In this guide, I will explain how to create your visual strategy with up-to-date, real-life examples that rocks.
But before moving on with it…
What Do We Mean by Visual Content?
Visual content is the sum of any content format made up of images to convey a message, share information or stimulate emotions with your audience. They can be photos, illustrations, graphics, charts, videos, or memes.
See, for example, the image at the beginning of this article, known as the featured image. It tells a story with colors and shapes instead of words. Or think about your favorite influencer's YouTube channel; the content shared there is mostly visual.
Although sometimes it is just enough to tell something via images, most of the time, as in this blog page, visual and written content are combined.
Now, you might be wondering why to bother creating and sharing visual content if articles and copy are enough to tell stories. Here are the reasons:
They are fun and memorable. Visual content can make your slightly boring and maybe heavy content much more interesting. They can function as small moments of relief from the written content and make your audience enjoy it. Also, when associated with an image, the written content becomes more sticky to the mind.
They are digested easily. Unlike the written content, visual content is like happy meals in Mcdonalds'. They are small and delish, coming with a toy which is the fun part of happy meals and visual content. It takes less time and energy to grasp them.
They are more shareable. I will go on with a food metaphor. Think of visual content as a bag of chips. You enjoy eating them, but also you love sharing them with your friends. It consists of little bites so you can share them without any fuss. Visual content is like that, you love sharing them here and there.
Do you see? Visual content is inseparable from your content warehouse. But I believe you still need more concrete reasons for having a solid visual content strategy as a content marketer.
Benefits of Having a Solid Visual Content Strategy
All the reasons I listed above to use visual content bring about higher engagement, more traffic and increased conversion rates if utilized strategically.
Higher engagement. As the visuals are consumed and shared more easily, your viewers can interact with your content more by liking, commenting, or sharing.
More traffic. The more users engage with your content, thanks to visuals, the more they are likely to visit your website to learn more about your brand.
Increased conversion rates. Visual content builds trust in your brand as it creates a positive image of you in the minds of your users via the fun and engaging content you offer them. So, they tend to spend money on your product or service.
Needless to say, these results will help you grow your business and increase your profits. And for that, it is vital to plan your visual content strategy ahead.
How to Create a Visual Content Strategy?
To raise your brand awareness and create more leads, you need to include a visual content strategy in your overall content marketing plans.
Identify your purpose.
We can handle this process from two different perspectives.
The first is the purpose of your brand in general. It is more of an existential question than a goal. Why your brand exists, and what is the value you are offering to your customers? Define it as detailed as possible to see what kind of strategy you need to follow.
The second one is specifically identifying the purpose of your visual content marketing. What do you aim to achieve with this kind of content? How will it add value to your brand? They can be smaller and to-the-point goals, just like OKRs.
Analyze your audience.
If you set your goals, now is the time to consider who is your target audience. What do they like or dislike, what are their pain points, etc. The more concrete you get in this step, the better your strategy would work.
So, create user personas to target your content. Consider them in each of the following steps and try to address them and their needs, wishes and pain points.
Find out distribution channels.
In this step, try to plan which media channels you will use to reach a wider audience than the present, which means creating a visual content distribution strategy. While doing it, you better consider channels you can use your visual content. The best options might be e-marketing and social media platforms such as Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and Facebook.
Agree upon a visual style.
Sticking with a visual style and branding is crucial to give your users a professional and trustworthy vibe.
If there is no harmony between your visual content, you might seem lame and reckless. Try to align with your team on the visual language you want to work with.
So far, so good?
If yes, let's take one more step and focus more on content creation rather than strategy.
What Makes a Visual Content Good?
Don't you experience moments when you see content online and say, "Omg, it's so freaking good?"
I do it almost every day, especially for social media posts.
Think about viral visual pieces of content you see almost daily, shared by everyone on your list.
What's it that makes them so appealing to us?
Let me explain…
The thing is that good content makes you genuinely feel something. It can be emotions such as fun and pity, but satisfying your curiosity or resolving a problem and relief would also be that feeling.
So, I cannot formulate the meaning of good visual content because it depends on how and where you are using it.
As McLuhan's popular quote states: Medium is the message.
If you know your product and audience well, all you need to do is decide how, where, and when to stimulate their emotions, and there is no one way to do it.
4 Best Visual Content Types and Examples
I want to go on with the types of content you can use as a part of your visual content marketing strategy.
You see and use images everywhere, from billboards to Instagram. They take over the world, especially in social channels.
As Denis Dutton argues, as human beings, we are evolved to be attracted to what is beautiful in all parts of life, and it applies to the media and marketing as well. Personally, I'm always more prone to buy products with more colorful and beautiful packages. It's the same with using online tools, digital products, or content.
For example, see how a cute photo of Duo colors your feed on Twitter.
I started to see more and more content with photos of people's faces on websites or digital marketing campaigns. It is because seeing a person's face makes you trust the brand and feel more connected to it.
Canva uses this tactic on its blog page. Most of the featured images consist of photos of people.
Using illustrations or icons is another great way to influence your audience.
Also, screenshots are good ways of showing testimonials or sneak peeks of your product/service.
Although video content is a little bit hard to produce, they are absorbed by the users like a sponge. It is because they are more easy-to-understand and more fun than text-based content. Some forms of video content are:
How-to or explainer videos
You might prefer each of them according to your visual marketing strategy.
Etsy has a good video marketing strategy with which it shares engaging video content on YouTube.
Infographics are great for explaining long and complex information to users from various demographics and backgrounds. They make information accessible to all.
And it means more engagement and leads for your brand.
Just make sure the information you use in the infographics is accurate and up-to-date. If so, there is no reason not to go viral, especially around business circles on LinkedIn.
See how Wix makes use of infographics to visualize information given in the blog articles:
I bet you laugh at several memes daily and share them with your friends and family. They are like tokens of social life nowadays, especially on social platforms. So it is logical to use them in your visual content marketing strategy to raise your brand awareness.
You can create memes related to your business field and gather people around with laughs and smiles. But you mustn't offend anyone when it comes to humor. You better not share it on your business accounts if you doubt it.
In conclusion, to create a powerful strategy, you should acknowledge the efficiency of visual content in marketing. The success of visual content depends on what vibe you give off and the visual platform you publish that content.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are types of visual content?
The main types of visual content are images, videos, infographics, and memes. However, they are not limited to these four types as each of them has some other subcategories depending on their aim of use and platform.
Do people prefer visual content?
It would be to overgeneralize saying yes or no to this question, as some people love text-based content while some prefer visual ones. However, we can say that visual content has more potential to be engaged with and shared by your users as they are easy to grasp and they grab their attention more.
Why is visual marketing effective?
Visual marketing is effective because visual content is generally easier to consume and share. They are less time and energy-consuming, that's why they are more engaging and effective.