15 Ways to Improve Your Visual Marketing

“We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.” Brain Rules.

****Free, no-optin visual content strategy at the end of the post****

If you want to create memorable visual marketing content – start here!

Visuals are a powerful way to stop the social media scroll and gain the attention of your ideal readers and dream clients. These 15 visual marketing tips will help you increase your social shares and traffic with images. Leave a comment and let me know your visual marketing tips.

  1. Use the Principle of Repetition to Give Your Graphics Even More Impact

A love of repetition is hardwired into human DNA (that’s how we first learned how to learn). Just think of your three-year-old, wanting the same story, night after night. It isn’t the surprise ending that delights her so: It’s the same words, said in the same way. It’s the same scenario repeated multiple times (think “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”) we learn by repetition.

We carry that early imprinting over into adult life. That’s why audiences respond to repetition in movie memes; why we read what is basically the same cozy mystery plot told in seven different ways. Why we trust people we know more than people we don’t know.

Use that bit of basic psychology in your content marketing. Always include repeating graphic elements in the same spot—for example, a logo in your resource box; a cartoon ‘mascot’ for a particular newsletter column; the same template for your newsletter every month; the same graphics placement and size in your posts. It reassures your readers and keeps you memorable.

  1. Use Fonts to Reinforce Your Message

Take a tip from movie makers and book cover designers—use fonts to reinforce your message. For example, you will often see fantasy novel book covers with titles in ‘medieval’ or ‘Celtic’ fonts. Or you will see a movie title whose font and font effects reinforce both the actual meaning of the title and its mood.

In the example below, you can see how author Ava Manello uses a strong, edgy font like the wounded hero her book is named after.

  1. Remember ‘Less is More’

The ‘less is more’ principle is ESPECIALLY important for graphics most of your audience will view on mobiles. Too many elements in a picture detract from the message.

Check out Dale Darley’s Book Brand Business and see how “less is more” https://www.bookbrandbusiness.com/

Use graphic elements wisely. Once your visual has made its point—you’re done!

  1. Keep Your Slides Simple

If you are going to use slides during webinars, videos or seminar presentations, keep them simple. Only put a limited number of points on each slide—and give your audience time to assimilate the information.  Use lots of white space to emphasise the important information in your text. And do give your slide a heading that states, simply, what that particular slide is about.

Remember, the more complex the information, the less text there should be on each slide. You can find out more about presentations, slides and visuals from Dr. Simon Raybould.

  1. Make Sure Your Images are Relevant

For a graphic to be effective in your blog, it has to not only catch attention, it has to be relevant. It should repel people who won’t benefit from your message and speak emotionally to people who are your ideal reader.

You will increase your chances of achieving this if you ask yourself three questions before using any particular graphic:

  1. “Is this graphic the best one I could use to illustrate this point/post?”
  2. “Why is it the best graphic?”
  3. “Is there anything in this graphic that contradicts my message?”
  4. Try Placing Your Headlines UNDER your Graphic

Graphic designers and magazines such as Resource magazine know this trick: Putting a post headline UNDER the graphic that illustrates it.

Try it—and see if you notice an increase in conversions.

  1.  Do Your Own Photography—Learn How!

Do you have a smartphone? Then there’s nothing to stop you creating your own images. If you take your own photographs, get into the habit of reading photography books, blogs and print magazine—or take a digital photography course, so you can take your photographs from good to “WOW!”

This is a pic of two of my daughters. As you can see, I’m working on the wow stage :), and yes if it wasn’t PhotoShop, it would be my Middle Chick pushing the wrecking ball at her sisters.

  1. Use Images that Tell a Story

The most mesmerizing images are ones that tell a story. They make your reader wonder things like, “Why is he doing that? What’s going to happen next? What is she crying about?” (And make sure it’s the same story your text is telling!). When you do this you’ll have a tonne more engagement on your post and a lot of social shares!

  1. Use Images that Show What to Do

The only exception to the “tell a story” rule is an image that shows someone what you are talking about—literally. So if you are writing, “Click on the blue button under the ‘Finances’ tab” then a screenshot of a mouse clicking on that spot would be effective reinforcement for your reader’s learning process.

