Building your content strategy from the ground up can sometimes be a daunting prospect, but breaking it up into parts is the best place to start. We won’t go through all of the moving parts of a content strategy, but instead, we’ll focus on one of the critical elements: visuals.
Why are visuals important for content?
The short answer to this is that reading a massive body of text can be very dull. You should select visuals that have a strong relationship with your product goals and ensure that they are context-relevant.
Visual stimulation over text allows the brain to consume the material with more consummate ease. Not only is 90% of information transmitted to the brain in day-to-day life visual, but visuals are also processed in the brain at 60,000 times the speed of text.
Identifying the purpose of your content
Before you decide on the kind of visuals for your page, you need to ask yourself ‘what is the purpose of this page?’ Is it to inform? Is it to engage? Is it to convert? For example, look at the two screenshots below:
Both of the pages are from the same website, ASOS, but both have different objectives. Which one do you find more engaging? The majority of people would say the first one is more appealing to look at, and that’s because of the visuals. This piece of content is designed to engage, which is assisted through images throughout the copy.
The second page is designed to inform. Quite often there won’t be many images on page which are listing terms and conditions or delivery policies, as it isn’t made to engage, but to inform.
Once you’ve drilled down into the purpose of your content, you can then start assessing which visuals would be consistently worth featuring.
What are the different types of visuals for content?
Visuals of products and services will maximise your chances of conversions. What would make you more likely to buy a product that you are reading about online? Seeing it. Showing off your product offering entices existing and potential consumers to convert.
Particular verticals will benefit the most from using imagery throughout their content, such as fashion retail. Visual merchandising through photography and videography is crucial in the presentation of tangible goods including clothes, accessories and shoes.
Product carousels and grids are an effective way to do this. Not only can you showcase the products that you are talking about but, you can also customise components with features such as ‘quick buy’ or ‘save for later’ to maximise your chances of landing that conversion. The North Face does this really well.
Video could be considered one of the most essential visual mediums a brand can employ. On average, consumers retain 95% of the information when it’s displayed to them through video, whereas only 10% when reading it. So, if you’re looking to increase engagement rates through your content, video is the way to go.
Videos are also versatile, and the possibilities are pretty much endless. You can cover interviews, behind the scene clips, live streams, socials, 360° product videos… the list goes on. For industries with a creative and visual-centric foundation, it’s the perfect medium.
Dickies® Life show how it’s done, featuring promotion videos on their Journal.
Human visuals are a very effective way to keep your users engaged. When we see faces of other humans, it makes us feel like we are actually connecting with them, and not just using a product.
Data visualisation is a graphic visualisation of data. As content marketing can often be data-driven, this is an extremely effective way to display your data while retaining the engagement of the consumer. It could be displayed in a graph, a pie chart or an interactive dashboard.
Take a look at this article about the 7-day work week from Rovva. Interactive, engaging, exciting and easy to digest – this is a perfect example of how to display your data through visualisation.
If working with a client that has a digital asset management platform, they will often give you access to their image bank and digital asset management platform to ensure consistent branding throughout.
So, you may not have thought about implementing memes into your content strategy, but you could be missing a trick. In recent years, they have become the foundation of social media platforms. They’re relatable, they’re funny, and consumers love when brands use them.
When done right, memes can cast your brand as current and authentic. When done wrong, it could come across as a try-hard approach, which may fall flat. High fashion and beauty brands like Gucci and Fenty Beauty have jumped on the bandwagon, posting memes across their sites and social media accounts which have been well-received. With engagement levels like the below, it’s well worth considering whether this is the right approach for your goal.
Choose visuals that match your strategy
Let your visuals simply explain the concept of the product or service. A picture is worth a thousand words, but does it make sense when isolated? Visuals should logically fit when they’re connected to everything else on the page, reinforcing the message you’re trying to convey.
Marry your visuals with your text
Do not overload your page with tonnes of images, videos and gifs. You need the perfect mix of both, depending on the purpose of your content. Play around with the page design and the assets you want to use and think, would you engage with this page?
Be creative and have fun with it
There are no hard and fast rules that need to be followed when using visuals. So, focus on using visuals which will stick in the consumer’s mind – a striking visual will be remembered over a block of text.
Tap into emotions
Emotion often overrides logic when it comes to purchasing behaviours. Use this your advantage, and tap into the emotions being displayed through visuals. They should have an emotional impact and reinforce the emotions that you are creating.
The bottom line is, you may have a lot more control over the intent and shopping behaviours of your consumers than you might think. So, using visuals can have a direct impact on the engagement and conversion rates of your campaigns, as well as the loyalty and trust of your consumer. In short, visuals are key.
To find out how to build an effective content strategy, or to speak to our content team, get in touch.