Researchers have found that 90% of information transmitted to the human brain is visual, and that visuals are processed many times faster than text.
In other words, visuals are really, really, really important for content marketers. Often when a consumer is skimming through a feed, or being served related content, it is the initial image/graphic which decides whether they click-through or not.
So what makes a visual effective? Here are a three tips that tend to work across all sorts of images and graphics:
1. Be bold rather than safe
The most important thing when it comes to visuals is to stand out. Audiences have become used to seeing the same stock photos over and over, so invest in creating visuals that feel fresh
Example: On its social accounts and other platforms, GE does an excellent job of making difficult topics – engineering, industrial products, science, etc. – interesting and accessible via compelling, original, visuals.
2. Present something unexpected
One way to stand out from other brands with your visuals is to present subjects and situations that make viewers do a double-take on the image. Often this can be accomplished by simply shifting perspective or presenting a subject that isn’t completely recognizable at first glance.
Example: In a recent interview with Content Marketing All-Stars, the marketers behind HP Matter, the company’s digital magazine, told us that this image below has sparked more engagement than any other. Why? Because consumers found it beautiful and also wanted to know what it was of.
3. Craft and crop like a professional
In the age of iPhones and Instagram all of us think we are visual content experts. While it’s true that these technologies and tools have democratized the medium, it is still important to view the creation of visuals as a hard-learned craft. There are a host of things – from the psychology of color to the rules of composition – that go into making images and graphics stand out.
Example: There’s a reason Red Bull consistently gets cited as one of the best brands at digital marketing. The company treats its visuals with respect, investing the time and money needed to get exceptional pieces of content.