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The secret to great visual content

In a recent study, 86% of buyers expressed a desire to access visual content on demand.


Couple this with the fact that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, and it’s easy to see why stunning visuals are a popular addition to most content marketing strategies.

As the amount of text-based content continues to saturate the internet, more and more businesses are cottoning on to the fact that in order to make yourself stand out from the crowd, visual content is an absolute necessity. Types of visual content include infographics, images, screen captures, presentations, videos and more. Here are some of the fundamental rules of effective visual content.

Purpose

Before creating a piece of visual content, it’s crucial to determine its purpose. If your infographic is designed to gain exposure for your brand, it’s important to pick a topic which is likely to generate interest. For example, the best types of visual content describe common industry problems and then present solutions, in the form of a product, service, actionable advice, or simply information which leaves the viewer feeling intellectually enhanced.

Ultimately, the purpose of visual content must be to provide value to your audience. Anything overtly self-promotional usually backfires. By focusing on the needs of your customers instead, your content is much more likely to be shared - giving your brand much more natural exposure as a result.

Great design

It sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how much poorly designed visual content accumulates on the internet - usually in dark corners receiving no inbound links! Perhaps due to the rise of outsourcing sites where design work can be purchased for ludicrously low prices, people are less willing to spend an appropriate amount of their marketing budget on great content.

Unfortunately, in most cases you get what you pay for, and it’s very difficult to get great work from someone that you don’t have an established, face-to-face professional relationship with. A poor choice of colours, inappropriately sized text, or a confusing layout can completely destroy a piece of visual content - even if everything else is perfect. In short, it’s best to commission visual content from a reputable agency with a high quality portfolio and glowing customer testimonials.

Content and structure

Infographics, animated explainer videos and SlideShare presentations all benefit greatly from interesting facts and statistics (so long as they help to carry your narrative, rather than distract from it). However, when researching these facts, it’s important to get them from reputable sources. For instance, a peer-reviewed scientific journal is vastly more credible than a Wikipedia entry.

When crafting the text for your visual content, it needs to be free from spelling and grammar mistakes - so proofreading is an absolute must! Additionally, the text must also be succinct enough to convey your message without becoming a long-winded blog post. Powerful quotes from industry thought leaders also help to give more credibility to your visual content.

interfacepointPromotion

It’s no use spending your time and energy crafting an excellent piece of content and then sitting back hoping that it will magically gain engagement. In order to promote your content, it’s best to optimise your landing page so that people can easily share it with one click of an embedded social media button. Using hashtags when you promote the content via Twitter is essential. Always include a thumbnail image of your visuals - tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets!

For infographics, you may wish to upload them to infographic submission directories in order to gain more exposure. Other than that, networking with thought leaders and bloggers in your niche and persuading them to share your content can be extremely effective. So long as your flashy video or thought-provoking SlideShare presentation provides value to their followers, most influencers will have no reason not to share it.

Summary

While there is no magic pill for great visual content, there are certain steps to take which will dramatically increase your chances of success. First and foremost, aim to provide value to your audience - it may seem counter intuitive, but generosity pays. Take your time researching the facts, quote reliable sources, don’t skimp on the design work and knuckle down when it’s time to promote.

The more visual content you produce, the more you will begin to understand exactly what it is that resonates with your audience - perhaps they love infographics but your presentations don’t receive the same amount of engagement. This constant feedback allows you to refine your strategy so that you’re able to consistently produce visual content that your audience loves, thus driving more traffic and boosting the credibility of your brand.