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!

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.

View all posts by Yvette Pistorio