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E-Marketing Performance Blog

The 10 Commandments of Visual Content

visual content commandments

The need for visual content in your marketing campaign is undeniable as it continues to dominate the online media landscape. The digital revolution will stay visually-powered because humans are visually-wired. Almost 50% of the human brain is involved in visual processing with 70% of sensual receptors located in the eyes.

It’s really no wonder that today, visual content marketing is booming. Take a look at these fast stats:

  • Colored visuals increase a person’s willingness to read content by 80%.
  • An image paired with text-based content allows people to retain 65% of the information 3 days later, as opposed to 10% of the information when the content is only text.
  • Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without it.
  • Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.
  • Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3x more than other any other type of content.

However, coming up with a visual content strategy is easier said than done. There has to be a comprehensive analysis of several points prior to launch. You’ve got a much better chance of effective execution if you follow the 10 commandments of visual content:

1. Thou Shalt Be Creative and Inspire Your Audience

creative visual content

Use your imagination and get creative. Inspire your audience with innovative ideas because they often don’t know exactly what they’re looking for.

Providing plenty of creative fodder and positioning your brand in a “we’re here to help” context is the basis of modern marketing. Creative content with captivating visuals are the perfect means to attract and communicate your message to your audience. Don’t just reflect what every other piece of content says. Find new and innovative angles to approach things. Your audience will appreciate it.

Visually, you can make use of educational videoshelpful infographicscaptivating imagesentertaining memes...the list goes on.

2. Thou Shalt Be Relevant and Audience-Appropriate

relevant visual content


Visual content has to be in context, well-informed, and organized. If you want it to trend, make sure that it’s appropriate and relevant to a specific target audience.

If you’re selling a product online, provide corresponding visual content to complement your offer. For instance, when selling a line of clothing, placing generic photos of the latest fashion designs on your webpage is simply not enough. Take the contextual relevance to the next level.

You should leverage user-generated visual content in the right places. But more about that below.

3. Thou Shalt Generate Buzz and Demand 

generating buzz and demand

Entice your audience’s appetite by creating suspense before sharing interesting content. Start a discussion with one or two tweets, posts, or comments with your target audience before you launch a new infographic or other major visual piece. By doing this, you will have already captured their attention by the time your content goes live.

This is also a great way to find out if your content is relevant to begin with. If your audience doesn’t seem interested when you’re pitching the idea, you can bet that they won’t be interested when it’s published.

4. Thou Shalt Interact

honor social spaces

Capturing audience attention doesn’t stop with engaging content. Make sure provide them opportunities to engage and interact with your visual content. Enable them to share it on their preferred social networks and if possible, allow them to post relevant comments and email it to their friends if they wish.

Users like being acknowledged for their efforts. To ensure loyal and consistent involvement, respond to their comments, thank them for sharing your content, and find ways to make their efforts worth their while. If you do it right, they’ll help you spread the word and keep coming back for more.

5. Thou Shalt Observe Perfect Timing

 perfect timing

As with most things in life, timing is crucial. If a unique scoop lands your lap, be the first to break it. Share it as it happens, and re-share the content at ideal times later.

Looking to increase clicks per post? Make sure to schedule them diligently when they’re more likely to be read or seen. You’ll want both viewers and search engines to be aware of their existence, so scheduling multiple posts directing users towards each piece of content is important.

To help figure out the optimal times to post your content to maximize reach and engagement, CoSchedule published a great round-up of 16 studies that will show you the best posting times for multiple social channels. Remember, though, that every audience is different. Once you establish a schedule, make sure you are getting the expected engagement and adjust as needed.

6. Thou Shalt Develop a Brand Personality

 develop brand personality

(Photo Credit: BYU Ad Lab)

It’s easy to get lost and disappear in the highly competitive digital world if your brand doesn’t have a personality. Thankfully, you can take advantage of visual content marketing to express your brand’s character, color, and cause.

Be sure to make use of themed videos, photos, screenshots, presentations, and infographics according to what complements your post best. These will certainly add depth to your brand story and reinforce your brand culture.

A perfect way to capture your audience is by giving them a behind-the-scenes look. Show them what goes into making the brand. Posting amusing photos and videos of real employees (I love this video!) is one of the best ways you can humanize the company. The more your customers know about the people that make up your company, the more your brand will stand out. 

7. Thou Shalt Be Consistent

 be consistent with visual content

It’s important to put out visual content that is consistent and cohesive with your brand personality. This avoids confusion among your audience and allows reinforcement of your brand’s messaging.

Being consistent about the elements of your visuals is critical. Apart from resonating with an audience, your visuals should primarily reflect your company/message, even if you’re not linked or tagged in it.

You can achieve this by mirroring the fonts and colors used on your website as well as design elements in backgrounds. If possible, it always helps to have a branded element like a banner or a logo.

8. Thou Shalt Empower Your Audience

user-generated visual content

Sometimes, letting your customers do the job for you is more effective than churning out original content. Come to think of it, praising yourself is self-serving and not taken seriously by most people. People trust their friends and relatives more than they trust brands, which is why every piece of visual content that your audience produces is absolutely golden.

Using the “Share a Coke” campaign as an example, Coca Cola encouraged users to create content by giving them creative control of what they shared. As a result of this initiative, over half a million photos were shared using the #ShareaCoke hashtag, and Coca Cola’s Facebook page gained an additional 25 million followers. Now that’s a lot of social proof, essentially built for free.

9. Thou Shalt Focus on Quality

 quality images

Cameras on mobile phones are becoming much more sophisticated. It wasn’t that long ago when you’d have to pay top dollar for a digital camera capable of taking 5+ megapixel photos. Today, the phones sitting in almost everyone’s pockets or purses can take 10+ megapixel photos and shoot 4k videos. It should come as no surprise to learn that we users have much higher expectations than we used to.

Generally speaking, this means that you should only be using high quality visual content to support your brand image. Anything less will only work to harm your reputation, as pretty much everyone has the tools to create their own high-resolution images and videos. A good example that encapsulates quality would be Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign. Definitely no low-res images here!

10. Thou Shalt Repurpose Content Across Multiple Channels

 repurpose visual content

To make the most out of your content, repurpose it across multiple channels, including brand portals and social media. This will enable your content to reach entirely new audiences who might not be active on your primary platform.

Post your content multiple times on Twitter and Instagram to keep it fresh and increase opportunities for engagement. Re-share your visual content by tweaking headlines and captions, or by adding an emoji to inject visual media into text.

Apart from that, you can also repurpose the content itself by changing the medium in which it’s delivered. Transform a popular blog post into a Slideshare presentation. Repurpose a how-to guide as an instructional video. Turn your eBook into an easy-to-digest infographic. The opportunities are endless, so take advantage of this opportunity to diversify your content portfolio.

Leverage Visuals Content For Success

If you follow the 10 commandments of visual content, you’re setting yourself up with the best possible chance to produce something compelling that your audience will love. Continue capitalizing on stunning and well-thought of visual content and you’ll surely give your competitors a run for their money!


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