The Art of Imagery: Why Visual Storytelling is So Powerful
Since the dawn of time, we have been using imagery to tell great stories. Just think about the caveman and his use of cave drawings to relate what was going on in daily life…hunting, protecting his family, discovering fire and other aspects of life. Fast forward to now; Imagery is more important than ever and we have an unprecedented amount of multimedia to tell our stories in a much more impactful way.
Content marketing is all about telling a compelling story.”
— Joe Pulizzi, Founder – Content Marketing Institute
I am a great fan of the art of imagery in visual storytelling. I think it brings your content to life and adds another dimension for your audience. And based on the statistics, it’s clearly an essential component for your online success. In this blog, I am going to share with you some advice on creating a visual content marketing strategy that will really connect you to your audience in a powerful way.
By the Numbers – Why Visual Storytelling is so Powerful
- Think about this for a moment, 27,000,000 million pieces of content are shared every single day online.
- Did you know that according to HubSpot, your content can generate up to 94% more views if it includes relevant images.
- Our brains actually process pictures 60,000 faster than text.
- 78% of consumers feel that a quality image of a product affects their decision to buy.
- Visitors to sites that show pictures of real people versus staged models are twice as likely to become customers.
- It’s a proven fact that bounce rates are less for landing pages with pictures.
These are some pretty staggering statistics when you think about it. I think that answers the question of why visual storytelling is so powerful and has such great impact.
Here are Some Thought Starters
When choosing the right pictures for your blog posts, ask yourself the following…
- Does my imagery reflect my audience?
- Can they relate to it?
- Is this imagery adding anything to the story that I’m telling?
- Is it understood in the proper context?
The next step in the process is to do some testing…
- What of my blogs or pages were visited the most?
- Which delivered the most clicks and shares?
- Is there a pattern emerging that can help guide my strategy going forward?
It strikes me that we are all on major digital overload and it’s getting tougher and tougher to capture your reader’s attention. I know from my own experience, I need more than just words to get engaged. I practically need to have pictures hit me on a visceral level for me to care.
The user of today wants more of a multimedia and interactive experience in terms of content. This trend will continue to evolve over the next few 5 years.
Below are the Top 10 Best Practices in Visual Storytelling
1. Try to use a variety of types of images in your content, such as charts, infographics, pictures, screen shots, videos, etc…the more variety, the more engaging your content becomes.
2. Use a great featured image at the beginning of each blog.
3. I generally use a visual for every 350 words written.
4. Remember to place an alt tag on all your images, with a description. This really helps if a reader for some reason can’t see your pictures. It also is excellent for SEO purposes.
5. It’s always a good idea to compress your pictures so they won’t slow down the loading of your page or blog post. There is lots of great free compression software out there.
6. We live in a social world…make your social media more visual. This actually will dramatically increase the chances of it getting shared.
7. Have your fans send you content or pictures to use.
8. The imagery should tap into your reader’s emotions to make a stronger connection with them.
9. Re-task text and make it into a catchy visual.
10. Avoid using stock photography if possible because it feels staged versus real.
Some of My Favorite Visual Content Marketing Tools
Now I would like to share with you some excellent sites that offer very good free images. It’s important that you make sure the images you use are already in the public domain, which means that anyone can legally use that picture. Please check with each site to see what their specific rules are. In addition, if the images are high resolution, you may need to compress them so they don’t slow down your website.
- Offering over 490,000 high-quality photos, illustrations, and vector graphics, including video.
- No attribution required.
- All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Common Zero, which means you can use them for commercial purposes.
- No attribution required.
- Photos are stunning and creative
- This is one of my favorites because they have great “slice of life” pictures.
- Check out their Commons section…it offers wonderful pictures from world’s public photography archives.
- You can modify, copy and distribute the photos.
- No attribution required.
- Stunning imagery
- They have fascinating vintage photos from the public archive.
- It feels just like a wonder time capsule to me.
The use of imagery will continue to evolve into a more interactive and multi-media approach based on what our customer wants. Visual content is essential to your success online. If you have found some tools that you would like to share, please leave a comment below.
Thanks for stopping by!
Related Article: How to Deliver an Optimal User Experience: The 5 Golden Rules