Photos and videos are a staple of any good content strategy. These types of visual content tend to create much more excitement and engagement with your audience, making them a powerful marketing tool for your brand. Videos, for example, are arguably the most personal form of interaction between you and your followers outside of being in the same room with them. However, with video being such a powerful tool for connecting with your followers, it’s crucial that your video production, as well as its content, is of the highest possible quality. A video is powerful because it’s visual, and its impact will be proportional to the quality of its appearance.
The Advantages of Visual Content
Humans are naturally social creatures and we gravitate towards things that we’re familiar with. We’re hardwired to relate to objects that we can see, hear, and recognize, which is why visual content is such a powerful tool for marketers. Both photo and video content enable your audience to put a face to a name, which makes it easier for them to get to know you and your brand better. This fosters a much more personal and much deeper connection than any text-based content could ever dream of.
Plus, visual content just works better for certain things. For example, you can describe a movie by writing a review, but a movie poster, a video trailer, or a snippet of the film itself are almost guaranteed to drum up more interest, excitement, and engagement.
Visual content is often much more effective than text because it’s more entertaining, it’s easier to digest, and it has more emotional impact.
Why Invest in Visual Content?
Aside from the powerful nature and general marketing potential mentioned above, visual content can be highly beneficial to your content marketing strategy in a number of ways. There are many reasons why you should invest your time and resources into making visual content a part of your content marketing strategy, and these are the ones that stand out:
- Personality: In comparison to text-based content, visual content, especially video, allows you to better express your brand’s personality and show your audience who you truly are. Important attributes like sentiment, earnestness, body language, and intonation are conveyed much easier, much clearer, and much more effectively in photos and videos than in text. This can help your fans relate to you in a stronger way and build a deeper connection to your brand.
- Shareability: Photos and videos are undoubtedly the most shared type of content on the Internet, and for good reason—they’re entertaining and easily accessible. Major social sites like Facebook have enabled videos to play in users’ feeds instantaneously and keep visual content in the news feed exponentially longer than text because people are more likely to click on and share photos and videos. Furthermore, Google has started to show YouTube content in search rankings as well, along with sites that contain lots of relevant visual content. In fact, Google has demonstrated that it’s beginning to shift its focus to using social indicators such as shares and likes to indicate value and relevance. Thus, highly engaging visual content will have a bigger impact on your SEO moving forward.
- Multi-Sensory Communication: The reason that visual content is so successful is because of its ability to create a multi-sensory experience. This helps build a stronger connection with your audience and encourages them to interact with your brand. Flashy videos draw eyeballs, but quality information that involves sounds and action keep people entertained and invested. Visual content allows you to present information in a more creative way than text, making it more appealing to your audience.
- Syndication: With great visual content, you give yourself a better opportunity to have your content shared by curators and other content marketers. There are a lot of outlets online where your visual content can be shared, so investing in creating unique and interesting visual content can help get your content, your message, and your brand in front of a larger audience.
- Novelty: It’s pretty easy these days to set up a blog and share your written opinion, but creating and sharing high quality visual content takes much more time, effort, and resources. It involves more work and experience, and as a result, there’s noticeably less competition than in the blogosphere. Thus, creating your own visual content is a great way to separate yourself from your competitors.
- SEO: Last, and arguably the most important reason to invest in visual content is the benefit that it will have on your SEO. We briefly talked about it earlier, but it’s important to explain, in detail, exactly why great visual content is worth every penny. As we know, Google wants users to get from point A to point B as effortlessly as possible, and find the most relevant and valuable content at the end of the process. Google does this by analyzing the content on sites and determining what content is relevant and valuable to specific search queries. With their latest algorithm update, Google has started using social share metrics as a benchmark for determining a site’s value. Sites that receive more social likes and shares often receive a boost in their search ranking, so getting content to go “viral” on social media can help take your page to the top of Google and other search engines. Facebook is already placing more emphasis on photos and video content, allowing them to stay in users’ feeds longer than regular statuses, which plays right into Google’s focus on similar types of content. So ultimately, if you want to get to the top of Google, it’s important to invest in and create high quality, original visual content and get it to go viral on social networks.
Optimizing Your Videos
Hopefully now you have a better understanding of why visual content is so important to your content marketing strategy and how it can boost your site’s search ranking. Now, we’ll take a more in-depth look at how to target your video content for search and how you can get the most out of your investment.