You can use a tool like Snagit to capture and save each step of the process.

  1. Add a ‘Pin it!’ Button to Your Own Original Images

If you provide original images on your blog, consider allowing people to pin these images to their Pinterest accounts without having to ask you for permission. Every time they use the ‘Pin it!’ button, you will end up getting the credit you deserve automatically on Pinterest.

  1. Keep Background Images Understated

Make sure they enhance your blog’s mood and message—but never, ever get in the way of your headlines and posts. They’re background images for a reason.

  1. Invest in Images that Trigger Emotions

Nothing will make your blog post more irresistible to your ideal reader than an image that triggers the correct emotion. So don’t be afraid to use highly-charged photographs … and do remember that positive emotions trigger more shares than negative ones.

  1. Don’t Use the First Image You See

When choosing images from a stock site, don’t go for the first image you find—especially if you have actually seen the image before on someone else’s site. Keep searching until you find the perfect image and then edit it on Canva to make it truly your own.

Overused stock images can actually detract from your blog’s value, making you seem slick, insincere and ‘the same as all those others’.

  1. Consider Using a Video Header Theme

Instead of having a static photo for your blog cover photo, consider a repeating-loop video in your header area instead. Choose one that creates a positive feeling and tells a story—one that’s emotionally relevant to your blog focus, your brand and your ideal reader/viewer.

I love the unique spin Simona Frumen has on the video header – it’s in the footer. Take look at how her visuals pop on her home page – https://www.simonafrumen.com/

  1. Use a Hashtag with Your Social Media Graphic

According to Buffer Social, photos and image quotes posted to social media with a hashtag show an increase of 16% in shares. Find relevant hashtags, ALWAYS check them in Twitter Search to make sure you’re not using one that doesn’t mean what you think it means (or belongs strictly to someone’s brand)—and ask people to share.

So there we have it – 15 things that will help you make the most of visual marketing. What tips would you like to share about visual marketing that have given you big wins?

Sarah

P.S Share from this box and gain your scroll-stopping visual content strategy – 28 Days to Scroll Stopping Visuals

 Visual Appealing content <—- Right click the link and “save-as” to your desktop. Print and implement!

P.P.S  – Thank you for sharing

Plagiarism and Repurposing Content: Things You Need To Know to Protect Your Business

“But she copied my idea!” exclaimed my client.

“Did you discuss the idea with her?” I ask

“No. We’ve never spoken. I wanted to write a post about Zebra Knitting* and now she’s published it. She’s stolen my idea.” (* = topic changed to protect the innocent)

“Okay” I reply “How are you going to raise the conversation with her that she’s stolen your idea? What evidence will you show her that the idea is yours, associated with you and is your intellectual property?”

“What do I need as evidence so I can write to her?”

“Have you any articles published on Zebra Knitting?”

“No”

“Any video content on Zebra Knitting?”

“No”

“Any webinar content on Zebra knitting? This would be good because you can see if she’s attended and you have an evidence trail”

“No. I don’t have anything. She’s got away with stealing my idea”

“What if we explore the idea of synchronicity and coincidence. What if we focus on bring our ideas to the surface faster than worrying about the ones that are stolen?”

Unfortunately, despite what you may have heard from late-night television commercials, there is no effective way to protect an idea with any form of intellectual property protection. Copyrights protect expression and creativity, not innovation.  Patents protect inventions. Neither copyrights or patents protect ideas.

Source: IP Watchdog – Can Ideas Be Patented

Copying, stealing and plagiarism

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of plagiarism is “an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author.”

In other words, if you take someone’s report, blog post, or infographic and pass it off as your own without crediting your source, then you’re probably plagiarizing.  Copying a few sentences or paragraphs from a blog post on the internet and pasting it into your own blog post or report is also plagiarizing. Taking a blog post from someone else and turning it into a video is still Plagiarism if you don’t credit your sources in the content. Better still – get permission to do this rather than just taking it.

A good rule of thumb for deciding whether you should ethically do something is  to ask yourself “How would I feel if someone did this to me?”

Follow it up with “How would I feel if someone did this to me without my permission?”.

