So what takes "good" content…to Great?
We’ve all seen social media blow up in 2015 and specifically, how content marketing has gotten more sophisticated.
No more bogus links to your site, as Google Analytics has tried to eliminate anything but just great content to increase your rank and marketing reach.
Based on 2015, it means your content must be quickly and easily understood. To turn good content to great, 2016 will be the year you include succinct and informative images and video content.
In other words, visual content marketing should become your #1 priority this year.
Yes, both have been around for a while. But now that some statistics are available on the early use of image and video, you can use this information to create a more targeted digital marketing campaign.
Find out what is really working for others, and focus on the specifics of what might work for you. Start with valuable and original content.
Pick your message based on what your consumers want and need to know. Then find the channels that fit your consumer, product, and message and use this information about visuals to create a record-breaking year!
The Case for Increasing Images:
Let’s take a look at some stats for the last full year of data, 2014, and what we know of 2015:
Just make sure to include relevant word content so your content and visuals can be found by search engines.
And when using product photos, make sure to use them in context. Pictures of a product in context (or in its normal environment, like a picture frame on a table instead of on its own) is six times more likely to be shared on sites, be it a blog, website or article.
Consumers spent more time on the site checking out the photos and commenting. But Snapchat is catching up to Facebook and soon may surpass the photo-sharing giant in terms of number of photos being shared. Don’t forget other visual social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest, that continue to gain in popularity.
A widely accepted standard is adding an image to a blog or article for about every 350 words or so. It helps reinforce written content and visually breaks up the text so the reader gets a natural “pause”.
The content should tell a story that is then reinforced by the image. It helps create both the engagement and recall that every product or service needs when the customer is ready to purchase. The study found that for any business industry or specialty, no matter what type, the content that included visuals would get 94% more views than content without any images.
For B2B clients, infographics were a huge visual success in 2015 and should be continued into 2016. They can be simple, yet powerful, and present material in a clear and useful way when done correctly.
Images of the product or service are also important for these companies. Here, too, you are still trying to make that emotional connection as you do in B2C marketing, building brand recognition and adding followers or nurturing existing relationships and strengthening ties.
Keep in mind that you have lots of choices when it comes to images, so mix it up to keep your content looking fresh and interesting. Make it friendly.
You want to keep the customer engaged and wanting to learn more. It doesn’t all have to be original images. Feel free to add in stock images, infographics and charts or embedded images to vary the look.
Just make sure whatever images you use are enhancing and reinforcing your message and not just there to take up space. “Layering” your message can be powerful.
Now Add Video:
Remember the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, when it comes to a one minute video, that extrapolates to 1.8 million words.
This little stat has been bantered about a bit in digital online marketing circles recently and while that seems like quite a stretch, it does make the point that if photos are good, video must be even better. Let’s take a look and see if the numbers actually bear that out.
Video can translate throughout all of your marketing plan. Whether you favor a company website and use Facebook and run email campaigns, or you prefer SEO optimization on blogs and tweet and create mobile apps, video can be included.
This, too, is amazing and powerful information. The engagement factor seems to go through the roof when an informative video is part of an integrated marketing campaign. Use this knowledge to help guide the user around your website in an informative and engaging way, all the while creating a bond to your company.
Combine that with the fact that consumers give great weight to product reviews by users and add review videos to your marketing program.
You may already have text reviews on your website so it’s not much of a stretch to create video of a great review. It adds to your credibility, increases loyalty to your brand and gives consumers a visual to reinforce the recommendation.
And the news is just as good if you are a B2B company. After watching a video, 65% of executives are reported to have visited a vendor’s site. (Forbes)
Now is definitely the time to start or increase the use of video to significantly increase conversion rate and market share. One of the best ways to gain market share is to differentiate yourself. Creative use of video in your marketing will make you the innovator in your industry.
But don’t just add video to have video. Make sure it supports and enhances your message throughout all your marketing channels. Find the channel that appeals to your demographics. Is it YouTube, Periscope, or Vine?
As more and more people use tablets and mobile phones (per YouTube, 40% of watchtime for their site comes from mobile phones) as their primary means of checking websites and using social media, it makes sense that visual mediums will take on even more importance when trying to reach their target audiences.
With these smaller devices being readable and sharable will be two important challenges, making images and video a natural solution.
How you use these visual features are just as important as why. Keep in mind that the work doesn’t end with slapping up a few photos and creating a video to add to every outlet you use.
You still need a planned strategy and should be able to articulate how video and photos are enhancing your overall message wherever they are used.
The company website is a great place for adding these features but you may want a scaled back version for a blog or guest article and something slightly different for YouTube.
Twitter will need a “less is more” attitude, focusing on one piece of your message. Being consistent in your message does not mean being the same.
If these visual mediums are so influential, why isn’t everyone using them yet? For many companies, they are concerned that they can’t afford it.
But based on these statistics, it might be argued that you can’t afford not to. Maybe their in-house marketing doesn’t have the expertise.
A savvy business understands that in order to be competitive, you have to find the resources you need. In this case, there are plenty of marketing firms that can help, at all different price points. Find one that matches well with the business and watch their creativity shine a light on your company.
If budgeting is a concern, start on a smaller scale. Don’t start with video if your product/service can be demonstrated with photos.
Or use shorter video like Vine. Tweet more with photos. Create one longer video in segments so that a shorter piece can be used for guest articles or blogs and the entire piece on the company website or wherever research tells you your audience will stay engaged longer.
Video doesn’t have to be a big budget item. With valuable content and an entertaining style, even short videos of less than 30 seconds can be extremely successful, such as the Lowe’s series of six second Vine videos. Yes, just six seconds!
Visual content marketing has become a popular trend, but it's not a surprise. Images and video are the “visual hack” for someone to understand your content. Will you still need to use good text to help Google find your content?
But what constitutes the meat of your content will be more easily digested by users if it can be packaged with visual or video support.
This makes it easier to understand and share quickly, both of which is marketing gold for you. And once great content gets out there, the links and shares start rolling in.
So, where do you start when adding more visuals to your marketing campaign? How do you know which platform is right for it, what type of visuals and how many?
If this is starting to sound a little overwhelming you should get in touch with a digital marketing agency who can help you design a plan that will keep you at the front of the pack, with compelling and memorable content enhanced by engaging visuals that share your unique story.
About the Author – Melanie Valenzuela has been writing about business topics for several years and currently writes on behalf of the digital marketing firm, Marketing Zen.
When not writing, she can be found working on her world perspective through travel; or challenging her heart rate through tennis, running or attending a Kansas City Royals baseball game. You can find her on LinkedIn.