Visual content is a key element of any content strategy. After all, it can help generate up to 94% more views than text-heavy content.
But can your visual content do more for your marketing than be another pretty face for your blog? How can you create visual content that drives conversions?
The answer is twofold: First, you need to create visual content that provides value to your audience. Then, you need to place your visual content in a well-optimized content experience.
Let’s break down this process a little further.
Step 1: Identify your content gaps.
Before you even start creating your content or building your content experience, you need to identify your content gaps. This will help you ensure that you’re creating the right content for your audience.
Content gaps occur when one of your buyer persona’s pain points overlaps with a stage in the buying process. Find your content gaps by considering who you’re talking to and how they’re consuming your content.
Create detailed buyer personas to help you pin down your audience’s pain points. From there, consider the content journey from awareness, to consideration, to making the final decision. Keep in mind that the content journey is rarely a direct line — your audience will hop in and out to consume your content at various stages depending on their progress in the journey.
Create content that addresses your audience’s needs at each stage of the journey so that there’s something there to help them when they need it.
Finally, consider the most suitable format for filling a particular content gap. Visual content will satisfy some content gaps better than others. The best piece of content possible should be available to meet your reader at the right time — only use a visual if it adds additional value.
Step 2: Fill your content gaps by creating valuable visual content.
You’ve found your content gaps and have identified those that would be best filled with visual content. Now what?
Any seasoned content marketer should know that you can’t just fill them in with any old piece of content — your content must be valuable.
To determine whether or not your content is valuable, ask the following questions:
1. Is your data reputable?
Credibility is perhaps the most important aspect of valuable content. If you don’t have your audience’s trust, your content will not perform effectively. Take the time to fact-check and find data that is accurate and up-to-date.
2. Does it have a compelling story that speaks to your audience?
No two audiences are exactly the same. Drill down into your buyer personas to discover what your audience actually cares about, and cater to that through content. Above all, don’t be boring — engage your audience by using their language and leveraging their interests.
Here are a few examples of infographics that accomplish this:
3. Does your story fulfill its reason for being told?
Once you’ve captured your audience, you don’t want to risk losing them because your story goes off track or your message turns stale. Ensure your visual has a clever message that’s communicated through a clear engagement path with a beginning, middle and end.
4. Is your design visually presenting the data and story in a beautiful and appealing way?
Don’t let poor design override your credible data and compelling story! If you’re working with a designer, be sure to keep them involved in the process for every step of the way. If you aren’t working with a designer, tools like Canva are great for creating compelling visual content.
A few other best practices to keep in mind:
The ideal size of an infographic is 800 pixels wide and 3,000-4,000 pixels long
Infographic should include no more than one 8.5×11” page of text translated into visuals
Double check that the visual representation of data is accurate — the image below is an example of what NOT to do (notice how the sizes of the colored representations of each part of the person are a little, erm, off?).
5. Is your visual interesting and relevant enough to share?
At the end of the day, your visual content will only stand out if it’s original and downright awesome. Put in the time and effort in each phase of the creation process, from ideation to editing, to ensure you will ultimately provide value to your audience.
Step 3: Put your valuable content in a killer content experience.
You’ve created a piece of content that answers all the questions above with a resounding “YES!” Now, let’s get it to generate some leads!
A well-optimized content experience provides an path for your audience to follow on their content journey.
This means that your content must:
Be organized in a way that makes sense. Imagine walking into a grocery store and finding everything piled in a big heap in the middle of the store. Not a very good experience, right? Organize your content in a way that makes the most sense for your audience to consume.
Provide a responsive experience. You’ve created the right content for the right people, so it only makes sense that it should be able to be consumed at the right time and place. Ensure your content is presented in an experience that allows for it to be consumed regardless of time or device restrictions.
Include targeted and contextual calls-to-action (CTAs). CTAs work best when they’re an integrated part of the content experience. For instance, Visually generates leads from their visual content by using an Overlay (or pop-up) CTA (pictured below). This type of CTA hovers over a piece of content, creating the feeling that it’s “just out of reach”. They can easily collect a user’s information without sending them to a landing page (and removing them from the content experience).
Generating leads from your visual content starts with identifying your content gaps. Once these are identified, you need to fill them with valuable content, then ensure that your valuable content is part of a well-optimized content experience.