Visual content has dominated the web for a while, but online marketing experts are predicting an even steeper rise of images in 2014. Any business competing online needs to make graphics a priority – not only are pictures more sharable for your audience, but visual content has a better conversion rate. In fact, blocks of text with pictures in it get 94% more views than content without. Surveys have found that 67% of customers value detailed images of a product more than product descriptions or consumer reviews.
It’s easy to see that all businesses need to up their game as far as visual content goes. However, this can present a challenge to many small businesses. Many businesses do not sell tangible products, but instead sell services; how do they produce images without concrete objects to take pictures of? And a small business means a small budget: you may not have the resources to hire a professional photographer or full-time graphic designer. How do you create sharable visual content without an expert?
Where should my visual content go?
First you need to remember where you are posting these images. There are three places online where you should have great visual content:
- On your website (Landing pages, the home page, and product descriptions are all crucial locations)
- In your blog posts
- On social media accounts
The type of images you create will be different depending on these locations. Some of them have a lot of overlap (such as a blog post about your products will have pictures from your product pages), but with each location, there are images that are preferable.
What type of visual content can I create?
The type and style of visual content you will create will depend on your business and your message. Every business should have an online marketing plan that outlines how you want your business branded. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for visual content that goes on your website, your blog posts, and your social media accounts:
- Infographics are very popular right now, especially on Pinterest. People make infographics for almost anything: wine parings, sunscreen usage, sushi etiquette, American sleep habits, etc. And, kind of surprisingly, those infographics get a lot of traction. If you have information that can be delivered in bullet points, it can be put into a compelling infographic.
- PowerPoint may be so 2000, but the information-sharing technology is still well-known enough to be shareable. SlideShare.net allows you to upload your PowerPoint presentation and share it across the web. Use a PowerPoint presentation to share information rather than a traditional blog post.
- Create graphics in a photo editing program. PicMonkey is a free online photo editor that many bloggers are catching on to. Even people without an artistic bone in their body can create an attention-grabbing graphic.
- Insert a pull quote into your blog posts. A “pull quote” is a style used by magazines, newspapers, etc. to highlight the most salient or interesting quote within an article. Basically, a section of text is blown up and formatted similarly to a picture within the bulk of the content. This is a simple way of diversifying your text without much effort.
- If you information can be put into a graph, do it. Again, this isn’t the most modern and exciting method, but it’s easy for readers to digest.
- Create memes that are specific to your industry. Memes can be a way of catering to the lowest denominator, so to speak, but doing so results in added reach on social media accounts. They’re also super easy to create.
- YouTube videos are great for SEO. If you’re posting a tutorial or explaining a concept, create a YouTube video for it. It’s also an excellent way to share all the features of a particular product, or show that product in use.
- Similarly, Vine and Instagram are two of the most popular social media programs. Microvideos can share your office environment and employees, mini-customer reviews, your product in action, or anything that has to do with your region.
- Use handwriting or typography within blog posts or on social media. Take a picture of a quote written out by hand with some doodles on them. The nostalgia and personalization will appeal to your audience. Unique typography done well is similarly attention-grabbing.
- Take a screenshot with your smart phone. You can do this to take pictures of your website or pictures of your social media account. Audiences like the recognizable smart phone frame around the picture because it is familiar and modern. Also write a message in your notes app and screenshot it.
- Check out Fiverr.com. Talented graphic designers, video personalities, musicians, and other creative types volunteer to make you a personalized graphic or video for only $5. It can be a cute, cheap way to add some diverse images to your blog posts and social media presence.
- Always try to take your own pictures! Whether they are smart phone pictures for Instagram or the most professional-looking photograph you can possibly muster, do not underestimated the importance of taking day-to-day pictures. If your employees are doing something funny or original, take a picture. If something interesting is happening outside your door, take a picture. Any of these could be a story for a blog post or for social media.
- Look for stock photos. Yes, they can be cheesy, but they are also valuable. You can always edit them in a photo editing program to add a little extra pizazz.
How do you create images in this increasingly visual industry? What are your favorite ways to attract an audience through visual content?
Eaves, Richard. “Why Visual Content Will Rule Digital Marketing in 2014.” http://www.steamfeed.com/visual-content-will-rule-digital-marketing-2014/. (15 Jan. 2014).
“5 Ways to Create Original Blog Imagery.” http://dexterousdiva.co.uk/2013/04/03/5-ways-to-create-original-blog-imagery/. (15 Jan. 2014).