Today’s consumer is engaging with primarily visual content across a variety of devices and social channels on a daily basis. Due to this shift from text-based to image-based communications, it is proven that multimedia content experiences a greater amount of exposure and longer shelf-life among audiences, making visual storytelling more imperative for brands than ever before. Business Development Institute and PR Newswire recently co-hosted the “Visual Content Marketing and Communications Summit” which offered valuable best practices for how organizations can harness images, videos, and platforms to provide content that allows them to build, engage, and leverage their audiences.
Find the balance between content your audience is interested in while mapping to your business objectives.
“Your content must grab your audience’s attention and offer them a clear path to your brand,” says PR Newswire’s Chief Executive Officer, Ninan Chacko, “there is always an opportunity to link to more in-depth content, so don’t worry about getting the ‘war and peace’ version into the first teaser.” A coordinated approach such as an editorial calendar can ensure that your organization is sending out a steady stream of fresh content that does not overwhelm the audience with information. For example, a video can be curated into an infographic, which can be shared in a blog post, and distributed via press release and social media. Using a mix of content and distribution channels will ensure that your message reaches the greatest potential audience that returns the leads to help you meet your business goals.
Surprise and delight your audience with images that represent your brand
General Electric’s Global Manager of Digital Marketing, Katrina Craigwell, notes that driving interest among the next generation of shareholders is a top priority within her company’s content strategy. As an innovator in science and technology, GE targeted enthusiasts with similar interests by sharing a video of a short science experiment on Twitter’s Vine app using the hashtag #6secondscience. The response around this post was so powerful that the company was able to launch a full blown #6secondscience social media campaign that creates and curates user-generated Vines capturing the miracles of science. Its element of surprise is what drove visibility and engagement for the GE brand.
Curalate’s SVP of Brand Strategy, Deb Berman, advises content creators that even if your business isn’t selling a tangible product or service, think about your business goals, who you’re trying to reach, and what they would care about. From there, push yourself to derive images, even if they are abstract, that speak to your brand voice and also surprise and delight audiences.
Capitalize on SEO and business intelligence opportunities by observing social media interactions
Over 1 billion images are shared across all social media channels daily, presenting a major opportunity for brands to learn what their fans are interested in. Trending hashtags and content tagging on image driven platforms like Pinterest and Instagram is an important indicator of how consumers are searching for and categorizing similar products, which you can use to your advantage in marketing campaigns that drive SEO. Compare the images that are most popular against the ones that are not and make note of the slight nuances that audiences seem to appreciate. “You don’t necessarily need to know why, you just need to know what is performing better and make sure it is shared,” Berman states frankly. Additionally, leveraging user generated content is a cost effective approach to marketing that directly engages your brand ambassadors.
Establish a brand experience that is identifiable without your logo
“A logo shows ownership – but everyone has a logo. What are you doing to differentiate yourself beyond the logo?” says Jessica Lauria, director of brand communications at Chobani. Content that is branding heavy overpowers your message and makes it less shareable to a wide audience. Also, if you’re sharing content on owned social channels, then people already know it’s coming from you. Use that opportunity to elevate the conversation and show people what they don’t know about your product or service without overt branding.
Build a narrative around your images that will be memorable to your audience
According to Matt Peters, founder and creative director at Pandemic Labs, “Visuals make an impact. Visuals with stories make memories.” Therefore, if the story comes first, not all of the visual content you create has to be of the highest production value in order for it to resonate. For example, the Ritz Carlton used Instagram to tell the story of a stuffed giraffe that got lost on a family vacation, which strayed from the usual hi-res images of luxury getaways that audiences might normally associate with their brand, but told a memorable story that others would want to share.
“By using multimedia, you’re creating the best content in context experience” states Chacko, “think about how you want to visualize as you are creating your message.” Employing visuals in your content marketing strategy feeds your audience with the content that they crave on a daily basis and cements your brand’s longevity in an increasingly competitive market.
Author Shannon Ramlochan is PR Newswire’s Content Marketing Coordinator. Follow her on Twitter @sramloch.