While blogs and social media posts still help in marketing your business and growing brand awareness, it’s time to start integrating more visuals into your content marketing strategy to really stand out in 2016.
Many small businesses shy away from creating visual content because they assume it’s complicated and expensive. But visual content has enormous benefits for your marketing efforts. Just check out these stats shared via Inc.com:
- Posts with images get 650 times as much engagement as text-only posts.
- Posts with attached videos attract three times as many links as posts with no videos.
- Tweets with images earn up to 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites, and 150 percent more retweets.
- Customers report they’re 85 percent more likely to purchase a product after viewing a product video.
Visual content’s potential ROI is so clear, your business can’t afford to ignore it. Even better news: It’s both easy and inexpensive to start making visual content.
Videos: Look Professional Without Spending a Lot of Money
Videos can become extraordinary resources for your customers; picture a how-to video or product review library. Unfortunately, often when many small companies make videos, it’s obvious they’re produced on the cheap.
With so many businesses creating great videos, you can’t get away with terrible lighting and audio that sounds like it was recorded in the shower. Tim Washer, creative director for Cisco, has some tips that will keep equipment and production costs low. For example:
- Get a tripod, even if you’re recording with your smartphone. As Washer says, “No need to provide the audience with Dramamine.”
- Buy a lavalier microphone to filter out background noise. Attach the lav mic to the person’s shirt about six to eight inches beneath the person’s mouth.
- Don’t forget good lighting. Buy a portable, adjustable LED light kit, like the Vidpro K-120, for less than $100. You’ll eliminate the harsh glare that’s often present in office lighting. You can also use an ordinary clamp light, screw in an LED bulb, and cover it with a translucent white shower curtain to diffuse the light.
- Let an app guide you. An app like Directr contains professionally designed storyboards so you can design a compelling production. You can also shoot clips, edit them together, and add music and effects in a program like iMovie.
Start with something simple that requires only one shot, like recording some testimonials or interviewing someone in your industry. As your skills improve, experiment with multi-shot videos that tell a story.
If making your own video sounds completely out of your league, start by sharing great videos others have made. Just be sure to credit the person who created it.
Where to Share Videos
Most content marketing experts agree that when Facebook’s algorithm decides what to show to users, it’s more likely to show an uploaded video than a YouTube link. For this reason, take the time to upload video to Facebook instead of sharing a YouTube or Vimeo link.
Add videos to your blog posts using embed code from YouTube or, if you use WordPress, upload them to your media library and then paste them into your blog posts.
- With embed code. Find the YouTube video you want to share. Under the title, click the Share Then, click Embed and copy the code that appears in the box below. Paste the code into the HTML on your website where you want the video to appear.
- Using WordPress media library. When writing a new post or editing an old one to add video, click the Add Media icon in the top left corner. It might be a button with the words “Add Media” on it, or it might be an image icon, like this:
From there, you can upload video by clicking Add New, or your can pull video from a link, such as a link from a YouTube or Vimeo page, by clicking Add via URL.
You can also share video via LinkedIn, and you can post very short videos on Instagram. Videos perform best when potential viewers can see a preview of the content as opposed to just a title or link.
As someone who’s clicked on and viewed infographics, you know they’re not only useful but also easy to share. You can make free infographics using Web apps like Easel.ly or Visme, which both feature templates for dragging and dropping elements. You can also design infographics using PowerPoint.
- Open a new presentation. Change the orientation of your first slide from landscape to portrait by going to File > Page Setup and then choosing Portrait. Adjust your slide to be about six inches wide and 11 to 12 inches tall.
2. Build your infographic by adding SmartArt, charts, tables — whatever comes to mind. Click on Themes along the top navigation bar to either choose a preloaded visual theme or select from different color palettes, fonts, and backgrounds.
3. Save your infographic as a PDF file. Upload it to your blog or share it on your social networks.
As you create your infographic, try to communicate in images instead of in abstract numbers that are hard to visualize. In other words, don’t just give your readers a statistic. Give them an image that communicates the meaning of each statistic.
Social Media Graphics
Even if you’re just sharing a Facebook post about a sale or other business event, create an image to go with it. Canva is a free tool (you can purchase premium images for $1 each) for creating professional-looking and memorable social media images.
For example, instead of sharing a link to your blog post about Halloween, share an image to go with it:
Canva offers many different templates, and design is as simple as dragging and dropping.
Do you like those little short animations that add humor or detail to a post? They’re called GIFs, and they can be great visual content marketing tools. For example, Bill Nye the Science Guy, to encourage people to join the Planetary Society, recently released a collection of reaction GIFs for anyone to use.
Making your own GIF from an existing video is easy. Go to imgur.com, click on upload images and select Video to GIF. Copy and paste the URL of the video, find the clip you want, and follow directions to create your own GIF. If you want to create a GIF from one of your own videos, CloudApp will create a GIF from a video that’s playing on your screen.
If you’ve recently presented at a conference or local small-business association meeting, upload your presentation deck to SlideShare. You can then embed your deck in a blog post or share it on your social networks.
- Upload your presentation to SlideShare, or choose an existing presentation you’d like to share. Click Share beneath the title.
2. Share it on a social network, email it, or embed it in your website using the given embed codes:
SlideShares really makes an impact when you run a B2B business. According to CMO.com, SlideShare receives 500 percent more traffic from business owners than Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and 20 percent of SlideShare traffic comes directly from Google. Another hint: SlideShare isn’t just for presentations. It’s also a great place to upload infographics.
With so many affordable options for creating visual content, you can’t afford not to try your hand at creating images, videos, GIFs, presentations, and more as part of a successful content marketing strategy. No single blog post can tell you how to make great visuals. You’ll have to experiment to find your inner artist, and you’ll have a lot of fun doing it. If you find that it’s too much work for you, then consider hiring a digital marketing agency to do it instead.