Internet Marketing February 4th, 2015
Visual marketing makes perfect sense for many reasons:
With these ten points in mind, one thing is clear: we should all be using visual content as much as possible. But how to do it and how to do it well? That is a much more complicated and tricky prospect, especially given the huge amount of competing content already floating across the web, vying for viewer attention.
Your aim should be to establish a visual marketing plan that consistently strengthens your brand. That means no viral content fishing, no mini boosts with dirty tricks, just good old fashioned good content.
It sounds cliché, but always being at your very best is the fastest way to improve your chances of developing a strong brand. You never want to release visual content that is less than stellar or rush the job.
That doesn’t mean the design should really be advanced. There are plenty of examples of quite minimal, yet professional visual assets online. The bottom line here: Don’t create visual for the sake of creating visual content. Make sure you have an original idea and good research behind.
Branding 101: be immediately recognizable.
Settle on a look for all visual content that is the same across the board, so that viewers can tell it was made by you even when they are skimming through their Pinterest feed.
Quality, formatting, and subject are all ways to do this. But you can add a bit of additional flare through the use of filters. Never forget that most viewers are just skipping over 90% of what they see. You have to be able to snag their attention during the percentage of a second, as they are moving past your visual content to make sure it is effective. You have to draw them back.
It is shocking how many legitimate brands have horrible looking social media profiles. Optimizing your profiles to look good and be functional, while reflecting your brand, is an important step in both visual and social marketing. That includes smaller touches and details, for example, the cover you use on each Pinterest board or your Timeline image.
Why post a lot of filler content adding context to an image when you can place it directly in the image itself? That makes it effective no matter where it is shared and lets the picture essentially do the talking for you.
Captions, directives (such as calls to action), website names, introduction cards…these are all great ways to add text to enhance the visuals, and make them work for you directly. It also keeps them from being used on unrelated content other people might try to apply it to.
Tool: Canva does a perfect work allowing you to design and annotate your visuals online. It’s free also.
Watermarks are one of the best tools you have to maintaining both the copyright integrity of your visuals, and your brand awareness. It is true that such marks can be removed, but that is a legal issue. More important is the fact that anyone who sees it will be getting a glimpse of who produced it, wherever they came across it. With how often content is found on Google Images these days or reshared without direct website links on social media, this is a great way to spread the word.
While your visual content should be consistently branded, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to make it varied. Content re-packaging is the perfect tactic to diversify visual and interactive content you market. First Site Guide offers the great overview of types of (visual) content you can create:
Some content is going to take awhile to create, and a lot of effort, which is just fine. You should spend as much time as it takes to create something great. But what about those other little bits of visual media that aren’t quite so intensive, like photos for the top of blog posts or silly little pictures on social media? Those would benefit from a template, which you had created before hand to help you make content more quickly and simply.
Use one for every kind of quick content you want to make, for each social platform where it will be used. The size and style for your blog will be different than Facebook, for instance, and Twitter will be different from Pinterest. Here’s an in depth look into how image previews work on different social media sites:
Facebook: Displays in Facebook at 484x252px
Google Plus: Displays in Google+ at 506 x 300px. (Google has a maximum height and scales the width proportionally)
Pinterest: Displays at 736 x any pixels. It will scale your images to roughly 600px wide typically, but make sure the width is at least 736px uploaded to your site.
Check out this article for more info and examples…
Having templates for any situation will make creating new visual content a snap. Again, Canva is a great tool to design those templates and quickly change them from article to article.
Lacking inspiration? Then just go with what is popular right now. Memes, styles, formats and pop culture references are a great way to create content that is timely and relevant, gaining regular exposure with little effort. But be prepared to keep it up as what is hot changes from day to day. Here’s a detailed guide I did on monitoring trends.
Do you have any tips on how to consistently brand your visual media? Let us know in the comments!