FACT: 61% of consumers prefer companies with custom online content.
Mashable also reports, “80% of decision-makers prefer content to advertising”, so if you’re not using custom content to interact with your audience online you’re missing out. In our last post on “Written Content Types for Content Marketing“, we talked about different types of online content, from blogs and white papers to case studies and e-books. In this week’s post we are focusing on arguably the most engaging type of content; visual media.
Visual media and graphics are well-known to increase click-through rates and conversions. They are also provide a fantastic way to offer a variety of content on your website and social media pages while contributing to your SEO efforts. In addition to encouraging user engagement, visual content can drive results. Depending on your overall goals and desired outcomes, you can choose to integrate site links, social media pages and advertise promotions and events.
Much like our own searching habits, algorithms have evolved and search engines are looking for genuine, keyword rich content, however it’s important to understand that it’s not only web copy that ranks in search results. When optimized properly, you can leverage your visual content using the authority of other sites (e.g. social media, Web 2.0, doc sharing, video sharing).
By doing this, you can create quality backlinks to your site and provide the opportunity for your visual content to rank well in search results.
Types of Visual Media
Often overlooked or underused, visual media is one of the best ways to convey a message instantly; a piece of engaging, shareable content which gets your message out across multiple (digital) channels and platforms.
Infographics are one of the visual media tools, which can either be a great hit or a complete miss, if not executed properly. A good infographic conveys data and statistics in an easy-to-digest format.
Understanding the core message that your infographic is trying to get across is very important before embarking on the research and creative aspects. Try not to use too much information and overload your audience. Keep your message clear and concise.
With only seconds to grab your audiences attention, strong and simple graphics work best for engagement. Optimize it for mobile so that it can viewed on any device for maximum impact.
Here are some simple, easy-to-use tools for creating and sharing infographics:
While memes have been slightly over-done in the recent past, they can provide humour and get a significant number of shares when they are slightly witty and used in a great context. They can also be a great way to share quotes, tips, and data within a colourful graphic. Get creative and see what works for your audience.
3 Easy-to-use Online Image Creation Tools for generating Memes are:
Posters provide a value added take-away, which may compel a viewer to print them off and post them somewhere, whether in the workplace or at home. By providing interesting content in a poster format, you can help make your brand “sticky” and keep your audience coming back for more.
While animated GIFs are not suggested for use on websites (very 90’s web!), they can be great pieces of content for sharing on social media. Use sparingly though!
This type of visualization provides a quick, to-the-point piece with a little humour injection. Comics and cartoons, like infographics, should be thoroughly thought out to ensure they convey the proper message.
A great way to show your audience how to do things. Create a detailed presentation they can share and use, such as training slides, tutorials, how-to’s and product demos.
Social Profile Pictures/Cover Photos/Shareable Images
Often overlooked, the images you use on your social media profiles can make a big impact on user engagement. Use your cover photo as a banner and switch it up seasonally or by promotion. Optimize and create logos specifically for your profiles so they are clear and vibrant, even on smartphone screens.
Also ensure you have a “call-to-action” within your cover photo (follow the guidelines for each social media channel for text-to-image ratios).
Whether a product image or profile photo, it is proven that strong images are one of the best ways to grab a viewer’s attention. By adding an enticing, keyword optimized headline and you can increase your click-through rates and conversions.
Social video is different than broadcast; it’s participatory, it should be agile, and it requires listening to and engaging with your audience. Tutorials, how-to’s, product demos, quick clips, and video testimonials are all great ways to add some interactivity to your site and engage your social media audience.
Innovation & Imagination: BlendTec took their product to the next level with a series of “Will It Blend?” videos that went viral. Not only does this innovative low-cost video series demonstrate how powerful the product is, it captures a larger audience than they would have been able to reach via traditional or online ads.
Watch BlendTec take on an iPhone 6 (more than 5 million views and counting)
Good Visual Content Sells Itself
Do not “over-brand” your visual content. It shouldn’t be interpreted as an advertisement, unless you fully intended it to be an ad (in the case of a promotion or event). Keep things simple and focus on the message you are trying to convey. Blatant marketing attempts or overselling on any type of digital platform, especially social media, has the potential to turn off your customers.
You also need pay close attention to typography choices. You want to ensure colours and fonts being used align with your company’s current brand standards for seamless integration into existing social and site content.
I’ve created/curated some awesome visual content…now what do I do with it?
Before adding any visual content to your website, social media pages, blog(s) or other web presence points, you need to optimize it for maximum SEO impact!
Visual Media Optimization Tips
- Compress image and video files for site and social distribution before uploading – not only will this save you on uploading time, it saves you load time on your site and the time it takes for mobile users viewing your content.
- Label all visual content with a relatable, keyword rich file name
- Ensure the image sizes correspond to the size guidelines for each channel you are adding them to or distributing them on.
Videos can be tagged (with keywords) and/or rated within the file’s properties as an advanced optimization technique.
Check out how these brands have been using visual content for maximum impact.
I’ve optimized my visual content…now what?
The best way to leverage visual content is to put the content on your site, and then distribute your site links across your social media profiles or other channels to engage both social and website users. This also lets your audience know that you are on social media, and vice versa, that you have a website.
Top Social Media Channels for Visual Content and the Best Places for Content Posting
Try this Additional Simple SEO Strategy for Visual Media:
Create a 15-second video, upload it to YouTube and then embed it into a video blog post on your website. From there, socialize the blog post link across your social media accounts. Besides the SEO benefits, you will have the ability to market to reach at least three different audiences with one piece of content.
Once you have all of this awesome, optimized visual media ready to go (which can be the most challenging part), read next week’s post to learn how to use different types of visual content across social media channels (“personalities”) to encourage engagement, maximize SEO and enhance your digital presence.