have decided that today we are going to talk about effective visual marketing.

In fact, I will answer some of the most recurring questions many of my colleagues, friends, and clients have asked me during the last couple of years.

1. How is visual content perceived by the human brain?

What is the role of the brain in controlling visual imagery and why does it matter for a marketer?

I am not going into the anatomy of the brain.

According to studies, there is a certain area responsible for receiving and analyzing visual stimuli. The cerebral cortex is responsible for all the advanced brain functions that are specific to Homo sapiens as language, memory, intelligence, and consciousness.

Basically, the areas of the brain responsible for reading, learning and listening are similar. However, there is proof that visual content and visual stimuli are easier to comprehend and memorize.

This is why images and videos play an important role in content marketing, advertising, and content publishing.

The text is symbolic. It is analytic and requires a certain amount of attention to go through. Unlike images, when we read written text information, we need to process the logical build-up of it and analyze the symbols. Let me explain this in more simple terms: When you see the image of a house, your brain automatically understands what it means. When you see the word “house” written somewhere, it takes time for your brain to process the letters, to understand their meaning and then, to transform them into a visual representation.

Both visual representations processed by the brain are virtual. However, one is processed faster than the other.

visual brain visual

Image source: Br24.com

In conclusion, here’s how we should summarize this chapter and the answer to its question:

  • The brain processes images faster than text. In fact, they are processed directly. They are not filtered by a cognitive process.
  • While text may still be your main choice when you want to convey a message to your audience, pair it with relevant images.
  • People understand better a visual message. Keep this information in mind and take it into account whenever you write an article, design a banner or compose an email newsletter.

2. What is visual content design?

Visual marketing and design go hand in hand.

This is a question many ask but only a few choose to answer. And still, we have more than one answer to it. Some of them say that visual marketing design is all about user interface and user experience (UI/UX).

In other words, everything we do in order to keep our audience interested, engaged and content through the interface we welcome them with.

This interface may be the design of a website, the design of a mobile app or even the design of a software program.

Other marketers, on the other hand, define the concept of visual content design as the sum of all visuals published on a website or social media platforms.

In this case, visual content design encompasses all visual elements that are close to the brand and that are being published on blogs, social media, websites, as infographics etc.

The main purpose is to drive results such as traffic, awareness, conversions.

Thirdly, we can say that visual content design is related to content marketing. Specifically, it refers to the design part of the content marketing strategy, especially the creative aspect of it.

Visual content design brings visual creativity into your content marketing strategy.

Here’s a great example of visual content design in the form of Infographics.

It comes from YLM Sport Science and it’s available on their Instagram profile:

YLM Sport Science

In conclusion, here’s how we should summarize this chapter and the answer to its question:

Visual content design can encompass the following types of design:

3. What is a visual content strategy?

Every marketer knows what a content marketing strategy means and how to use this knowledge for the benefit of their campaigns. In order to be effective as a marketer, you need to convey valuable content to your audience and convince them to pay attention to you. If you want to keep them engaged, however, you need to keep them focused long enough for the message to reach them.

This is where visual content marketing strategy comes into place. You need a reliable strategy. You need to focus on always finding the visuals to pair with your content and make sure the first seconds someone spends on your page are not wasted.

Also, your visual content strategy may also be beneficial for your building your brand identity. My previous article on “How to create a visual content strategy” will help you understand the various implications of this endeavour. Also, it will help you build a foundation upon which to start your marketing strategy, based on visual content.

Choose relevant visuals for every one of your articles as part of your visual content strategy. Enhance your content with images.

A great example in this case comes from CMI.

Notice how the first thing someone who visits a specific page sees. It’s not the content of the article but the featured image that precedes the text.CMI category

In conclusion, here’s how we should summarize this chapter and the answer to its question:

  • Content marketing should encompass a visual content strategy.
  • Visual content makes your articles more appealing and easier to understand.
  • Visual content catches the eye of your clients and makes your content seem more interesting.
  • A great and informative article paired with appropriate visuals will get more attention and convert better.

4. What does “visual content” mean?

In many ways, I think I have already answered this question in the previous paragraphs.

However, in order to help you better understand the concept, I will try to do it again, more specifically.

Visual content represents everything you share with your audience, visually.

In this category we may include stock photos, personal photos, graphs, screenshots, banner ads, animations, doodles or videos. In other words, these are all the types of content except written text and audio content.

Visual content allows you to tell your story more quickly by communicating visually, through feelings, colors, shapes and photos.

Here’s a great example of how these type of content can help you visual branding marketing.

