6 Awesome Hacks for Your Visual Content Production
You know visual content is critical, so why are your designs still last-minute? Let’s change that. Discover 6 tips to scale & improve your content production.
Table of Contents
Marketers usually appreciate the importance of visual content but still find themselves with last-minute graphics. Get ahead of your competitors and learn how to scale up your visual content production with our easy tips.
Long gone are the days when stuffing a web page with keywords was enough to get it high up in search engine results. Modern digital marketing is all about quality content, which, naturally, includes graphics.
We’ll first answer key questions such as “what is visual content” and how you can use it in your marketing strategy. If you’d like a short refresher course, make sure you read the first two sections.
Alternatively, skip to the last part, where we discuss some actionable tips for scaling up your visual content production.
What is visual content?
When we think of “marketing visuals,” the first thing that comes to mind is ad design. But while stunning visuals are critical for raising click-through rates, graphic design is perhaps even more important for content marketing.
Any type of online content that is primarily visual is considered visual content. Simple enough, right? So, what exactly is the importance of visual content?
Well, for starters, 90% of marketers agree that visuals are essential to their marketing strategy. More importantly, people remember visual information much better: we retain only about 10% of what we hear, compared to 65% of the information presented in both visual and text form.
Custom social media imagery is just as important. Hootsuite found that a staggering 90% of brands aim to build brand awareness through social media, so branded social graphics are a must.
But there’s a difference between custom visual content and stock photos. While 40.8% of marketers agree that custom graphics have helped them reach their goals, only 8.9% said the same about stock photos.
So, visual content marketing is much more than adding a few graphics to a lengthy blog post. Let’s go over some ideas on how to do it right.
How to use visual content?
The first step in solving your visual content crisis is getting ideas on where and how to use visual content for maximum effect.
Our online attention span is at an all-time low. People only read about 20-28% of a web page and spend only about 37 seconds reading a blog article. So there’s no way you can wow your audience with words alone.
However, the best blog graphics bring added value to the written content. Here are a few ideas for captivating blog visuals:
- a summary of the article’s key points.
- an illustration that provides context.
- an explanation of a process (infographic).
- charts, graphs, and comparison tables.
- an insightful quote.
Since users notice visuals immediately, they should be a way to get their attention and entice them to keep reading. Remember that the longer visitors stay on your page, the lower your bounce rates will be, which will positively impact your SEO!
Of course, don’t forget that the importance of visual content goes beyond user experience. A high-quality piece of visual content will also have SEO value, as search engines might recognize it as an informative and valuable asset.
Here’s a simple flowchart we’ve created to help people choose the best outsourcing option. The design is straightforward, and it took very little time to create.
Quick hack on getting amazing illustrations? Browse our free illustration gallery with thousands of free designs, downloadable in PNG and editable SVG format.
However, since it’s also useful and informative, it’s one of the top Google image results when you search for the term “design outsourcing options”.
Videos are the hottest trend in marketing right now. An overwhelming majority of marketers claim videos have helped increase leads, sales, and understanding of their products. Video ads increase conversions by a staggering 86%.
However, videos shouldn’t be a part of ad campaigns alone. Videos are a perfect way to bring your product closer to your audience and get them interested in your brand. Here are some terrific video content ideas you might consider:
- explainer videos for new features/products;
- video infographics;
- customer testimonials;
Of course, don’t forget that filming people will require professional recording equipment. So if this doesn’t fit your budget, you can always make stunning graphic videos instead.
Here’s a video we’ve created to help prospective clients understand the benefits of using our service. It’s short, informative, and required no fancy recording equipment: just our team of skilled designers!
Do you know that infographics are the 4th most used type of content marketing? And for a good reason! Infographics provide a lot of informational value in a condensed format. In fact, some studies suggest infographics are 30 times more likely to be read entirely than blog posts.
Moreover, if you already have the research, infographics don’t necessarily take much time to produce. They can also be a tremendous addition to your website and improve the user experience significantly.
Here are a few awesome infographic ideas for your visual content strategy.
- Surveys: Run a social media or email survey and share the results with your audience.
- Trends/news: Everyone likes to stay informed about them, but nobody likes reading lengthy articles, so this digestible format is perfect.
- In-house data: Are you an expert in your field? Share your tips and insights in stunning infographics, and you’ll surely get lots of shares and engagement.
- Existing content: Repurposing is the golden principle for effective content marketing. Transform your long-form content into infographics to make full use of your research and writing efforts.
Presentations & ebooks
If you know a thing or two about content creation, then perhaps you’ve realized something. It’s not that people don’t want to learn online - they simply want the
Presentations are a brilliant way to share knowledge and expertise and engage your audience. You might use them in a webinar or as a lead magnet.
If you want to get creative with presentations, you can also turn them into short ebooks. Many businesses use this tactic for end-of-year reviews or as a way to turn their value proposition into a downloadable lead magnet.
