The landscape of marketing has changed drastically just in the past few years. With the ever-increasing popularity of both social media and mobile devices, the way people consume content is in a constant state of flux. Market trends can shift in the blink of an eye and can do it again without notice.
This is why responsible marketers keep up with current trends and create content that compliments those trends in whatever ways engage their audience most effectively. One of the most important elements of your marketing strategy is your visuals.
“Visual content” refers to anything that uses images or video to enhance your brand messaging. Though powerful and effective on its own, how you present visual content matters. For example, if a student has too many assignments piled up and is looking for an essay writing service they are quite likely to pick a visually pleasing website. Meaning it looks well-structured, with a clean professional look and feeling to it, and capable of providing them with the academic assistance they need. Here are several things that you can do to maximize the effectiveness of your visuals and provide the best possible experience for your audience through them.
Develop Written Content Around Your Visuals
Most marketers still do the exact opposite of this. They hire experienced writers to create blog content or social media posts, then plug in visuals that somewhat coincide with the messaging. The problem with that is that there will always be certain incongruities between the messaging in the words and the images.
Let’s say, for example, that you are promoting an online business. You have some really good blog content, but no visuals as of yet. You scour some of the stock photo sites or royalty-free photo mills and stick a few academic-themed images on the page.
Your images depict various aspects of student life but none of them showcase the frustration of being stuck with a close deadline and an acute case of writer’s block. That, of course, is the type of picture you want in the head of someone reading your article. Instead, all they see are a bunch of generic students engaged in generic academic pursuits. What is the overlying message in your content at that point? “Generic.”
Always source your visuals first and use them to inspire the words. If you work it that way your visuals with retain a high level of relevance that is typically absent when they are simply inserted as an afterthought.
Don’t Rely Solely On Stock Images or Video
Your visual content doesn’t have to be all polished and studio-quality, especially on social media. In fact, showing people a more honest and real depiction of your brand can go a long way toward building trust with your audience.
Don’t be afraid to use a few candid photos or phone-shot amateur video in your social posts, but do make sure that those kinds of visuals are paired with other forms of relevant content. This helps you maintain an atmosphere of professionalism even if your content is more casual.
All of that aside, stock images can, and do, enhance your brand messaging by providing that eye-catching effect that makes people stop scrolling and engage with your content. Use stock images when linking to blog content, sales pages, or other pieces of content that you use to create conversions. The more polished your messaging when you are attempting to make a sale or get clicks on your ad content, the better.
Be Careful About Placement and Usage
You want your visuals to enhance your content, not dominate it. Don’t seed your blog content, for example, with so many pictures that it becomes hard to find the written content people have tapped to see. Using too many images or videos can also slow down page loads. This is the kiss of death to your marketing initiative, especially with mobile users. If your pages aren’t loading within a few seconds, your bounce rate is going to soar.
It is important that you give all types of content on their own platforms. You want each piece of content on the page to tell its own story but also agree with the messaging throughout. With that in mind, try not to integrate too much text into your visuals if you can avoid it. Don’t use filters or gratuitous enhancements. It is difficult to take your content seriously if it is seriously gonzo in its presentation.
Finally, remember that size matters. This is true for several reasons. First, as we mentioned, large files bog download times. Start by limiting images to 600×400 pixels whenever possible and run high-definition images through any of the free online compression tools to decrease the file size. Make sure your videos are at maximum compression as well and try to limit their length to a minute or less.
Smart, Responsible, and Relevant
The way you present visual content will determine how effective it is. Do not sell the rest of your content short by neglecting or using the wrong visuals to enhance your messaging. Be smart about the visuals you do use and be conservative when it comes to usage. If you keep all of these things in mind, your audience will appreciate your efforts, your audience will grow, and the search engines will ultimately rank your pages better for your efforts.