Blogs are effective in getting traffic to your website and ranking your pages in search engines. But they’re bombarded with words most of the time. What’s wrong with that?
Humans remember 80 percent of what they see, 20 percent of what they read, and 10 percent of what they hear. If a post is riddled with too many texts, it can tire out or bore the reader. Photographs, infographics, charts, illustrations, and other types of visuals will change that because visuals communicate information 60,000 times faster than words.
When it comes to cognition, graphics increase our level of communication. It enhances a user’s comprehension and retention, which leads to higher chances that your web visitor will remember your brand, product, or message.
Why is Visual Marketing Important?
Visual marketing materials also trigger people’s emotions. Images tend to enhance or affect a person’s attitude and emotions. Pictures engage one’s imagination and stimulate areas in the brain that triggers creative thinking, which leads to a much more accurate understanding.
In marketing, triggering the right emotions in your consumer will positively influence their decision to purchase.
Effective visual marketing materials allow you to:
- Improve storytelling
- Boost engagement
- Develop trust
- Get users to associate your products or services with a particular value
- Make your brand more memorable
- Keep up with growing trends
By the end of this article you will:
- Learn how to choose the right visual materials for publishing
- Learn how to leverage visual marketing to boost your content strategy
Visual Marketing Checklist for an Effective Content Strategy
So you have a content marketing strategy in place, and you know what you want your images, videos, charts, or infographics to look like. But you’re not too sure if you’re doing it right.
Here’s a checklist for doing visual marketing that’s effective and within legal compliance.
1. Identify the goal of your visual content
The effectiveness of your content will depend on how well it serves its purpose. Determine the goal of your visuals.
- Why do you want to use an image or a video for your post?
- Who is it for?
- Does it fulfill a need? If so, what need does it address?
- When are you creating the image?
- Where will it be published? (blog, social media, or others)
2. Determine the guidelines for your chosen visual format
Setting guidelines for the visual materials you’ll use in your content, for blogs or social media, is crucial in marketing. A unified look throughout your posts communicates professionalism and credibility. It tells your viewers that your content is well-planned, organized, and of high quality.
Guidelines for your visual materials are also crucial in establishing a look for your brand, making your business recognizable to anyone.
There are several elements you must consider when creating your visual content guideline:
- Type of visual content used (image, photo, graphs, charts, isometrics, explainer videos, etc.)
- Format (determine if you’re going to use jpeg, png, or another format for images and MPEG, MOV, mp4, or another format for videos.)
- The aspect ratio for each element
- Set borders and spacing
- Set color scheme and theme
- Make sure that margins, titles, headers, calls to action, and images are formatted the same way throughout your website.
- Ownership (do you create your images or get them from another source?)
- Make sure that you only upload quality images or videos, but always check that it does not influence page load time.
Some other aspects you need to consider:
- Featured Image – it should always be placed at the beginning of your article to capture your audience’s attention and trigger their imagination. It will motivate your readers to scroll through your page more.
- Fonts that are easy to read – Readability will always come first, but make sure that it also looks nice.
- Bullets and Numbering – When doing infographics, use numbering and bullets to relay data, instead of presenting them in paragraph forms that could look clunky and cluttered.
Tip: Use photo filters to add character and personality to your images, but make sure to always use the same filter to maintain consistency.
3. Choose the right image
The image must match the rest of your content
An image is only important if it’s relevant to your content. It’s used to boost an idea and convey a point more effectively, than by just using words to explain a thought. You want your readers to be inspired and motivated to read the rest of your article.
Your photos or videos should:
- Tell a story on its own
- Relay in detail a specific part or segment of your content.
- Be a piece that guides the reader in understanding a much larger picture.
4. Check the copyright
If you own the videos or images you’re publishing, this won’t be a problem. But if the image is the property of another company or person and is copyrighted, you need to seek permission or purchase it before posting.
If you have yet to build your own library of photos and videos, you could use public domain images or free photos on different websites providing free stock photos or videos.
Be guided by the law when publishing other people’s work or images.