It comes from Red Bull, one of the greatest companies when it comes to creation and distribution of this type of content. In fact, their entire marketing strategy is based on visual marketing.

redbull instagram

In conclusion, here’s how we should summarize this chapter and the answer to its question:

Visual content comprises of:

  • The visual elements of a website (banners, buttons etc.)
  • The visual elements of all articles published on the website (stock photos, graphs, special typographies, doodles, art, videos).
  • All social media posts based on visual imagery such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest posts.
  • Display banners, whether they are used for free marketing purposes or as paid advertisements.

5. What is visual content marketing?

Visual content marketing encompasses all marketing strategies that are based on visual imagery.

Visual content marketing is based primarily on the direct relationship that exists between objects, contexts and relevant images. Instead of delivering plain texts with information, visual marketers choose to deliver visual representations of that information or at least, to backup text with visual imagery.

Visual content marketing builds a relationship between abstract data and images, facilitating the transmission of information from the source to the receiver.

Here’s a great example on how you can use visual content as a great marketing strategy.

It comes from one of the most influential marketers of the last years, Neil Patel, and presents us with one of his visual guides.

Instead of writing eBooks, he publishes informative and great looking online guides like the following one:

online marketing guide neil patel

In conclusion, here’s how we should summarize this chapter and the answer to its question:

  • Content without visuals is not attractive to the viewer.
  • Images help you build a better relationship between your content and the viewer.
  • The audience reacts better to visual stimuli and therefore, articles with visuals help you catch their interest easier.

6. Why is visual content important?

According to Hubspot, people remember only ten percents of what they hear and 65 percents of what they see, after only three days. This means that visual content is more powerful than other types of content. When you add images to text however, it helps the viewer better understand the message and it also help his or her brain to better memorize it.

This is very important, especially when you work on branding.

You need people to commit your brand to their memory and visual information facilitates it. You need to have a visual marketing plan!

Visual content is important due to the fact that is easier to remember and as a consequence, more effective in marketing.

Visual content tells you an instant story. It only takes a second to read it, understand it and memorize it.

Let’s explain the importance of visual content through a real example.

It comes from TOMS’ #WithoutShoes campaign dedicated on raising awareness on a serious social problem: kids that cannot afford to buy shoes. Their campaign was entirely visual. People were asked to take photographs of themselves without shoes and post them on Instagram under the #withoutshoes hashtag.

#WithoutShoes campaign

For each of these photographs, the company donated a pair of shoes to a poor kid. The campaign was successful. 27,000 children from 10 countries received new shoes.

In conclusion, here’s how we should summarize this chapter and the answer to its question:

  • People remember better visual stimuli.
  • People react better to visual stimuli.
  • Visuals can improve your reach and therefore, your campaign’s overall stats.
  • Visual content is great for a branding or an awareness campaign.

7. How to avoid visual content copyright?

Copyrights infringement is a serious problem in our modern society. The issue is facilitated by the World Wide Web, and the fact that we can access almost anything from anywhere.

However, every marketer knows that what’s on the Internet, while being free to visualize, it’s not always free to share and republish. You cannot just take an image or a logo, modify it a little and then repost it as your own.

The best way to avoid copyright infringement is to create the visuals by yourself. Shoot your own photos, make your own doodles, and design your banners or your Infographics. Also, when it comes to stock photos, be prepared to read carefully the policies and the disclaimers even when you end up on a free website that allows you to download without costs.

Avoid visual content copyright by respecting the rights of others’ work and never publish without buying your visual items or receiving permission for reuse.

A great example in this case comes from a copyright dispute between Seattle design firm Modern Dog and Disney/Target.

It’s a great example because it shows how copyright can be an issue even when you think you are creating an entirely different thing from the original work.

modern dog campaign

In short, the designers published a series of dog sketches in a compendium edited by Chronicle Books back in 2008. After a while, a series of T-shirts produced by Disney and Target for a clothing line from the movie “High School Musical” was released and sold in the US.

The Seattle based design company filed a lawsuit, claiming that Disney had in fact stolen their designs and used them for their T-shirts without permission.

In conclusion, here’s how we should summarize this chapter and the answer to its question:

  • Copyright infringement is a serious issue, treat it as such.
  • Avoid such issues by always ensuring you have the right to use the visuals you want to publish or include in your designs.
  • Create your own designs from scratch and avoid copyright infringements altogether.
  • Shoot your own photographs or buy online the rights to use the stock images you need.

8. How to use a visual content composer with WordPress?

I don’t know if you already knew it or not but there’s visual composer available as a plugin in WordPress’ repository. Why is such a plugin useful for a content marketer? Well, the answer is quite easy to give: A visual composer allows you to visually design your web page and make it look exactly how you imagined it to be. Ah, and you don’t need to know how to code html or php.