You may or may not have thought of them in your visual content planning. Still, illustrations are a brilliant substitute for boring stock photos. They are incredibly versatile and come in many different styles, such as pencil, isometric, flatline, etc. So, it’s virtually impossible not to find something that would fit your brand and style.
They work equally well as a small addition to a design (e.g., social media posts) and on their own to create visual interest.
Tips for a smooth visual content production
Are you flowing with quality visual content ideas already? Excellent! Now it’s time to tackle that really big problem many marketers face: creating visuals with limited time and resources.
Luckily, as a design company that helps numerous marketing teams with visual creation daily, we can share a few golden tips for overcoming your team’s problems.
1. Define your plan and KPIs.
You might suspect there’s no visual content marketing strategy without, well… strategizing. As we’ve demonstrated before, visuals are much more than an accompaniment to the text. That’s why visual content should never be an afterthought but integral to your entire content marketing strategy.
Once you define what kind of blog/social media posts or newsletters you will have, you should also create a list of designs you might need.
In connection with that, you should also define your key performance indicators or metrics. Whether it’s leads, website visitors, or social engagement, remember that visuals work together with text to help you achieve those goals.
2. Set up a workflow
The problem with last-minute graphics? Not only do they look sloppy, but they can also take up loads of time. Suppose the rest of your design team is engaged elsewhere. In that case, you (marketing manager, content writer, or the like) might find yourself struggling with last-minute graphics. And if you’re anything like me, although you understand what makes good design perfectly, you just can’t do it yourself.
Avoid this pitfall by creating a design workflow. Graphic design should be and, probably, is a part of your day-to-day. Whether a Kanban board or daily meetings, ensure your design team provides you with regular updates on their work.
Our designers at ManyPixels give clients an ETA at the start of each working day. We find this kind of consistency helps to keep the design process smooth and helps our clients always stay on top of deadlines.
3. Use metrics in the review process.
There are few things a designer hates more than the sentence “I don’t like it.” And that’s not because they’re particularly protective of their work or dismissive of other people’s opinions. The reason is that saying we don’t like something doesn’t give the designer a lot to work with as they approach revisions.
The importance of visual content is immeasurable. The impact of visual content - not so much.
As we’ve established earlier, your visual content should correspond to performance metrics. After you’ve gotten the initial visuals back, test them and see how they perform. Of course, these graphics can’t be isolated from the content around them. However, these metrics could also point out issues other than design. For example, if the same design is performing well on one social media channel but badly on another, you might need to adapt your social media strategy a bit.
4. Create templates.
You’ll often hear us slam ready-made design templates that make everyone’s visual content look the same. But, when done well, templates can be a tremendous help for your visual content marketing strategy.
Social media posts and stories are a fantastic thing to have in your kit. Still, another place where templates are extremely valuable is your blog.
If you’re serious about your blogging and SEO strategy, you probably produce plenty of articles regularly. Creating custom covers and blog graphics for each would require an enormous design team.
We faced a similar challenge during the early beginnings of our blogging efforts. Not only was the task time-consuming for our dedicated in-house marketing designer, but it also didn’t provide our blog with a consistent, branded look.
Nowadays, we’re using a combination of templates and stock photos, which our designer adapts to something custom and eye-catching. We’ve minimized the production time significantly, and achieved a look that matches our brand.
5. Keep all communication in one place.
Slack changed the game of professional communication, yet many creative teams still struggle to keep track of everything going on.
This issue can be particularly detrimental to design, as it’s usually a joint collaboration with several stakeholders.
So, before you know it, you have the content writer looking to change the copy; the marketer claiming the design doesn’t reflect the brand image, and the frustrated project manager having to change the plan.
Want to avoid that? Make sure everybody stays in the loop at all times. You might want to create a Slack channel dedicated exclusively to design (we find it works perfectly with our Dedicated Designer plan. You can even have several channels, such as social media design or blog design if you have several designers working on different projects.
6. Focus on your strengths, outsource your weaknesses.
After all is said and done, there’s no better piece of advice we can give. Many creative teams struggle with their visual content production precisely because they insist on doing something outside their area of expertise.
Collaboration with freelancers works out beautifully until your chosen designer becomes unavailable or costs start racking up on a per-project basis.
So, why is it that so many businesses still outsource their design? Many of them have discovered the superior outsourcing solution: unlimited design service.
How does it work? You can request as many designs as you want at a flat monthly rate. Unlimited revisions are also included at no extra cost.
Our service at ManyPixels helps numerous agencies with their visual content marketing, either as an addition to their team or as the sole provider of different types of visuals. Our extensive design services list covers all the essentials, such as social media graphics, ads, blog graphics, infographics, and illustrations, as well as more complex requests, such as animation (GIFs) and photo editing.
Interested in taking your visual content marketing to the next level? Sign up today and make your visual content production seamless!
Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.