5. Add your branding to the visual content
No matter what visual content you plan to put out, include your logo and brand name. Aside from your “signature look,” your brand name and logo are factors that will help people identify your brand.
Successful visual content elevates the image of your brand. Users will associate your logo with the values, emotions, and representation that the visual stands for, thus establishing a connection with consumers that touches on brand values.
6. Optimize your photo and video for SEO
Like any form of content, your photos or videos should be searchable and shareable. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. SEO helps in tuning all the elements in your website so that it can remain competitive when ranking on search results.
Optimizing your visual content for SEO will not only make your materials easy to find, but it will enhance the overall performance of your content on search engines.
Here’s how visuals enhance your SEO strategy
Besides aiding your content strategy, visuals help in making your SEO work more effectively.
Visuals Make Site Visitors Stay Longer
Google considers a visitor’s time on a page as a valuable factor in increasing search rankings. Although dwell time isn’t officially a ranking signal, it signifies that the page delivers high-quality content and when a visitor stays longer, it means that they’re having a good experience, which will likely make the page rank higher.
Visuals Help You Gain Higher Ranking
No matter how many times search engines update their algorithms, it’s always quality content that attracts the audience’s attention. Visuals enhance the content in a way that users can further understand the data or concepts presented in an engaging and entertaining way.
Another way it boosts ranking is by matching the image with a user’s search. Search engines can’t understand visual content the way humans do. By optimizing visual images for SEO, search engines can match the visual content to a user’s query, which will ultimately boost page rankings.
Get more backlinks. Backlinks are important in enhancing a page’s search rankings as it brings in authority and credibility. The more websites link to your page, the more search engines see you as a credible source. This will then result in search engines recommending your page more to searchers.
Visual Content Can Bring in More Backlinks
Visual content like infographics can get other websites to share your material on their site and then link back to you. The more you offer valuable and relevant data, the more websites will cite you as a valuable source of information.
How to Optimize your Visuals for SEO?
To make sure your strategy succeeds, you must enhance your visual content for SEO:
Name your images following the best practices in SEO
Start with labeling your images and videos correctly. Uploading a file straight from your camera may be tempting, but it won’t do you any good. Naming your photos is an opportunity for you to make search engines understand what your image is all about. This way, your images will be properly indexed and stored.
If you see file names such as DCIM_001 or Image001.jpg, rename the file. Describe the photo properly and insert keywords that are related to the image.
Choose the right image format
Choose the image format that fits your site best.
Here are some of the best formats to use:
- This format is best used for photographs.
- This format is best used for texts, logos, and drawings.
- A format supported by Chrome and Firefox. If you choose to go with this format, go for lossless compression
Include alternative tags on photos and other images
Describing the pictures will allow search engines to better understand what the image is all about. For example, if you have an image of organic dog food, then the alt text should be, “organic dog food in Los Angeles,” you can also add more details, like “organic wet dog food in Los Angeles with chicken salmon and tuna made for large and small dog breeds.” Describe the image as seen in the photo. It’s OK to add important keywords, but don’t stuff the description with them.
Compress your images
Publishing high-quality images are important, however, it can slow down your website. Speed is crucial in any internet marketing initiative. Users tend to exit a page if the content loads longer than 3 seconds. Your visual content marketing materials should be meant to enhance, not slow down or disrupt a customer’s experience.
To compress images, you can use tools like TinyPNG or Photoshop. Make sure that your page is fast loading by running it through Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool will analyze all the content of a page and present you with a performance score to let you know how you’re doing in terms of speed.
Create a Big Impact with Visual Marketing
The right imagery grabs attention. In an increasingly competitive business environment, your company has to stand out to get favorable results. But you have to do more than find a video or photo to go with your content.
Use the checklist above to leverage the power of visual marketing. From attracting and engaging consumers to increasing conversion and brand loyalty, the benefits of visual marketing can be seen in your bottom line.
About the author
Paul Staten is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO/Managing Director of SEO Werkz. The first business he created is a computer repair company that still serves clients today, 15 years after its creation. SEO Werkz was featured in the Inc 500 list of 2016, and Inc 5000 in 2017 and 2018.