Usually when we think of content marketing, we think of writing content. After all, content such as blogs, whitepapers, guides, landing pages, email nurtures, and checklists rule the digital marketing world. But while the copy is important for those elements, engaging content is more than just clever wordplay. Visual content marketing is a huge piece of the puzzle. After all, a bad template or subpar image can ruin your amazing copy. This blog post will examine what key elements set good visual content apart from the bad.
Everything needs a good template
Your landing pages, blogs, white papers, and emails all need eye-catching templates. And those templates need to have variation built-in. That is, you can use the same structure but change up the images or colors. Or, you might have a few different structures you choose from, but always keep the same colors and imagery.
So what makes a good template? First and foremost, it needs to be clean and legible. That means lots of white space (our eyes hate clutter!). The font can’t be small and hard to read, and you need to use one font (or variations on one font) in a single asset.
Don’t get experimental with your templates. Draw on existing examples that competitors, partners, or industry leaders use for inspiration. The last thing you want is for a prospect to not understand your content because the format is so unlike anything they’ve seen before.
Pleasing color schemes
This means different things to different people, but in general a pleasing color scheme is one that uses complementary colors. Not all of us are great at determining what colors pair well with others. I’ve even left the house in some questionable outfits (matching is hard).
Luckily, tools like Colormind make it easy to create new color palettes. Generate randomized color palettes, or start with a single color you know you like and find complementary colors from there.
This technique is perfect for companies that need to determine website color schemes based around their existing company logo. For instance, here is what Colormind recommends when I enter DemandZEN’s logo colors:
If you’re good at pairing colors (and probably better at dressing yourself than I am), just make sure to choose colors that are easy on the eyes. It’s OK to have a bright color in your color scheme, but they can’t all be bright colors. Bright blue, neon yellow, and hot pink should not be found in the same place.
Display ads that pop
Ever see an ad that you think looks “dated”? Either it seems like it was from the 90s, or the only explanation is that it must be from the 90s. Don’t leave prospects thinking you don’t understand visual content marketing in 2018! It might make them think that your solution isn’t suitable for this decade.
Take a look at what ads are out there right now. What fits best with your organization’s aesthetic? If your organization’s aesthetic fits best with a magazine ad from the ‘90s, rethink your branding as a whole!
Here are a few visual ad tips:
- Have an eBook? Turn the cover into a book image so prospects immediately understand what they’re getting.
- Make your CTA a different color than the rest of your ad so it stands out.
- Use light text on dark backgrounds, and dark text on light backgrounds. This may sound obvious, but it happens more than you think!
- Don’t overthink it. You don’t need to find perfect stock photos. Sometimes the perfect image is a variation of your website header image. This is also ideal for creating a consistent brand image.
Using infographics to your advantage
One way to step up your blogging game is to rely on stellar infographics. This is not only an additional pull for readers to check out your awesome written content, but it’s something you can reuse in so many places. With a great infographic, you can break it up into chunks and use it across social networks, emails, and in your paid advertising. If you have an exceptionally intricate, well-researched infographic, you can even gate your infographic.
But what makes a good infographic? Here’s a checklist you should refer to when you’re reviewing one of your infographics:
- Comprehensive, but clean (don’t make it busy!)
- Numbers are big, and words are minimal
- Use icons to your advantage to reduce words on the page
- Don’t make it too long (you don’t want to be scrolling forever to get to the end)
- Include necessary research citations at the end, not throughout
- Don’t overdo it with the color choices—stick to just a few
Get a second opinion
The most important thing to keep in mind when thinking of the visual side of content marketing is to ask your peers what they think. Written content needs to be edited for typos and grammatical mistakes. Visual content needs to be reviewed to ensure your content is as easy to read and attractive as you think it is.
Sometimes we spend so long with our content, we can’t be true critics of it. Ask your peers to be honest, and not just pat you on the back. You don’t want to share subpar content that everyone is just fine with sharing. You want to make it perfect and be excited about sharing it with the world.
Now that you’ve got visual content marketing down, it’s time to get to work! Check out our previous blog post if you still need help with content seo best practices.