A step-by-step guide to all the visual content you’ll need this year
We’re not going to call this a business resolution because — let’s be honest — do you really keep your resolutions? Your marketing goals are way too important to leave in the hands of a fickle resolution. Instead, here is your complete Visual Content Action Plan.
This plan is designed to lay out all the different types of visual content you’ll need for your marketing efforts in 2018, in order of highest to lowest importance. Like a list you can check as your budget allows you to, consider this your pocket guide to all the visual elements you’ll need for marketing in 2018.
Why Do I Need Visual Content?
We live in a visual world! Today, consumer decisions are heavily influenced by what they can, or can’t, see on the internet and social media. And visual content is the first thing the brain recognizes when viewing your digital branding and advertising. In fact, our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, according to Web Marketing Group. So consider your visual content to be your business’ first impression on the digital world.
Better yet, people retain 80% of visual content, as compared to 20% of written content. Not only are visuals the first thing your audience sees, but they’re also the last thing your audience will remember.
As they say, you only get one first impression, and in today’s saturated digital market, you better make it count.
What Is A Visual Content Action Plan?
At the start of each year, we work hard on grand marketing plans, complex strategies and detailed calendars that are going to make our businesses explode with success and allow us to take over the world. What we forget, however, is that we need the materials, or content, to put these plans into action. Sure, a well-documented Content Marketing Strategy with deadlines and Marketing Personas is killer. But when you’re finally ready to publish that first blog, where are you going to get the pictures to promote it?
That’s where your Action Plan comes into play.
Visual content is your inventory — of images, videos, ads, graphics, infographics, memes, presentations, logos, etc. — that represents you, your business and your brand.
A Visual Marketing Action Plan is a step-by-step guide to building your inventory, so your advertising efforts are consistently branded across all platforms and throughout the year.
Without further adieu, here’s your 2018 Visual Content Action Plan.
There’s no use in having a massive library of visual content unless it’s organized enough to be useful. This may sound like a dreaded first step, but it’s also the kind of work you can easily delegate. Consider your available options, and dedicate the necessary resources to get this first step done. That way, you’ll know exactly what you need; you may not even need as much content as you anticipated! Here are a few tips to get organized:
- Start with your most important assets, and make them shareable. Collect your most commonly used logos, photos and graphics, and assemble them in a centralized location. “One-stop shops of branded assets — including high res and low res imagery, different formats and even predefined sizes for social media — can save massive time by cutting down requests to designers and creatives for reformatting tasks,” according to Flight by Canto.
- Determine an organizing structure that works. I suggest bringing in any team members who will be using your Content Library, so they can be part of this conversation. Together, decide how your assets should be organized, as well as who is responsible for organizing current and future assets.
- Add metadata. This step is becoming increasingly more important as search engine optimization strategies become more vital to your marketing efforts. Like blog entries, photos and graphics can be embedded with keywords when they’re uploaded to your website. Think of it as a trail of crumbs for Google to find you when customers go looking. Metadata also helps make your Library more searchable.
Begin Curating Your Visual Content Library.
Now that you’re organized, it’s time to shift your focus to building your library.
Start with your most professional visual content, then add candid material from there — this is crucial.
To establish an intentional and credible brand, head for the professionals. Selfies and Facebook Live are great avenues to add relatability to a well-established brand, but if it’s the only visual content your audience sees, it will detract from your credibility. Even if your target market is a casual, organic-marketing kind of bunch, opt for professional video and use a casual tone with subtle messaging.
Why? No one likes “organic” content if it’s poorly executed, just the same as no one likes over-the-top, sales-driven content. People like authentic content, but that doesn’t mean it’s careless.
Consumers are spending more and more time researching the brands they patronize, and they can tell when content was produced thoughtfully, intentionally and professionally. Can’t you?
My guess is you didn’t start a business so you could become a marketing photography expert, so instead, find someone who did. A professional team of creative, visual storytellers can help you learn how to approach visual content. They can lead you, teach you and, most importantly, help you create effective, professional content.
Control Your First Impression With Business Marketing Photos.
Make sure your logo is in line with your brand, if you haven’t already, and then get ready to say cheese. Professional portraits and a few amazing headshots are vital. Let me repeat that: VITAL! Not only do they help connect your face and your brand in people’s minds, but they make you more inviting. It’s easier than you think to communicate the message you want in a photo. That is NOT an opportunity to miss out on.
People like faces, and they want to see yours. Let the people have what they want! Build a solid foundation of business photos with these essential elements:
- (1-3) Professional headshots
- (1-3) Group shots of your entire team
- (6-12) Portraits that showcase your location and products
Tell Your Story With Business Videos.
Once you’ve populated your digital spaces with professional business photos, business video will take credibility — and engagement — to the next level.
Viewers spend 100% more time on pages that contain video, according to MarketingSherpa, and they are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a video about it, according to Internet Retailer. As a bonus, it’s 50 times easier to get a video to rank on the first page of Google than other content, according to ragan.com.
It’s as simple as that: Be seen with video.
Build your business video foundation with these essential branding videos:
- (1) Greet visitors with a professional introduction on your Homepage
- (1+) Tell the story of your business on your About Page
- (3+) Showcase your top services
- (3+) Answer FAQs or correct misconceptions
- (3+) Share customer testimonials
Add Personality With Candids.
Now that you’ve established a professional foundation for your visual marketing, it’s time to add some candid content. Candid content is great to communicate the nuances of your brand or add a bit of personality and light-heartedness to break up your more substantive content. If you want to play, this is where you do it. Seasonal branding, sales and promotions also fall in this category. As a general rule, use candid content less often than your professional content, when possible. Here are a few places to start:
- (10+) A full set of headshots that communicates different emotions and covers a range of poses; these can be more playful or themed
- (5+) Candid and/or live videos for social media
- (5+) Seasonal and product-based ads for digital and/or print, depending on your needs
- (As needed) Social media visuals, such as: infographics, memes, quotes, data visualizations, etc.
Bottom Line: Your Visual Content Needs A Plan
While the sky’s the limit in visual content, a firm foundation is a necessary place to start. Keep your foundation professional, then layer on candid content through social media and other informal digital spaces. The face of your business will never look more appealing.
About SchlickArt, Your One-Stop Shop for Visual Content in Santa Clarita
SchlickArt, a boutique photo and video studio in Santa Clarita, started in March 2012 with the simple idea that empowerment creates a kind of beauty and authenticity that shines through every camera lens. Built on a philosophy — rather than a product, service or person — SchlickArt has rapidly evolved, meeting professional portraiture, business photo and business video needs as diverse as the community we capture. It’s the desire to take care of you, the client, that drives us at SchlickArt.