The visual composer works via a drag and drop interface that is easy to use and learn.

Visual composer allows you therefore to create the web page of your dreams with minimal effort and minimal technical skills.

Basically, all you need to do is install the plugin as you would install any other plugin in WordPress. Activate it and choose your subscription. There is a free option and of course, a commercial one, more rich in features.

Add style and a visual identity to your web page by designing it with a professional visual composer.

In conclusion, here’s how we should summarize this chapter and the answer to its question:

  • Download the plugin and the starter theme.
  • Choose a plan: free or premium. Premium prices start at $59 for a single website and go up to $349 for the developer plan.
  • Design your main page and your articles individually, according to your visual content marketing strategy.

9. How to create visual content for social media?

Social media is very powerful when it comes to content marketing, branding and raising awareness. However, if you want to be successful, as a marketer, you need top notch social content. Otherwise, your followers may not engage with your brand.

So, how do you create professional looking visual content for your social media accounts? Well, you should think first about your audience and what is it that they want to see, hear and read about.

Based on this knowledge, you can search for the adequate images, the valuable content the audience might like and of course, the tools that will help you design your posts. In some cases, the audience wants to just read updates from your company while in other cases, they might need something more.

In my opinion, the best way to create your visual content for social media, in terms of effort and time spent doing it, is via a dedicated tool.

Bannersnack for example, my day-to-day online design tool is one of your best choices due to its huge templates database.

Of course, there is another reason for using this tool, as well: it has pre-built templates for all kinds of social media channels. These presets allow you to concentrate on the content and less on the size of the banner which is a great thing considering how busy we all are these days.

Create your social media content by always focusing on your audience rather than your own brand. Create content for them and they will follow you to the end.

bannersnack best banner editor app

In conclusion, here’s how we should summarize this chapter and the answer to its question:

  • Whenever you want to post something on social media, think about your audience. Think about what they want to see and what do they like.
  • Create professional looking social media posts. Your visuals should be top notch in terms of quality should you want to be successful as a marketer.
  • Use professional tools such as Bannersnack in order to reduce the time necessary for the design part. Also, these tools will help you get inspiration from their templates and images repository.

10. How to create a visual marketing plan?

Your visual marketing plan should be tied to your overall marketing strategy, that will drive you the amount of results you want.

However, when it comes to social media and advertising, visual marketing strategy can function as an individual one. When it comes to the actual design of your plan, there are four main important things to think about.

First, you need to define your voice. Find out what it is that can help you stand out from the crowd and stick to it. Be unique, be original, come up with a style that will be easily correlated with your brand and your brand identity. Then, be consistent and try to always rise up to your audience’s expectation and deliver your messages with the same voice.

Secondly, commit to always tell a story, no matter what you have to communicate. Storytellers were always high praised by the community due to their skills. And yes, it’s a skill to be able to transmit a message that is not dull and formal, a message that also tells a story.

Thirdly, commit to growing your brand awareness. It is not enough to just tell a story, to have a branded voice and to have a community of followers. You need those followers to follow your brand and not just the story or the visuals you publish. You need them to recognize your style, your image and your values wherever, whenever your publish something.

And finally, commit to maintaining the influence you have gained through social media and your blogs. This means that you will need to publish constantly and be consistent with your strategy.

A visual marketing plan starts with defining your voice, your values and everything that will be later defined as representative to your brand.

Here’s a great example of an effective visual marketing plan and content strategy.

It comes from Expedia, an aggregation service that sells travel tickets, holiday packages and accommodations. Instead of just selling their services, they committed to selling experiences.

And, everything came into place on their blog called Out There Starts Here, where they decided to publish posts related to the experiences a traveler has when travelling abroad: travel tips, ideas, and inspiration.

expedia

Of course, everything they publish on the blog falls under their visual marketing strategy. The blog posts are not focused on texts but rather on how each of these places look like, stimulating the audience with stunning images and landscapes that are supposed to convince them to pack for the next trip immediately.

In conclusion, here’s how we should summarize this chapter and the answer to its question:

The four most important things you need to consider when creating a visual marketing plan are:

  • Define your voice
  • Tell your stories
  • Build brand awareness
  • Maintain your influence

Conclusion

Visual content marketing is one of the most important ingredients of a successful online content marketing strategy.

With this article, I tried to answer some of the most common questions related to visuals, to pinpoint their importance and highlight some of the most important aspects of your visual content distribution.

Should you have any other questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section available below. I will be more than happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.

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Robert Katai

Visual Marketer and Content Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

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