Yvette Pistorio

How to Leverage Visual Content in Your Marketing Mix

By: Yvette Pistorio | July 10, 2013 | 

how to leverage visual content in your marketing mix

By Yvette Pistorio

Visual content is key in marketing. People love videos and images because, in today’s super-fast information world, they are a quick way to absorb it all.

Some companies think they are too boring and no one would be interested in pictures of their employees/business/offices/insert any other excuse here.

But the truth is they are…very interested. People buy from people, so of course they want to see images of whom they make a purchase from no matter how boring your company is.

“Boring” Companies Using Visual Content

In the Warby Parker annual report, instead of delivering a thick document people would just toss to the side, they created an online visual report with “a hefty dose of fun,” according to Ann Handley and Nick Westergaard over at MarketingProfs.

The intro copy of the report says:

Herein you’ll find detailed information about our accounting policies, followed by a terrifying array of charts. Just kidding. The annual report is our chance to sneak you inside Warby Parker headquarters and show you how it all goes down – bagels and bloopers included.

GE is another great example of how to have fun with social media marketing. They show their audience a richer look inside the company by using Instagram to highlight groundbreaking research and technology and the images they share are both thought provoking and educational.

Even if you are a consultancy or B2B company with no inherently visually interesting content, you can create some with a little thought and creativity, says Handley and Westergaard.

Look at the Wall Street Journal – they created a Pinterest board with memorable quotes from the newspaper and each of them link back to the full story at the newspaper’s website.

It’s an unexpected and interesting use of Pinterest.

How to Leverage Visual Content

Socially Sorted created an infographic with some tips on how to leverage the power of visual content.

Don’t tell if you can share. Use visuals wherever possible to share your message. It could be pictures, images, videos, graphics, animations, or infographics.

Create original visual contentTake your own photos and use apps such as Instagram to add filters and make images “prettier.” Create a weekly video. We have a Facebook Question of the Week video where our fearless leader, Gini Dietrich, answers questions our community posts to our Facebook page. Or take note from the Wall Street Journal and create an image from meaningful quotes.

Showcase your story. People want an emotional connection to your brand, so show it to them through images. Netflix recently did this for the resurrected series Arrested Development. They used posters with simple images to convey a complicated idea or character. Images are more memorable than words – they’ll be remembered much longer than any of your bullet points.

Crowdsource visual content. Ask your fans to create and share images for you. We’re doing a contest on Instagram for a chance to have a one-on-one with Mitch Joel. All you have to do is take a picture of your pet with his new book, Ctrl Alt Delete, and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #spinsucks. It’s a great way to engage and have fun with your fans. (To see the entries, check out our stream here.)

Add back the words. Use captions, add keywords or hashtags to descriptions, include a watermark or website URL on original images, or add a call-to-action. Together, words and images can be really powerful; you just need to find the right balance.

Mix it up. Integrate the use of visual content into your marketing mix. Pin videos, create original images for your blog posts, overlay text on Instagram photos, or tweet images or pins.

Visual content grabs the attention of your audience, it’s quick to consume, and it’s easily shareable. No matter your organization, you can leverage the power of visual content.

What other examples of visual content have you seen and loved?

P.S. Join DJ Waldow on July 25 at 11 a.m. CT for the Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing. Register – for free – here!

About Yvette Pistorio

Yvette Pistorio is the shared media manager for Arment Dietrich. She is a lover of pop culture, cupcakes, and HGTV, and enjoys a good laugh. There are a gazillion ways you can find her online.

  • PattiRoseKnight1

    I am a visual person; I will give a second look to something with a cool photo. You are right visual content is key in marketing!

    • PattiRoseKnight1 Exactly!! If you like the image or have an emotional connection to it, you’ll take the time to read what goes along with it.

  • John_Trader1

    Well thought out and researched post Yvette. Enjoyed every word. Thank you so much for the tips and advice!

