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Visuals have always been a part of marketing, from print ads to television commercials. With the onset and popularity of content marketing, the importance of visuals is being readdressed.
If you are focused on content marketing, you can choose from a multitude of channels where you can post content – from traditional print ads and direct mail pamphlets, to telemarketing and online content such as blogs, emails, and social media. However, some of the newer online mediums offer strong visual content, where others don’t. Twitter, podcasts, blogs, articles, and email are some examples in which text or the spoken word is primary. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube on the other hand, are more concerned with visual imagery. In fact, if you post too much text in a Facebook-sponsored post without images, the post will be rejected.
You can pick and choose how you would like to market a product visually: gifs, infographs, slideshows, animation, video, photos, memes, or charts are a few examples. When creating visual content, there are some fundamental concepts artists and designers are acquainted with; how color evokes emotion, which compositional techniques make your image more aesthetic or powerful…what symbolism and associations may the image have, are they intentional, and are they positive or thought provoking? When using models, you send a signal by whom you choose to represent your brand, and body language is important. What is the purpose of the image beyond the promotional? Is your imagery to be imaginative, funny, thoughtful, serious…what is the tone? Most importantly, the imagery needs to grab the viewer’s attention, if it is to be seen at all.
There are many good reasons to sharpen your focus on the visual in your marketing approach. Visual communication is powerful, it only takes a glance to capture customer attention. Much content marketing material, if not most, is online, and social media has a tendency to be visual. Powerful images attract attention and provoke emotion. In addition, it is easier to remember information when it is paired with visuals that are more concrete.
Statistics show where and how visual communication is useful. Imagery helps people remember in the long-term: According to one study, people retain 10-20% of written information vs. 65% of visual information after a period of three days. 65% of the population are so-called visual learners who learn faster and more easily with imagery. Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than those without, and images on twitter generate 150% more retweets. It is not surprising therefore, that 74% of social media marketers use visuals.
Some applications available when you decide to get more engaged with imagery and visual communication are Visme, a platform with design tools, Canva for simple graphics, Piktochart for infographics, PowToon for animated video, Unsplash for stock photos, Infogr.am for interactive infographics, Giphy for gifs, and Videorama and Magisto for video, among others.
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