Our vision trumps all our senses & other reasons your content must be visual
We are visual animals who are inherently drawn to content that contains rich, attractive images. Indeed, our vision trumps all other senses.
What we see has a profound effect on how we feel, what we think, what we do, and who we are. So, adding visuals to your content is going to create the most impact with your audience.
Humans are incredible at remembering pictures and our brains crave graphics. Hear or read a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%, says John Medina at Brain Rules. “Our brain sees words as lots of tiny pictures, and we have to identify certain features in the letters to be able to read them. That takes time.”
Visuals are much more than a trend
Visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media, says HubSpot. Add color to your visuals and you increase willingness to read a piece of content by 80 percent.
Have you ever watched a video of a recipe being made, or created something with step-by-step instructions that have text and illustrations? I won’t even try a recipe unless I have a photo of the finished dish (at least) and I can’t imagine assembling something from Ikea with text-only directions.
Our brains crave visuals! In fact, people who follow directions with visuals do 323% better than people who follow directions without illustrations.
What about those images on your website? The Nielson Norman Group did some eye tracking studies that say some types of pictures – like big feel-good images that are purely decorative – are completely ignored.
Other photos, like product shots and real people (as opposed to stock photos of models), are treated as important content and scrutinized.
The best visual content makes the text and visuals work hand in hand
This is the most important thing about visual content: the visuals need to mean something! If you use graphics that don’t marry with the text or just use pretty shots that aren’t believable, then don’t bother with visuals.
I always include a featured image at the beginning of blog articles because, per Jeff Bullas, articles with visuals get 94% more total views. I also ascribe to the rule that you add one image for about every 350 words.
Visual content marketing isn’t just about photos, either, it’s about all-things-visual – including videos and memes. Think about adding visual content to your marketing with a mix of these ideas:
- Create Quote cards – I use these all the time to highlight a great quote within an article.
- Use Screenshots – Grab a screenshot rather than just linking text.
- Create Visual Step-by-Step Instructions – These are all the rage on Pinterest.
- Make Some Memes – There’s a reason they’re so popular, and if they relate to your business or customers, use them!
- Make Graphic Calls-to-Action – Don’t just ask people to fill out a form or submit their name to download a brochure, create a visual button for them to click on.
- Design Infographics – Designing an infographic is a great way to condense heavy material into more manageable VISUAL pieces.
- Use videos and GIFs – These kinds of visual content can convey powerful messages to viewers in ways that static forms of content don’t.
- Create Graphical Data – Stats are dry and boring, but you can make them interesting with graphs.
- Design a Quiz or Survey: You can learn a lot about your customers when you ask the right questions. Embed the quiz or survey on your website and it drives traffic to your site via social referrals, too.SnappApp says 80% of the most shared articles on social media are quizzes. We wrote this quiz for JewishBoston: How much do you know about Hanukkah? Their mission is to make it easy for everyone to participate in Jewish life and the quiz drove engagement for the eight-day Hanukkah holiday. Nearly 6,000 people have taken the quiz to date.
Create a style that’s part of your brand personality
One last, but very important thing to remember: create a visual content style that’s part of your brand personality. It should be easy for your audience to identify your business or brand when they see your visual content.