Brenda Peterson
Brenda Peterson
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How to catch people’s attention and make them stay longer on your website or blog? This is the age when so much information is surrounding us that it is almost impossible to keep focus for a long time, let alone remembering stuff you’ve come across on the Internet. Just enter the web and you will be immediately engulfed by endless flows of data rushing at you from all sides.

If you’re struggling to break through all the information noise imbuing the web space and trying to attract more visitors to your website, you will probably need something more than just text. You may write the best articles or the most engaging blog posts in the whole world, but to really hit the spot you need quality visual content. For sure, the text is still the pith and marrow of all content, but these days, a text is not nearly enough to satisfy a savvy user who craves to consume content faster, easier, and in greater quantities than ever before.

In this situation, visual content is a real lifesaver. It allows communicating information more efficiently and helps to elevate the engagement level to entirely new heights. Why? Because such is the human nature. Our brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. This said, 37% of marketers agree that visual marketing is the top priority for their business – and the figure is continuing to grow rapidly.

But what types of visuals are there and which of them are the most effective? Here are 5 essential types of visual content you’ll want to employ for your content marketing strategy.

  1. Images

The term ‘images’ incorporates pretty much all kinds of pictures you can find on the Internet. This is undoubtedly the most common type of visual content on the web. You can find images embedded in articles, blog posts, online magazines, PDF files, ebooks, digital catalogs, etc.

Even social media seem to be addicted to images. Remember when you’ve last seen a social media post without an image attached? Not to mention Instagram which is entirely specialized in photo sharing.

There are many types of images, and each can be utilized in different situations to achieve various goals.

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Photos

Photos are great to capture magical moments of life. That’s why their popularity is still on the rise and isn’t going to dwindle any time soon. People love photos. They let us see things through others’ eyes. A photo made in a high resolution with the help of modern professional equipment can simply take your breath away.

This is why photos are considered amongst the most effective types of visual content. Furthermore, they have an amazingly wide scope of applications. For example, if you are a brand, you can use photos to demonstrate your products or the way people use them. If you are a blogger, consider splitting the text of your post with a few handpicked photos, and the whole thing will look much better. Keep in mind, content accompanied with relevant images gets 94% more views.

Moreover, photos don’t require any serious investments. You can do some quality shots even with your phone camera. You can also use any photo editing tool to add some special effects and make your masterpieces even more unique and creative. In case your photography skills leave much to be desired, just go to a photo-sharing platform like Flickr, Imgur or 500px and find images that match your content.

Illustrations

As opposed to photos, illustrations do not render real-life objects and situations. They are created by hand and can effectively boost the performance of your textual content if used in the right context.

Illustrations can be much more creative than photos as they shouldn’t necessarily be realistic. Illustrations can depict robots, dragons, unreal places and events, or just be something totally abstract. This makes them even more versatile than photos.

However, illustrations are mostly used in tow with informal content to add an element of humor or endow a discourse with a more casual tone. So if you work in a very serious niche and your audience is primarily comprised of industry specialists, market experts, and professionals in science or academia, you will probably want to withhold from including illustrations in your content marketing strategy.

Illustrations are made by qualified designers and might cost you quite a bit. But if you’re an artist yourself, professional graphic design software like Adobe Illustrator might come in handy.

Comics

This type of visual content represents a shrewd mixture of illustrations and text. What can possibly convey an idea better than drawn characters with text bubbles above their heads?

But to be serious, comics are appropriate within a quite limited scope of contexts. Much like illustrations, they can grasp attention, entertain, and let your audience have some fun while reading through your content. However, including comics in, say, an analytical article might be misinterpreted.

comicsMemes

Memes are a new phenomenon in visual content marketing. They started out simply as Internet jokes shared by college students and evolved into a stand-alone genre which doesn’t seem to lose popularity in the recent years. And apparently, companies are not willing to waste an opportunity to leverage the public love toward memes to promote their products.

Memes are simply templated images with humorous captions, so making them is not a rocket science. There are plenty of online tools that allow you to create memes, e.g. Make a Meme, imgflip, etc.

However, before you start using memes for your marketing purposes, make sure this type of content is appropriate for your audience. If having some fun together with your readers is not a taboo in your niche, then memes are the right option for you. Besides, memes are highly shareable and can make your content go viral.

Quotes

Want to inspire the audience and show your proficiency in the subject matter? Then, visualized quotes are exactly what you need. You are free to cite anybody ranging from poets to industry experts, just make sure the quote is relevant to your niche and reveals the topic in focus.

Making a quote is very easy. Just find an insightful statement that adds value to your post, prepare a background image, and combine these two together – job’s done! However, it is important to make a text clearly discernible against the backdrop as it is a core element of any quote. Also, don’t forget to mention the source of the quote and the name of its author. Another good tip is to add a photo of a person whom you cite. A wise word paired with a well-made headshot can make wonders.

