Visuals can considerably improve the impact of content. Pages that include visuals receive 94 percent more views and are more memorable than pages that only include text. This is a good reason by itself to beef up your visual content. Here are some ideas on how to include more high-quality visuals in your content strategy.
Images and Videos Add Value
The classic centered image is one of the best options to break the monotony of text. Most content strategists recommend that you use original images (rather than stock photos) to help you differentiate your content even further. Purchasing the rights to stock online content is possible. However, this can understandably become a big expense if you are publishing content frequently, so you might also want to consider license-free alternatives. A few options include Canva and Flickr, which both have thousands of pictures in many categories. Check licensing details carefully to see if you need to credit the photographer.
With today’s fast internet browsing speeds, even from mobile devices, videos are also becoming a highly-accessible form of visual content. Videos frequently go further than any text description could. For example, if you are writing about a product or service, adding a descriptive video brings the product to life and makes it more tangible and memorable. Forbes suggests that adding a video to a product’s landing page can increase sales by up to 80 percent. Many video-sharing websites, such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Metacafe allow you to host your own videos on their servers and embed them in your website.
Keep Images Relevant and High Quality
All visual content should meet specific quality standards. Only include images that are:
- High resolution
- Relevant to the content
- Authentic (i.e., not canned)
As long as visuals meet these criteria, they are likely to support your content. When you post visuals that don’t meet these standards, you risk leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths and actually hurting your message. Seamlessly integrating high-quality content and visuals is the key to success.
Use Visuals on Social Content
Sharing your content on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook can bring you more readers who are directly interested in your topic. You can use visuals to make your message on these platforms more appealing. Even if your message is primarily text-based, a visual may draw more eyes to your content. It will also help the content take up more space on people’s news feeds, which gives it a better chance of being noticed. You can also change the color of your background or text on Facebook to add visual interest to the post.
Embed Social Media Posts
With the rise of Instagram, there are multiple easy options to add visuals to your content directly from the apps you use. Most websites now allow you to embed your posts from Instagram. You can use this feature by copying and pasting the embed code of each Instagram post. The good news is that these posts don’t necessarily have to be yours. You can leverage other people’s high-quality images to help you better convey your content’s message.
Advanced tools even allow you to automatically embed Instagram posts. For example, your website could constantly update to show the latest Instagram posts on its homepage. This can act as a great visual representation of your content updates for various products or services.
Embed Slides and Presentations
SlideShare is one of the tools often used to create appealing visuals. You can create your own slide and upload it to the platform. From here, you can embed the presentation in your own website. But why would you do so? Apart from adding visual appeal to your content, you will also add to your SEO ranking; you may have noticed that presentations are often among the first search engine results on a given topic.
Infographics can be intimidating for some people to create, but a post will really benefit from the added visual appeal and comprehensiveness that infographics add. The key is to stay on point and use the infographic to complement the topic you are discussing without interrupting the natural flow of the text.
There are various tools you can use to create infographics. One of them is Canva. You can import an infographic as a regular image and upload it to your content to make it more visually appealing. Getting professional infographic creation services is another great option if you don’t have the right expertise to do this in-house.
Consider Leveraging Memes
Memes can inject a lot of life into the right topic. Consider using an existing meme and captioning it to be relevant to your topic or business. All you need is a royalty-free picture and a text caption. This can be a good option to increase engagement, especially if you are targeting a younger audience.
Talking about a product or service can only get you to a certain point. The more complex the topic, the more you will struggle to properly describe it for most readers. This is where the use of screenshots can be a great solution for a straightforward explanation. You can easily create your own screenshots by using the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard. The good news is that these screenshots are high resolution and they can be easily viewed on both desktop and mobile devices.
Crowdsource Even More Images
Image via Flickr by NatalieTracy
A unique way to communicate with your readers is to crowdsource image creation. You can do this through social media by asking your clients to take pictures of your product. You can also do it directly on your website with certain plugins that would let users upload their photos for consideration.
The social option is generally better because you can ask people to include relevant hashtags on their posts that are basically free marketing for you. At the same time, you’re collecting relevant images of your product “in the wild.” Of course, you will want to reward your customers in some way for doing all of this legwork for you. Drawings, contests, and coupons are popular options.
Regardless of what you are trying to communicate, there is sufficient evidence to support the idea that added visuals improve the reader’s experience. No matter where you source your images and how you include them in your content, make sure they are of high enough quality to improve your content, not detract from it.