If you are creating blog posts without any accompanying visuals, you are not only making them dull, but are also missing on a huge opportunity to attract more people to your content. Readers are much more likely to share posts that include visual content than those that do not, as this report by HubSpot (42 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2017) shows. For example, according to one statistic, articles with an image every 75-100 words receive twice as many shares on social media as those with fewer or no images at all.
But how do you find the perfect visual for your blog posts and your content strategy? How do you choose between photos, infographics, videos and other types of visual content? A bad design, one that doesn’t fit with the message of your content can do more harm than good to it. Also, you have to keep your audience’s preferences in mind. Would gifs and memes be alright, or does your typical reader like to see charts, graphs and heat maps more?
In this post, I would like to show you 10 types of awesome visual content that you can use to boost your posts. Read this and find what would be best for your content marketing strategy and target audience.
This is hardly news to you, but a picture is worth a thousand words. In fact, according to Kissmetrics, content with relevant images receives as much as 94% more views than the one without.
Read that again. Notice the word “relevant”. So many articles and posts float around with photos that, while may look pretty, have nothing to do with the content they accompany. Visual content needs to enhance written content and catch the reader’s eye. If it doesn’t do that, it’s useless.
This is why you need to put a bit more effort into choosing photos for your posts. I know that stock images are free and easily available to you, but they are to everyone else as well. How can your blog keep any identity if it includes the same stock image that dozens of other sites use as well? Instead. if you have a good HD camera go out there and make some stunning photos. Or, better yet, if you know a pro, you can hire them. Another way to get better photos (one that is admittedly cheaper) is to use a site like Flickr and find some photos under Creative Commons. Just make sure to give attribution to the creator.
An infographic is a graphic visual representation of data, statistics and other information. With it, you can turn a boring and complicated piece of data into something that your readers will enjoy much more and will want to share. In fact, infographics are shared and liked 3 times more on social media than any other type of content.
What’s more, infographics are not even that difficult to create! With tools like Canva Infographic Maker or Visme, you can create your own infographics in just a few minutes. You can even sign up and use these apps for free, though if you want some extra features and options, you’ll need to pay for them. Check the apps you’re using for pricing.
Also, for a more thorough review of best infographic tools around, take a look at one of my older posts: 5 Best Online Tools for Creating Great Infographics for Your Website.
Photos are good and you should definitely try to include them with your content. But there are some things you can’t say through just a still image. That’s where you should start thinking about videos.
True, making videos is a lot more involved process than making photos or infographics. Creating a good video for your content can take hours or even days of shooting and editing before you can even dream of publishing it. Just ask any Youtuber and they’ll tell you how long they’re spending thinkering on even a 10-minute video.
But it’s worth it. Videos can add voice and bring a new dimension to your content. For instance, you can show your product in action or make a how-to video to go with your blog post.
A quote is another good way to inspire your audience into action. Especially if you manage to show emotion through it. You can use quotes from influencers in your industry (you might want to check with them for permission first) for example. Another good way to use quotes is to look at customer reviews of your product or service and pick some really inspiring ones.
Quotes are also very relatable and can bring you closer to your customers, especially if you are already using reviews they’ve made about your product. You can also turn client reviews on Upwork and other freelancing platforms you are working on into quotes on your website and include them on your “Hire Me” page.
Screenshots are a great way to make a certain point clearer to your readers. They’re especially useful to people who are learning how to use a new program or app. For example you can use them to show what button to press for a desired outcome. In addition, if your product or service is very technical, screenshots can help you explain things much better to your readers.
You can use screenshots to add more weight to your claims. For example, if your app has a certain function that you believe would be valuable to your customers, instead of telling them about it, take a screenshot and show them how it works. This not only explains the product or service at work, but also increases reader’s trust in your company.
6. Charts and Graphs
Charts, graphs and maps are another example of visual content working better than text only. They’re particularly good if you need to present data and statistics.
There are four types of charts and graphs out there, depending on what you want to use them for:
- Bar charts show numbers independent of one another
- Pie charts can be used to divide a whole into different parts
- Line graphs are best for showing data changes over time
- Cartesian graphs are a good way to show changes in one thing relative to another.
You may remember presentations from boring business meetings. What should in theory be a way to bring important topics across, was instead a good way to make everyone at the meeting asleep.
But that’s no longer the case. Sites like SlideShare can help you create amazing presentations and communicate your message to your audience in a similar way an infographic would. With one distinction. Presentations work even better than infographics if a topic is a bit more complicated and needs more space to explain it.
The key to a good presentation is in its design, colors and the proper use of graphics and text. People don’t want to read presentations, so be sure there’s very little accompanying text on each slide. Let the design, colors and graphic speak here to get the full effect.
Memes have possibly the greatest power to go viral of any type of visual content. They were originally created to entertain (and they still do), but memes are no longer reserved for just funny college-oriented blogs. A lot of “more serious” blogs are today also using them.
However, be careful when using memes. Know your audience first. Memes work best with young adults, so if your brand is fun-loving and dynamic, they can work for you. However, if your target audience is more conservative, professional and older, don’t expect them to “get it” and avoid memes.
Think of GIFs as something between photos and videos. Except better than either. On one side, GIFs bring life to your content by adding movement to it. On the other side, they say what you need them to say in just a few seconds and not minutes or more like videos.
10. Call to Actions (CTAs)
Last, but definitely not least, we have call to actions. Do you want to stimulate a visitor to action? Perhaps to sign up for your email newsletter or subscribe to your YouTube channel? You’ll get a lot more conversions if you use a CTA that stands out and that they can click on than if you use a simple text link.
Visual content is a must. However, content marketers need to be be careful with the type they are using. Your audience may not like memes and gifs for example, but may prefer something with a more serious note like charts. Experiment until you find what works for your content strategy best.
What type of visual content do you prefer and why? Let me know in the comments below and please share this post if you found it useful.