Data Visualization

Visualizing data is a great way to present raw facts and figures. Information like statistics or analytical data is usually less exciting for the audience, but you can make it more appealing and digestible by presenting in the form of charts, diagrams, graphs, descriptive illustrations with captions, etc.

Not only can data visualization catch the attention of your readers, but also help them understand complex faсts with less effort. Visualized data can be a great addition to your articles and blog posts, especially if you’re dealing with subjects that require an academic approach. Visual content like charts and graphs are also indispensable when you write white papers, research reports, and case studies.

Screenshots

Screenshots are not only easy to make, they are extremely useful both for marketing purposes and as an illustrative content. If you offer digital products like software or video games, screenshots can show your audience how exactly your product looks while significantly boosting your credibility. You can also use screenshots to give your potential customers a glimpse behind the scenes, demonstrate the development process, and results of your labour.

Are you a web designer? In this case, screenshots can showcase the best examples of your work without forcing your prospects to click on the links leading to the websites you’ve created.

And not only that. If your company has been around for some time and built a good reputation, why not show the world how much your customers appreciate your products or services. Just find a forum, website or social network where people leave positive reviews or comments about you, make a screenshot, and provide it as a proof of your professionalism.

There are lots of tools allowing you to capture screenshots, including Jing, Awesome Screenshot, Skitch, Monosnap, etc. With these tools, you can both make screenshots and modify them (write annotations, make highlights, draw, resize, etc.).

  1. Infographics

In fact, infographics belong to the category of images, but it is worth separating them from the rest of the image types in order to emphasize their importance.

It is hard to overestimate the significance of infographics: this type of content is “liked” and shared on social media 3 times more frequently than any other type of content. This means infographics have huge potential to go viral across the Internet. What other reason do you need to include infographics in your content marketing strategy?

Infographics combine images and text in a way that allows the audience to digest the information much more efficiently. Due to the ability to wrap up considerably large volumes of data into an eye-pleasing package of graphic design, infographics are great to convey complex ideas, statistics, research findings, and other related content.

However, making a quality infographic is not so easy. It is a matter of combining relevant facts with clear and descriptive illustrations that complement text captions rather than interfere with them. The images should be visually appealing but not excessively complex to keep readers focused on information in the first place. The colors must be vivid and skillfully combined. The choice of fonts is also very important.

For those who want to take it to the next level, gifographics is another option capable of increasing the engagement level even more. Gifographics differ from infographics only in one aspect: the included visuals are not static but animated. This adds more dynamics to your content and shows that you are ready to go an extra mile to impress your readers.infographics

  1. Videos

The video is crucial for content marketing, it’s not breaking news. Brands are investing more and more money into making videos to promote their products on the web. With the rise of social media and YouTube, online videos have become an integral part of our life: 78% of Internet users watch videos at least once a week, while 55% do it every single day. What is more, there are 4 times more consumers that prefer to watch a video about a product rather than read about it. That’s why video is considered one of the most effective types of visual content today.

Making a good video takes both time and money. But quality video content tends to spread across the Internet very fast and engage lots of viewers. Videos are highly shareable, they can be attached to social media posts, embedded in blog posts and articles, placed on landing pages, etc. Moreover, videos uploaded to YouTube can improve your SEO and make your brand more searchable online.

There are two basic options for videos available. You can either produce pre-recorded videos or broadcast live videos. The latter has gained in popularity recently, allowing users to stream videos in real time and creating a participation effect.

Videos are extremely versatile, leaving you lots of freedom for creativity and experimentation. Think what should work best for your audience: product videos, video advertisements, tutorials, how-to videos, video-lessons, demo videos, etc. Nowadays, you can create a video even with the help of your phone camera. But if you have enough resources at your disposal, don’t hesitate to invest in professional equipment and editing software as good quality videos are usually more successful.

  1. Presentations

Good old presentations are still relevant. Thanks to online platforms like SlideShare, presentations can now go beyond office meeting halls and college classrooms.

Presentations are similar to infographics in a way as they are both aimed at making the complex text-based content fit for consumption by mixing it up with contextually relevant images. But compared to infographics, presentations are easier to make and can cover broader topics as you don’t have to pull all the information into one long piece of visual content. Just split all you have to say into as many slides as you need and present them in sequence.

  1. GIFs

GIFs are plainly animated images or short video snippets which became so popular online in the recent years thanks to their shareability and emotional value. Much like memes, GIFs are usually humorous and are often used to communicate emotions.

Use GIFs to show the human side of your business and entertain your crowd a little. There’s nothing wrong with adding a fun element to your content. You can introduce GIFs just like images, in between the passages of your articles and blog posts. But don’t overdo it, otherwise you are risking to come off light-minded.

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Choose your own visual content strategy

Visual content is something you can’t do without if you are a brand trying to market your products online or just a blogger owning a website on Ning and seeking a broader audience. The bottom line is, if you run a website, visual content shouldn’t lag behind your textual content both in quality and quantity.

Think what type of visual content would suit your niche and be appreciated by your audience. Needless to say, skillfully combining several types is likely to bring the best results.