Effective Content using Visuals and Text – How To Craft It

August 10, 2021
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Great marketing requires great content. This may seem like a simple statement, and it is. However, the difficulty begins when you ask the obvious follow-on question – What makes great content?

In today’s world, we are bombarded with content at every turn. Social media posts, pop-ups, pop-unders, YouTube ads, mobile ads, and unmissable one-time-only offers that run for eternity. Yet, most of the time, we mindlessly click these nuisances out of our life without sparing them another thought.

It is no wonder that we have become so desensitized to ads. A recent report estimates that Americans see somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads per day. You can’t blame anyone for this so-called ‘content bombardment’. We see content the whole day because marketing today has become a synonym to digital marketing, which relies heavily on content marketing.

man working on a laptop

But every once in a while, something stands out from the crowd and grabs our attention. But what is it that made this content so compelling? There are many possible answers, anything from the color scheme to the subject matter, from its beauty to its shock value.

Most effective and encouraging content uses a blend of techniques to grab our attention, and a massive percentage of these will combine text and visuals.

The importance of combining text and visuals

Here’s an interesting fact to begin with – the old saying that goes “a picture paints a thousand words”, is only partially correct. In fact, a picture paints far more words than that. And, as for video, recent research has shown that a one-minute video is worth an astounding 1.8 million words.

This is a staggering figure and begs the question – why use text at all? After all, the same report said that content with visuals receives 94% higher engagement than content without, and is commented on twice as much.

But the fact of the matter is that a picture without context is simply just a picture; the text adds the cues to guide the viewer’s imagination. The trick is to make sure that the way the audience interprets a picture takes them in the direction you want them to go.

boy reading a map

How to combine text and visuals in an effective marketing campaign

Photoshopping some text on top of any old image isn’t going to cut it. With visuals driving engagement up by 94%, the importance of picking the right visuals cannot be understated.

Choosing a high-quality and relevant image or video that will encourage engagement should be the bedrock of any campaign. 

Select the right visuals

Humans are hard-wired to respond to visual stimuli. Our brains can process the information in visuals 60,000 times faster than with text. In today’s world, where scrolling through endless social media posts is the norm, this fact alone should highlight the importance of high-quality visuals.

Using high-quality images or videos is a great starting point, but it is only that. To be truly effective, your chosen visual should:

  • Convey the right story to your audience
  • Fit alongside your brand identity
  • Consider the psychology of the color scheme
  • Be unique and trendy

woman

Of course, your visual can tick all those boxes. However, suppose it is a poor quality pixelated image. In that case, all the trendiness and audience research in the world will not stop it being the 9,999th advert your potential customer has scrolled past.

To maximize engagement, your visual should be as high-quality as possible, be bright without being garish, and fulfill the points listed above.

One more interesting point to consider when choosing your image is the use of a face as the central point of any photo. The importance of using a face as a form of non-verbal communication is something that is often overlooked.

The effectiveness of using a face is backed up by research that shows a 38% increase in likes and a 32% increase in comments if an image includes a face. woman smiling

Choose the correct text

The right visual should grab your audience’s attention; the next thing to ensure is that the accompanying text doesn’t start them scrolling again.

There are obvious things to look out for  – the text must be concise and to the point. There is no benefit to choosing the right image, then plastering it with the opening chapter from War and Peace.

Besides that, there are other considerations:

  • Font – Choose a font for readability, that blends sympathetically with your image. The importance of choosing the correct font is often overlooked. Doing some side-by-side comparisons and testing it for legibility across different platforms and devices can make a world of difference.
  • Placement – Choosing the right image is essential, but placing text over the top of an image’s important features can undo all the good work. Try to make the text a part of the image, not an add-on. The placement should look natural like the text was always intended to be there.
  • Contrast – Pale green text on a blue background is a bad idea. The use of contrast and color is essential; bold dark colors against a pale background will make your text stand out.
  • Blur the image – This won’t work with all images or themes, but sometimes adding a slight blur to the background image can make the text stand out.
  • Place the text in a box – For busy photos with lots of colors, placing the text in a box that matches the photo and has the right contrast can be highly effective.
  • Keep it simple – Sometimes, it is best to just throw the blurs and the text boxes out the window and aim for something simple. White text on a stunning black and white image is one example of where simple just works.
  • Think outside the box – Don’t be afraid to experiment; try shifting the image to one side, overlaying the text on half of the image, or incorporate the text into the image. A clever design is one great way to grab attention.

people doing crafts

Summing Up

Marrying text and visuals, if done correctly, can produce the perfect content that is engaging, encouraging, and effective.

It is quite simple to achieve. So simple that it is possible to sum up the article in a single sentence: All that is needed is a high-quality image that combines the text in a manner that enhances the image, not detracts from it.

Hopefully, the above pointers will help you produce content that truly captivates.

About the author

Jasmeet is a founder of Lessons at Startup, where he shares entrepreneurial stories. He specializes in Digital Marketing and Content Writing. He is addicted to Google News, Netflix, good coffee, and Quora.

Jasmeet Singh