    • John_Trader1 Thanks so much John!! And my pleasure 🙂
      I’m a visual learner and if I can see an image and get the story from it, even better. I hate when companies say they are boring – that might be true, but you can still have some fun with social. Just loosen up a bit!

  • Elise Suzanne Hunter Matthews

    Omg! It’s Oliver Hunter Matthews!!

  • I am still a believer in the power of a great photograph. 
    A few years ago, one of our photographers shot a photo of a Marine handing a young boy the American flag at his father’s funeral. To this day, we are barraged with use requests of that photo and it still gets a “mini-vrial streak” from time to time in social media.

    The thing is it tells a story. No words are needed. You see it and you know what is happening. Absolutely powerful and it is just an old-fashioned photograph.

    Planning for art is absolutely vital to content planning. Unfortunately too many companies just grab something and throw it together. They feel like they have to have art for their blog, and any old thing will do. Even if your content that day/week/issue is driven by writing, art can still be used as a powerful supplement or as a means to pull the reader in.

    What’s wonderful is that there are tools that let you do so much more as your example of the Wall Street Journal indicates.

    • ClayMorgan Love that example Clay!! Definitely a powerful image and I think I have actually seen it. I love what WSJ did – very clever and so easy to make it look pretty even if you aren’t a photographer/artist/graphic designer.

  • Good stuff – the Warby Parker report is a great example of thinking differently. Especially for corp comms this is crucial, using photos, data viz, animation, etc… can make annual reports, case studies, whitepapers, etc… wayyyy more engaging. I like how there are hybrids too, like Prezi, where you can get the presentation & video effect at the same time (and video engagement is 1000% better than anything else out there). 
    I also think the add back the words advice is much bigger than people think. As you know, even a simple photo on FB, homepage of site, or in a report / presentation can make all the difference if you accompany it with a intriguing question.

    • JoeCardillo Thanks Joe! Agreed on the Warby Parker – they made it fun and after reading the description, who wouldn’t want to read it?!

  • Arment Dietrich, Inc.

    Lol! It’s Oliver’s BFF, Lola 😉 ^yp

  • All good points, Yvette. I agree with JoeCardillo about adding back the words. I’d like to add more all the time but…over the past few years especially I hear clients say, ‘oh, we don’t need much copy, people don’t read anymore.’ Writer says, ‘ouch.’

    • Word Ninja JoeCardillo Lol! Ouch indeed!!

      • yvettepistorio Word Ninja JoeCardillo Oh yah and I seriously doubt that’s even close to true. The interwebz has room for many things, including text.

  • susancellura

    Here’s a funny story (well, I think it is funny in an ironic sort of way). After educating and pitching leadership, etc., on why it’s important to incorporate more visuals, one of the directors has an “a-ha” moment and forwards a link titled, “The Power of Video”.  LOL!!
    Good stuff, Yvette!

    • susancellura Bwahahahaha!!! Oy!! I
      I hate when companies say “Oh, we’re too boring, no one cares what we do” because that’s just not true.

    • susancellura Ha I love that. Sometimes when I talk about this I just end up saying “You know what. I’m just going to shut up and you can watch this thing.”

      • susancellura

        JoeCardillo That. Is. Awesome.

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  • Liza Butcher

    At the organization I work for, we have been really getting into posting original videos about our clients and making sure to take lots of photos at events! It really helps to get noticed in a very crowded world of social media.

    • Liza Butcher LOVE!! Absolutely – people love videos and images, especially when they give you insight into an organization.  Plus it’s so easy to snap a few quick pics at an event or get a short interview with someone! I wish more companies did this.

      • yvettepistorio Liza Butcher And for the SEO alone, it’s huge. Even just including an image with every piece of text you post online, helps.

  • As we are replatforming the corporate website, and adding a blog, I’ve tasked a few of our people with creating our own photos/pics/etc.

    • dbvickery Nice!! We’ve started doing it on our blog – well not all of us *shakes head in shame*

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