Whether you’re a blogger, business owner, or an artist, you cannot underestimate the importance of visual content. Pictures and videos communicate messages to your audience and help determine your brand aesthetic. A captivating piece of visual content can turn heads, strike up conversations, and form deeper connections. But, an ineffective one will be ignored and passed over.
So what separates stellar visuals from mediocre ones?
It’s no secret that creating fantastic content requires talent and creativity, but there are some insider secrets to keep in mind when it comes to crafting visual content that draws people in.
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Provide Rich Context
In order to build the type of connection with your audience that leads to brand loyalty or a purchase, you must provide meaning to your pictures. Images can drastically improve storytelling, especially when there is a deeper hidden meaning behind the initial impression.
Always be sure that there is a purpose behind each visual element you choose. Each plays a part in building your brand story, so choose them wisely. The Outbound Collective is a great example of a brand that uses their Instagram feed to build rich context. The travel blog not only inspires wanderlust, but each picture links to an overview about the location so followers can learn more about it.
Since images play a key role in the overall design and look of your brand, providing rich visual context is a significant factor in developing your business. From your website to your social media pages, customers are much more likely to glance at pictures before they read loads of text and content.
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Visuals tend to create emotional connections with your audience. Studies have shown that it does it lot to increase engagement, especially on social media. But why is this?
The truth is that it is built into our psychology. Pictures help our brain comprehend concepts, feelings, emotions, and relationships, and they are a strong trigger for bringing up memories and nostalgia. So, if you are able to connect with your audience on an emotional level, it is one of the surest ways to build a strong bond with them, which ideally, translates into sales.
P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign that ran during the 2016 Olympics shows what a strong impact emotions can have in marketing.
The ads shared stories of athletes thanking their mothers for encouraging them, taking them to and from practice, and supporting them at games. Even though the ads did not bare any obvious connection with P&G’s products, viewers connected with the message, and it resulted in a 40% increase in brand recognition and $100 million in revenue once the campaign wrapped up.
Play to the Trends
The nature of trends is, of course, fleeting, but they do offer great opportunities that can help your brand grab attention and place your content in front of a widespread audience. Trends can turn temporary popularity into lasting success, if you know how to play them right. Social media is one of the leading sources for up and coming crazes, so keeping an eye on what’s hot in the moment (albeit with caution) can help you create compelling visuals that resonate with followers while expanding your reach.
Speaking of social media trends, Kylie Jenner is one of the 10 most followed people on Instagram, so when she launched her cosmetic line, her loyal fans went into an online frenzy. Tutorials for her lip kits became one of the hottest social media trends in beauty.
E-commerce platform Shopify was able to use this opportunity to partner with a highly successful influencer and capitalize on a new business trend. When Kylie decided to open up a short-term pop-up shop in LA, Shopify partnered with her to help turn a solely online store into a brick and mortar one, and promote their online-offline integration systems in the process.
Building an association with such a trendy, but powerful business was a great way for Shopify to connect with a vastly different audience unlike anything they had done before (from web developers to teenage girls). Their business name was included on promotional images for the store, and they even snapped some pictures of Kylie Jenner herself checking a customer out using Shopify’s POS (point of sale) system. Talk about some great branding!
Stay True to Brand Values
Images and videos are essential building blocks for crafting a brand that your customers can identify with, and they create a powerful vehicle for recognition and association. Most likely, you have a strong understanding of what you want your brand’s message to be (if you don’t, then you need to define it right away).
However, if your content doesn’t match up with the message, it causes a disconnect. Every visual element you use on your website, blog, and social media pages must align with your underlying message, otherwise it is just going to cause confusion.
Take Nike as an example.
We all know their message by heart because their visual branding communicates this core value of providing high-quality equipment for athletes so they can “just do it.”
It’s no secret that visuals are a powerful tool for blogs and businesses alike. They provide a more concrete context for your audience to identify with and can communicate a message in a way that may not be possible with words. Keep these tips in mind throughout the entirety of your content marketing strategy, for they can be a difference maker in shaping your brand perception.