Column: Make your content marketing more visual

By Westfair Online

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BY DANIELLE M. CYR

Did you know that Forrester Research reports one minute of video is equal in value to 1.8 million words? That YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine? Or, that Instagram is the fastest-growing social network, according to the Pew Research Internet Project? Simply put, we live in a visual world, and businesses’ marketing needs to adapt to seize the opportunities available in this new world.

Building a bank of video assets

Think about video in two buckets — the grassroots footage you can shoot on a smartphone and professionally produced assets. Grassroots footage — so long as the camera isn’t wobbling nonstop and the footage isn’t overpowered by background noise — is great for capturing unplanned moments, a 30-second snippet from the CEO to drop in a blog post and, in some instances, crowdsourced content.

Two instances where investing in a professionally produced video makes sense: when you want to weave together a number of highlights from one event into a seamless end product or when you are looking to produce a company profile that will have long-lasting value. The key is to proactively think about the ways you will use and distribute this footage and, in turn, how you can maximize the value of your investment. For example, if you decide to invest in a company profile video and happen to work in three vertical markets, work with the videographer to identify how shorter, vertical-specific video clips can be extracted from the end product. For event synthesis videos, think about the speeches and other milestone moments that would make compelling stand-alone video assets.

Where can you use these video assets? Embed them in your blog posts and email marketing, show them at the opening of key client and prospect events and disseminate them across your social media channels, to name a few.

Creating custom images

While not every business has a graphic designer on staff, custom visuals are a great opportunity for companies to create visual marketing that stands out from the crowd. If you find yourself and your colleagues consistently saying ‘What if we could show …’ or ‘If only that image had …’ it’s typically a leading indicator that there is a void custom imagery can help to fill. If custom imagery isn’t an option, focus on:

Leveraging authentic photography

Stock photography can shore up gaps in a pinch, but photos of the people who define your brand and culture are far more relatable, not to mention compelling. Whether your company regularly hosts professional development programs for clients and prospects, is a staple of your industry’s tradeshow speaking circuit or has unique office space known for piquing prospects’ attention, there are a wealth of assets to promote at companies’ fingertips. The key is knowing what makes a good photo — and I don’t just mean one that’s in focus and where everyone’s eyes are open — one that will engage online audiences and foster engagement.

Whether your company is sharing your photos on Facebook or Instagram, or in a website photo gallery, focus on cultivating high-quality images that are both eye-catching and clearly enhance the value of your message and overall marketing.

The power of infographics

Some topics are more complex than others. Take solar energy tax credits, compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and, oftentimes, proposed or new legislation. While one could certainly take to their blog, craft an e-blast or resort to a long-format piece of premium content such as a white paper or e-book to explain what their audiences need to know about the topic at hand, 600 words can feel like a novel when the topic at hand is overly dense or complex. This is where infographics come in. Through one carefully crafted visual and high-level supporting copy, processes, procedures and other lengthy topics can be gracefully distilled into an easily digestible piece of content for prospects and clients. It’s also a sharable piece of content that can help to bolster social media engagement and foster audience growth.

You can embed infographics in your blog posts, share them with media as an asset to include in their online news story, push them out through social media and more.

While creating the right visual requires a custom blend of strategy and creativity — not to mention having one’s antennae up at all times to capture “the moment” — it is a great opportunity to diversify a company’s marketing and find new mediums through which to engage online audiences. Whether you decide that a Facebook advertising campaign rich with custom imagery is the right visual tactic for your business or are eager to begin using infographics to simplify complex processes, focus on developing visual marketing assets that are on-brand, perfectly clear, stand out from the competition and will resonate with your target audiences.

Danielle M. Cyr is vice president of integrated marketing for Co-Communications, a marketing and public relations agency with offices in Mount Kisco, Manhattan and Farmington. She can be reached at Danielle@cocommunications.com.

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