When websites and blogs struggle to generate value from the content they publish, it can be difficult to identify the reasons. However, just as any good doctor does when a patient exhibits symptoms of being unhealthy, it’s essential for you to study the signs and identify the root causes of your shortcomings.
While there may be dozens of potential factors in play, many brands have discovered that their content suffers due to the lack of high-quality visuals. Could this also be your problem?
Here’s How To Improve Your Content
When the content isn’t producing a tangible return, the first thing a company generally does is replace its writers and/or change the messaging. Sometimes these tactics work, but rarely do they produce sustained change or long-term improvements.
If your content is struggling, you probably need to modernize your approach and include more visuals. Here are a few specific moves to think about:
Use Original Imagery
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s true, then you need to be investing more time and effort into producing quality imagery that complements your brand’s storytelling efforts.
To get a sense of how effective imagery can be, examine this page from Sixthreezero, a leading bicycle lifestyle brand. Instead of inserting lists of various information about their Journey Club, the page uses high-quality, original imagery to paint a picture of what it is and how it works.
Notice how few words actually appear on the page, yet you probably don’t find yourself confused or looking for answers. Somehow, the images do an adequate job of painting the picture.
That’s the value of original imagery and the role it can play in brand storytelling.
‘Remarkable content levels the playing field.’
Ditch the Stock Photos
When you tell some brands that their visual content strategy is lacking, they’ll respond with something like, “But we use lots of pictures!” This might be true, but the fact is that they’re almost always cold, lifeless stock photos.
If you remember only one thing from this article, it should be this: Never use a stock photo. “It falls into two camps: excruciatingly cheesy lifestyle photography or dull, stupid graphics,” marketer Jack Simpson says, when he talks about the dangers of stock photos. “Sometimes the two are combined for extra awfulness.”
Transform Data into Visualizations
If your business is like most, you’re probably drowning in data. This is one of the results of an increase in big data and analytics-related tools in the marketplace.
Unfortunately, you may not know what to do with all of this data (most of us don’t), so you simply publish it all, in charts, tables, and blog posts. Stop doing that!
The only way to make data useful is by turning it into visualizations that your audience can readily understand and will want to share. For a solid example of how powerful a well-designed piece of data visualization can be, check out this interactive piece of content from Column Five Media.
Note how immersive it is, then think about how boring the information would be if it were merely compiled in a spreadsheet and posted on a blog.
‘Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life. It can add value by making them smarter, making them laugh, making them do their job better, rush to their child to share the video, make a contribution to a charity.’
In 2016, it’s hard to claim you’re serious about content marketing if you aren’t integrating video into your presentations. There are plenty of opportunities to leverage this powerful medium, including traditional broadcast media, YouTube videos, live streaming social media, webinars, and more.
Give your content the boost it deserves by experimenting with some of these options.
Suffer No More … Invest in Visual Content
To be fair, there’s no “one size fits all” solution for a struggling content marketing strategy, but it’s fairly clear that visual content is often the missing ingredient for success. If your content strategy isn’t producing the tangible return you desire, then it may be time to invest in more visuals.