If you wouldn’t like it done it done to you, then the chances are your moral compass is guiding you correctly.

Plagiarizing is something you should avoid at all costs, from the workplace to schools to your own content creation activities. No matter the reason, it’s theft of someone’s intellectual property. And ignorance is no defense in the eyes of the law.

Some online entrepreneurs have the misunderstanding that “repurposing content” means taking someone else’s content and rewriting it or reconfiguring it so it matches their brand, with their own voice.  What you’ve done is theft of content or theft of an idea or concept. The absolute best way to think of repurposing content is to think about only the content that YOU created and how you can use that content in a different way.

Not only is plagiarism wrong but Google may hide your plagiarized content in search results, so follow these three tips for avoiding plagiarism claims:

  1. Cite sources properly. Using a quote from a favorite author, or cult classic movie is perfectly fine IF you give the proper citation. Generally, that means putting quotation marks around the exact words and adding the person’s name or movie’s title. Better still, link to the source so your readers can see your inspiration.  If you’re writing an academic piece, then a formal bibliography is necessary with more information but this simple citation is fine for general internet writing. The worst case of this I saw published by Hay House in a book for entrepreneurs. None of the quotes were attributed to the person that said them. If a big publishing house can get it wrong, you can see how easy it is to do.
  2. Borrow topics or themes, not words. Esteemed author Mark Twain believed, “There’s no such thing as a new idea,” and others argue this point today. Whether you agree with this or not, you can certainly write content about why Zebra knitting is the in thing (for example) but you need to put your own experience and perspective on the topic. You are completely unique from the other people out there and that needs to come through in your content. You have a different voice, different experiences, different clients, and all these things will give you a multitude of ways to write about a broad topic that thousands have already written about.
  3. Focus on the content YOU have created already. Look at your blog posts, videos, webinars, etc. and plan your repurposing strategy with only these pieces in mind. Take bits and pieces from YOUR content and weave it together to create a new blog post, video, or webinar. In this instance, since YOU created this content, it’s okay to copy and paste YOUR own words into a new format.

The Rights To Use A Piece of Content

A few months back I was talking music with a client. He had a piece ready for his podcast. It was him playing his Cello. His podcast was on Optimism and the benefits. The Cello piece was dark and melancholy. I said that I didn’t think the music fitted the topic. He replied with mock outrage “But it’s My Way by Frank Sinatra! I’ve played it slower”.

Now that’s a great song. Everyone knows it. But it belongs to someone else and you need a license to use the music on a podcast.

Not only was the tune setting the wrong mood, but my client could also be fined for stealing the music.

Here’s a Cello cover of My Way from Vesislava:

If you want to use other people’s content, particularly music, then you need to get a PPL PRS license. If you record a webinar and play a song at the beginning and the end to raise the energy of the room you need a license to do that. You’re broadcasting. Even if it’s an invitation-only broadcast. Play music at events? Either you or the venue needs a license.

Copyright theft isn’t just written words.

Unconscious Absorption

Unconscious absorption is something that so many people are unaware of when it comes to creating content. I demonstrated this in a live training a few weeks back.

I was taking a group of people through rapid product creation. I showed how I formed an outline from my research, and as I was sharing screens the source material displayed a testimonial from Kate Moss, the model.  I carried on creating the product, and I was editing and adding, and then we reached the part of the naming the ideal client this product is for… And without thinking I called her… Kate.

Coincidence? Nope. When you read and digest other people’s content – even if you skim it- you take some of it with you. In this example, it was the name that embedded in my brain and appeared in my work. It could have easily been ideas, content or the brand.

Did you notice earlier I mentioned the phrase “Moral Compass”. We’ve all got one right? You know what that means. but yesterday I attended a training from Core Sense around aligning your compass. It was unconscious absorption manifesting in a different way.

Repurposing your content is a fantastic way to grow your reach

Make sure that when you do repurpose your content that you don’t plagiarize.

Ensure you create your content legally, credit your sources and inspiration.

Check your moral compass.

And, check whether you need a license to use the content.

The last thing you want to lose your business to heavy fines because you didn’t know what you were doing.

Sarah