Visual content in 2014
Many of us prefer to receive information visually. The emergence and growth of image-based services such as Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest has arisen out of our desire for the engaging, shareable and easily digestible, combined with the increased ownership of mobile devices.
While visual content isn't something that is necessarily new, how it is now being employed by brands and marketers is. With a growing emphasis on content marketing strategies, and with 93% of marketers planning to use such content in 2014, visual web growth looks to set to continue as businesses adapt to shifts in consumer behaviour as well as changes to Google's search algorithm.
Reasons for showing and telling
Creating visual content in conjunction with other strategies can be beneficial, as it has been known to achieve the following:
- Increase in brand awareness
- Growth in traffic and audience
- Accelerated shares
- Improvements in sales
A strong piece of visual content that is both engaging and shareable is likely to be seen by a wide spread of people, leading to improvements in brand recognition. This in turn can help to build up your audience, attracting people to your site, social media channels and email newsletters.
The higher level of engagement can then cause an increase in sales, particularly if the visual content strengthens the credibility of your brand and builds trust between the business and consumer.
Keeping it relevant
As highlighted by Matt Cutts in a recent personal blog discussing guest blogging for SEO purposes, all web content should have a credible purpose, with exposure, branding, increased reach and community being named as good reasons by the head of spam at Google.
This also goes for visual content, which shouldn't be created for the sake of producing content or manipulating rankings. Instead, you should look to engage, entertain and inform your target audience by providing them with quality, relevant and highly shareable content. By concentrating on engaging consumers in multimodal conversations through your quality content, it is more likely to be valuable to your business.
So, while visual content is certainly trendy at the minute, it is important to remember your business objectives when setting up a content marketing strategy. By focusing on the 'why', you can make sure that your visual content is compelling and connects your target audience to your brand, allowing you to show your audience what they need in order to successfully engage and convert.