Video content is the most engaging and effective type of content in a marketer’s arsenal, but that doesn’t mean that all videos are created equal, especially in the eyes of search engines. To earn a spot at the top of the SERPs, you need to remember these four main factors:
Quality Matters—Quality, content, and engagement matter to search engines! You shouldn’t expect to benefit from video content if it doesn’t benefit your audience. It’s important to remember that people are your target market, and that the search engine’s main goal is to provide value to people. Both YouTube and Google look at how users interact with your videos and use that data to gauge community interest, brand authority, relevance, and ultimately your search ranking. So, earning likes and comments isn’t just about building a loyal following, it also influences your SEO results. If your goal is to find your brand or blog atop Google’s search results, you need to focus on the quality of your video and create content that inspires real engagement.
Keywords are Important—Just like any other type of content, video optimization starts with keyword research. You need to know what your target market is looking for, what they’re interested in, and how they’re searching for it. Then, you need to create content that answers those specific queries. When you’re doing your keyword research it’s important to remember that informational videos will typically generate better engagement and search rankings than other types of videos, especially ones that are focused on product placement or hard sells.
Keyword Location is also Key—If you want Google to find your videos you need to put your keywords where Google can find them. Search spiders can’t watch your video, so they determine the relevance of your content based on the words that are in the video’s transcript, Meta information, captions, surrounding text, and the HTML. So where exactly should you place your keywords? Make sure to use your keyword phrase early on in your titles and descriptions, and even include it in the name of the raw file. It’s also effective to make sure that you verbally say your keyword in your video so that it is noted in the transcript or caption file. Strategically writing a script should make this easy to do as long as you know your keyword or phrase early on in the creation process.
Integrating Images into Your Content Strategy
We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on videos and how to optimize them for search, so now it’s time to focus specifically on photos and other types of images. Photos and graphics are incredibly important to a content marketing strategy because they enable you to tell a powerful story without the use of words—as the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
It’s important to choose photos carefully and make sure the images you share can be tied in with your business objectives and represent your brand appropriately. When done well, posting branded photos can help put you in front of larger audiences, boost brand loyalty, link people back to your website, and help build long-term relationships.
Images are a great story-telling tool that can be an invaluable asset in promoting your brand and its message. Here are a few key ways that photos can help you tell your story:
- Show people using your product.
- Help people visualize your message.
- Increase brand awareness by adding your company’s logo or watermark.
- Show your social side with images from networking events and office parties.
Using images as part of your content strategy can be extremely effective, but only when it’s done strategically. Here are some things to consider before using photos as part of a content marketing campaign:
- Why are you sharing the image? Does it support your overall business objectives?
- What story are you telling with the image? Is it appropriate/does it support your brand identity?
- Are there people in the photo? Viewers tend to be drawn more to photos that depict other people.
- Is the photo easy to share with easily accessible social share buttons? Will people be inspired to share it with their own networks?
These are all important things to think about before selecting a photo for your campaign and you should take the time to ensure that each image is promoting your brand in a positive way.
Promote Your Photos Effectively
Photos are incredibly effective at driving user engagement and generating social shares. People are much more likely to share your photo content on their social networks, so you should take the time to learn how to effectively promote your photos to get the most value out of each and every “like” and share. Here are some tips to help you promote your photos effectively:
- Share Quality Photos: Just like videos, not every photo is created equally and you need to take the time to find and share the best quality photos you can. Keep in mind that if you depict someone or something in a positive light that they’re likely to share it and put your content in front on their network, helping extend your reach. Always make sure that your photos are clear and representative of your brand.
- Be Timely: As a marketer, you should constantly follow trends and share the most current content, and that includes your photos. If you’re sharing photos that you’ve taken at an event, make sure to get them up right away while it’s fresh in peoples’ minds. If you’re sharing photos from others, make sure that they’re new and focused on a timely topic.
- Share Group Photos: A great way to generate more engagement on your photos is to share photos of groups of people, companies, products, etc. When one person is tagged, or one company shares your photo, others are likely to join in and help spread your content further and further.
- Tag Key People: If you’re interested in gaining more traction on social media, be sure to tag key people in your photos. Whether they’re customers, companies, or key people who are in the photo, tagging people is a great way to draw attention to you content and encourage others to share it.
- Always Watermark: Sharing images on social networks is great for generating traffic, but if you don’t watermark your images, you could be losing out on quality opportunities for brand exposure. For example, somebody shared your photo from your page and it’s not watermarked. Their audience may see your photo but won’t know where it’s from or who shared it originally, costing you a valuable chance to get your brand in front of new potential customers. Anytime you share an original photo or image, make sure to stamp your brand name on it so anybody who comes across it will know where it’s from.
Photos and video content are becoming increasingly important on social networks and to search engines. As the Internet continues to evolve, visual content will continue to play an increasingly larger role in our online experience. It’s important that marketers invest in various forms of visual content production and understand the best practices for promoting it across a variety of platforms.