How do you learn best? If you’re like the majority (65 percent) of people, you probably learn best through the use of visual aids. A person can blab on and on about something, but until they show you a graph or image, the info’s not going to sink in.
Most people don’t just learn better with visual content — they also process information more quickly when it’s in visual form. That means that pictures, graphs and moving images all are more quickly understood that blocks of text.
What’s this all mean for content marketers? That knowing how to use visual content is critical.
For the most part, marketers have gotten the message. Nearly one-third of marketers have stated that images are the most important form of content they use. Among B2B marketers, more than half prioritize the creation of visual content over other forms.
If you haven’t already started using visual content in your content marketing strategy, take a look at the different types of visual content out there and learn how to start using it today.
Types of Visual Content
When some people think about using visual content, they assume that it means attaching a still image to a blog post and calling it a day. While using images with blog posts can help the posts grab attention and better engage with an audience, that isn’t the only type of visual content out there.
In fact, it’s likely that there are other forms of visual content that are going to do a better job of engaging with people than a few hastily chosen images. Here are a few types of visual content and ideas for using each:
- Infographics. Infographics are full of useful information that’s laid out in a visually appealing, easy to follow way. Infographics are an excellent way to add visual content that people will look at — eye-tracking studies have shown that people pay attention to visuals (like infographics) that contain information rather than randomly placed photos.
- Memes/Gifs. Memes and gifs are the “lighter” side of visual content marketing. For that reason, some folks might be afraid to use them, as they might assume that memes and gifs will make them look less professional or goofier. In reality, a well-placed gif or a tongue-in-cheek meme can make people trust your brand more and can show the world that you’re in-the-know and aware of current trends.
- Charts and Graphs. Like infographics, charts and graphs provide a way to present data visually. They can be particularly useful when you have a lot of complex, concrete information to share with your audience and want to do it without boring them to tears.
- Slideshows. A slideshow presentation isn’t only something that needs to be delivered live and in person. You can also create and post a slideshow to a site like Slideshare for people to reference on their own. A slideshow is essentially a multi-page infographic. It provides people with the info they’re seeking while keeping them engaged.
- Visual Quotes. Visual quotes provide a way for you to highlight important information in an article or blog post. To create one, choose a sentence or paragraph from your article that you want to highlight (it can be a quote from someone you interviewed). Pull the quote out, make the text bigger and choose an image to go with it — such as a photo of the person who said it. There’s no better way to say to be people “hey, this is important!”
- Videos. Although video is big enough to get its own separate content category, it’s also an excellent example of visual content.
- Screenshots. Screenshots are a terrific type of visual content for when you want to create a tutorial that walks people through how to do something online. As you create the tutorial, you take screenshots of the project in process, then upload those to your content. You can annotate the screenshots to show people what they need to know.
Why You Should Use Visual Content
Visual content has loads of benefits. Depending on the type of content you use, it can increase your traffic. For example, infographics have been shown to boost website traffic by more than 10 percent.
People aren’t just more likely to check out a page with more visual content, they’re also more likely to engage with content that has a visual component. One study from Buffer found that tweets with images were much more likely to be favorited than tweets without images. Engagement rates more than double for Facebook posts with images compared to those without images.
Visuals also make your content more memorable. Think about the last book, article or blog post you read? How much of it do you remember? Now think about a story a friend told you. How much of the fine details to you remember?
Not a lot, most likely. People tend to retain around 10 percent of the information they hear. But if that info comes with an image, they are likely to retain around 65 percent.
How to Work Visual Content Into Your Marketing Strategy
How can you get started using visual content? It’s essential that you add images with intention and with a plan. Don’t just stick a few pictures into the middle of a blog post and call it a day.
When adding visuals to your content, ask yourself the following:
- What are my goals? What do you hope to get out of a content marketing in general? Why are you doing this?
- What images make sense for my brand’s style? Do you want to impress with data and numbers or are you hoping to show off your more carefree and funny side with GIFs and memes?
- How does this particular image help me achieve those goals? Will an infographic make people more likely to click over to your site? Will adding a GIF to a Facebook post make people like it more?
One last thing to remember about using visual content: your images and visuals shouldn’t override the value of your content. That is, don’t use images and visual content for the sake of it. Just as you want your content to be useful and valuable for your audience, you want to make sure that any visual elements you add contribute to the content’s usefulness and value.