Content marketing has exploded over the past decade and for a good reason — 70% of those using the internet prefer to learn about products and services via content rather than traditional advertising methods.
While text-based content still plays a vital role in search engine optimization (SEO), many consumers don’t have a preference for 3,000-word articles or white papers. Google may love long-form content, but people are developing shorter and shorter attention spans.
Consumers want valuable, informative content that’s quick and easy to digest. More so, they want an experience.
This is where visual storytelling can come to the rescue. When compared to regular text-based content, visual storytelling conveys a greater amount of knowledge and information in less time
Statistics show 40% of people respond better to visual information, and science shows the human brain has a higher preference for images than text-based content, and it processes these images 60,000 times faster than words.
A study conducted by Origin, a market research company, reveals the true power of storytelling. Products featured with a story from their creator or artist had a higher perceived value than the same product listings without stories. But storytelling doesn’t end with words. When you combine storytelling with visual aspects, the results are phenomenal.
Mind-Blowing Visual Content Stats
- Stories with images garner 650% more engagement than stories without a visual aspect.
- Stories delivered in video format get three times more links than those without videos.
- Consumers are 85% more likely to purchase your product after watching a video featuring it.
By 2021, it is predicted 82% of all online traffic will be driven by video content. Marketers have a prime opportunity to curate engaging narratives. The era of visual storytelling is upon us and deploying technology that allows marketers to curate and publish high-quality video content on a cross-platform basis will pay dividends, but failing to start now can be detrimental to a company’s success.
Visual storytelling adds value to products and services. It engages the reader and takes them on a journey that moves them to make a purchase. The director of research at Origin says, “Stories move not only people, but they also move product.”
Visual storytelling goes far beyond ego-centric branding. It helps you rise above your competitors by conveying your values, morals, and mission. It allows you to connect with consumers on an emotional level, moving them to trust your brand — not only now but in the future. Consumers find a deep relation in the stories being told and they come back, again and again, to keep the story going.
Here are 4 ways to incorporate visual storytelling into your content marketing strategy:
1. It Starts With Images
When posting short- or long-form content, break up the text with relevant images, screenshots, charts, or graphics. It makes the text easier to scan and digest. It also hooks the attention of your readers, especially when an image is used at the very beginning of the content.
Ideally, you’ll include images throughout the entire piece of content to infect the viewer’s vision and mind. Buzzsumo says content pieces with an image placed once every 75 to 100 words will garner twice the number of shares than content pieces with fewer images.
2. Infographics Are Visually Pleasing
Writer and designer David McCandless says,
“There’s something almost quite magical about visual information. It’s effortless. It literally pours in. If you’re navigating a dense information jungle, coming across a beautiful graphic or lovely data visualization is a relief. It’s like coming across a clearing in the jungle.”
Data visualization is used in infographics, which aims to convert information and data into charts or visual stories, to create easily digestible content.
When used correctly, infographics are the key to taking your content marketing viral. They serve as a form of visual shorthand that incorporates colors, texts, graphics, and design elements to convey a massive amount of information in a small amount of space.
Click here to see an example of a wordy report that has been made into an easy to understand infographic.
It’s important to note, however, that “an infographic is not [specifically] a chart or a collection of graphs – it tells a story in a visual manner that makes difficult topics easier to digest for readers.”
From a content marketer’s point of view, infographics are exceptionally helpful when showing statistics or research data, and they easily allow pertinent data or brand information to be conveyed to the reader.
3. GIFs Are Fun and Enjoyable
A quick scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed will almost always turn up a GIF. Although they are commonly used in reference to a movie, TV show, or celebrity, a GIF made out of your brand’s logo or slogan can optimize the effects of visual storytelling.
Content marketers will definitely benefit from using GIFs in email campaigns. Dressed Up!, an evening wear business based out of Los Angeles, enjoyed a 26% increase in their email click-through rate when using GIFs.
GIFs are known as snackable content. Their animated charm entices readers to share them, which is remarkably beneficial for expanding brand awareness. And since they can be made out of video clips, drawings, etc., they can easily be incorporated into storytelling to add both character and enchantment.
4. Video: The Ultimate Storyteller
Video is by far the most effective and powerful mechanism for visual storytelling, especially when you measure its success and promote it appropriately. It allows you to provide viewers with a first-person perspective of the message being conveyed while showing them an angle of the story that entices them to trust your brand.
Video comes with three key advantages for storytelling:
- Allows you to surprise the viewer
- Adds knowledge to what they already know
- Increases engagement as the story unfolds
Today’s advanced video production platforms and editing techniques allow you to carefully narrate and alter the video to increase emotional appeal and add interesting twists. Music and sounds add depth and realism to video, both of which elicit an emotional response.
How does this happen?
It occurs because of emotional contagion, which is the ability to influence a person’s emotions and behaviors. In your case, it’s the ability to directly influence your viewers’ emotions through video; therefore, swaying them to engage with your brand.
According to a Levels Beyond Survey, “Consumers consider brand video the preferred way for marketers to share information as it creates true engagement and builds brand loyalty.”
Check out Forbes’ Seven Rules of Effective Video Storytelling to learn about creating videos that move your audience to contact your brand.
And check out this article to learn how to bring your video creation in-house.
When you pair engaging content with the right format, you engage consumers in a way that can’t be achieved with text-based content. Video and images are a goldmine for communicating emotion and depth. Whatever your story may be, it’s time to share it, and it starts visual content.