Diversifying with Visual Media
Content marketing is currently entering adulthood as an ever increasing number of brands begin to realize the incredible power of great content. As the field continues to grow, savvy brands must take additional steps to continue to differentiate and stand out from the rest of the pack. Markets are increasingly crowded with content, so much so that many consumers have become entirely overwhelmed.
More than ever, it’s incredibly important to produce content that has real stickiness for your users. Although simple text and blog post style content has been successful in the past, these days it’s simply not memorable enough. Content that fails to make a memorable impact with your audience is likely not worth the energy put into creating it. It’s increasingly clear that many brands should consider relying on more visual forms of content that open up new opportunities for engagement.
As markets mature, we need to find new ways of making great content
Integrating visual forms of media like infographics, videos, and slideshares into your brand’s content marketing package will leave a memorable impact with your customers, ultimately leading to bottom-line results.
Industries overwhelmed by content
Marketing tends to move in waves, and it’s no surprise that with the recent trend towards content based marketing the industry is seeing incredible growth in the number of regular posts and articles that focus on “How To” or “10 Easy Ways”. Articles like these are well known for generating a fairly high number of both views and shares, as they’re easy to approach and highly consumable. But the success of some has led to an enormous wave of copycats, and virtually every industry has found itself overwhelmed by this kind of low-impact content.
With this much stuff, you’ve got to stand out!
Each individual piece on its own is fine, and generates a reasonable amount of low-maintenance value for the user. But as industries become increasingly saturated with this kind of content each new post becomes both less valuable and more difficult to find. The differences between posts like these start to blur, and customers remember them less and less as time goes on. Blog posts of this kind have begun to outlive their usefulness.
Simply put, there’s a difference between approachable and effective. Think of text-based, low-content articles like these as the cotton candy of the content marketing world. They’re easy to produce, somewhat fun to consume, and ultimately don’t fill you up. They might drive some views, but even that is increasingly in question. Low-impact, text-based content like this isn’t memorable and fails to drive either brand recognition or sales.
If you’re looking to leave a lasting impression, the introduction of effective visual media is a powerful way to impact your audience.
The demand for visual media
Consider the following five statistics:
- 90% of information that comes to the brain is visual. Think about the way that your brain perceives information. For most of us, the primary information we receive comes from our visual perception of the world around us. Text is great for allowing humans to pass detailed information from one individual to the next, but it’s not how our brains evolved to interact with the world. Providing consumers with more visual information will activate more of their brain, increasing retention and improving the stickiness of your brand.
- 40% of people respond better to information when it is presented visually. This should come as no surprise given the above statistic, and it continues to reinforce the idea that there is a massive, underserved niche that is thirsting for visual content.
A creative visual identity is extremely memorable
- Articles with images get 94% more views than articles without. Those “Five Quick Tips” articles are often considered a viewership juggernaut by marketers, so it may come as a bit of a surprise that it’s visuals that often drive views most effectively. If your goal is to increase views, seriously consider bumping the visual content of a given piece.
- On Facebook, videos are shared twelve times more than links and text posts combined. Simply put, on social sharing sites visual content is king. Videos and pictures drive engagement in a way that text-based posts can’t hope to match.
- Interesting content is a top three reason people follow brands on social media. Again, visual content drives engagement. Content is the voice of your brand on social media, it’s how you differentiate from competitors and make a compelling case to your followers.
It’s clear that there’s an obvious demand for visual media, but many companies are taking the easy road by falling back on old habits rather than aspiring to real greatness through the application of creativity.
Think about this for a moment. The vast majority of everything that we consume on a daily basis flows, for all intents and purposes, in one ear and out the other. Markets have become so incredibly oversaturated with stimuli that many people have resorted to simply blocking everything out rather than having to parse out the great content from the awful. Under these kinds of circumstances what’s going to be retained by consumers, one more tips article or an engaging piece of visual content that inspires thought and looks to get a reaction?
Avoid going in one ear and out the other, be resonant by changing your communication style
Broaden your appeal
This isn’t going to surprise anybody, but different people are different. It’s easy to say that what appeals to one consumer may not appeal to another, shrug your shoulders, and chalk it up to bad luck. But there’s a better way of approaching the “different people are different” problem, and when it comes to content understanding individual learning styles and mixing and matching your content’s presentation can lead to some powerful results.
There are three fundamental ways that people process information cognitively: through sight, sound, or touch. Each of these ways has content applications, and by mixing and matching approaches brands can resonate with as wide an audience as possible.
Visual learners can work with text, but they learn best from looking at pictures or interacting with charts and graphs. Infographics are a great way to approach them, and they’re more than happy to watch a few animated videos. Auditory learners would rather listen to things being explained to them, and will respond well to videos or podcasts. Kinesthetic, or touch-based, learners process information best through a more “hands-on” experience, which can be difficult to translate to online content. But a bit of creativity can go a long way, and interactive graphs are a great option.
By diversifying the mediums you’re working with it’s possible to appeal to a wider range of learning styles and increase your resonance with the maximum number of potential consumers. Most people are a combination of these various learning types, and there’s no reason why you can’t pack multiple forms of content into a single piece. Consider moving away from creating a high volume of low-impact content, and towards an approach where it’s realistic to build a short video and an infographic into a text based piece.
Cut costs, not quality
A common concern for many marketers when they take on the possibility of working with new, visual forms of content is the possibility of increased cost. While there may in some cases be a certain initial increase in input, diversifying the mediums you’re working in comes with a wonderful set of side benefits. Rather than struggling to constantly come up with new ideas and original topics to discuss, it’s possible to repurpose old content into new visual mediums and cut down on the time and money required to fund content creation.
At this point, every brand that’s been around for even a little while has developed a fairly impressive back catalog of content, and it’s easy to struggle for new ideas. Many past pieces may be filled with great concepts, but may simply not have received the viewership they deserved due to a lack of creative execution. If a great article topic missed a visual element the first time around, the addition of visual media creates an opportunity to revisit that concept from a different angle.
Visual content gets results!
Here’s a specific example. Let’s say that Widgets R Us (WRU) posted a piece on their blog six months ago titled “5 Widgets You Need This Winter.” The blog post received a positive response from those that read it, but had somewhat lower viewership than expected. This implies that the topic was sound, but the execution for whatever reason fell flat. WRU now has the opportunity to revisit that topic through the introduction of more creative content. They can:
- Create a short, homemade-style video interview with a well-known widget provider asking what their top five widgets for winter are.
- Produce an infographic focusing on the demand for widgets at different times of the year, and where the best buying opportunities for consumers lie.
- Take a picture series of the five different widgets focusing on their numerous applications and the value the buyer has gained from them.
There are literally hundreds of possible visual applications of great text-based ideas. Introducing this kind of diversity into your content will allow your brand to appeal to multiple learning styles while decreasing the pressure of constantly coming up with something new and innovative. By mixing and matching different visual content styles you’ll maximize the stickiness of your content, and develop a relatable brand identity.