Every day you fight a battle. You produce amazing content only to see meagre results that are a far cry from what you were promised by the supporters of “build it and they will come”.
Every morning, you hit “publish” and eagerly wait for a comment, a share, a simple thank-you – something.
Most new bloggers and marketers mistakenly blame their content for lack of engagement. Although content can be a problem, as a serious blogger you wouldn’t post anything but high-quality content.
Yet, results aren’t too promising.
The main ingredient that’s missing from the conversation is the visual component in your blog. Visual means videos, images, memes, comic strips, Slideshare presentations, Tumblr gifs – anything goes.
Your content does not need to be boring.
By incorporating some cool visuals, you can add pizzazz to your website or blog. Want proof? Look at the skyrocketing rise of social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram.
Pinterest, launched in 2011, quickly gained an increase in unique visitors by a whopping 1047%. Instagram that started in 2010 has grown to 130 million users with 1 billion likes every day [source].
Humans seem to be wired for visual content. There’s also a stat doing the rounds of Net that humans process visuals 60000 times faster than normal text.
To make my case stronger, let’s do an experiment. I can try writing a paragraph of how you must try the local bakery’s red velvet cake, or I can say it all using an image below. I can’t be sure you’ll read the whole paragraph, but I am darn sure you’ll look at the cake.
Now, if you’re a health-conscious person or don’t particularly enjoy cakes, you’ll pass. But at least you gave it a thought and were engaged with my message for a few seconds.
And that’s all you have when you’re writing for online – a few seconds to capture your audience’s attention.
According to StatisticBrain, you have eight seconds to do so. That’s eight. You might use some power-packed words, but it’s painfully clear that words don’t just cut it anymore.
This is why visuals are so important in your marketing message. Visuals form a connection with your reader; they evoke feelings quicker than your words can.
Visuals also talk to the individual and tell a story. A reader can decide for themselves whether they are interested or not – but they do decide instead of leaving your blog in a hurry hooked by the next shiny object online.
The best part? Visuals are highly “portable” – for example, you can use a video and have an engaged prospect irrespective of which industry you’re in. You could be in a “boring” industry (think manufacturing, finance, B2B) and still achieve much with rich images.
As an example, check out this infographic explaining a seemingly boring concept in an engaging way. If it helps to know, it got 350,000 visitors in 30 days.
Marketing is about telling stories and thoughtful visuals lets you tell a story more effectively.
How to spice up your content using visual marketing
1. Use real people
I have long-stopped using “stock” images and for good reason. Generic stock photography doesn’t cut it anymore.
Your readers want to feel the connection first, buy later. And why not? Who buys from a website that throws impersonal, even hilarious, stock images in your face such as this one?
Instead, use real people from work, expressions and thoughtful images that others can relate with. Perhaps something more real like this would do.
2. Bring your own
Got a smartphone? You can be a photographer too! All you need is to click pictures of your own. Of course, I don’t mean slap selfies on your home page (you could do it too if you got creative about it). But social media like Facebook and Twitter are a great place to showcase your amateur photography skills.
Using smartphones for your images adds a personality and colour. People buy from people, not companies.
3. Create your own
Not sure of your photography skills or don’t have the time? You can still create your own visuals.
By now you know social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest love infographics and photos with text overlays.
If you’re after images with quotes, Canva is a great place to start with some cool free backgrounds.
Disclosure: I work for Visme, our latest new creation.
4. Use snackable visuals
Snackable visuals are just that – snackable. They are easy to digest and let you cut through the noise by quickly catching attention to make your point. They are standalone and don’t necessarily need a supporting text.
Another plus is these are highly shareable (Pinable, Tweetable etc).
Here’s one emphasizing the size of your images. Note how this mini-infographic is easy to understand and share on its own.
5. Think outside the box
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what a “selfie” is. When done cleverly, your selfie can become your most raved-about thing – like this one that scored 3 million retweets. Neat.
Source: Ellen DeGeneres
Before you start thinking “Oh but they’re all actors”, check out how other non-celebrity brands are doing it:
Source: Dr Woods
More and more online marketers are using doodles and sketch illustrations to put their message across the audience.
You can also turn to your loyal customers for visuals. Smart brands are crowdsourcing images for their social media. Customers pose with the product and submit their photos for contests and brands use these images to create trust and connection with prospects.
Make sure your images can stand alone and be shared. Include a “Pin It” buttons on your blog images.
Another cool tip is to use images for your blog titles, such as the one used in this post, and boost user engagement.
Remember: Content is no longer the king, great content is. With a solid visual strategy, you can easily deliver the latter to your readers.
Got more ideas on spicing up your content? What are your favourite types of visuals? Share with us below!