Content Marketing, Content Promotion, Owned Media, Shared Media
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Text content is not enough anymore. You can be an exceptional and talented writer, but you have poor chances of getting noticed unless you are creative with content formatting.

Many businesses make that mistake—they invest in writing content and have no understanding of how to make that content appealing and catchy enough to build up a loyal readership that keeps coming back for more.

Following are ideas for getting more creative with your visual strategy by staying up-to-date with trends and opening up your marketing strategy to more channels.

Why Visuals?

The power of visual content is hard to underestimate nowadays:

  • According to a study by Standford Persuasive Technology Lab, 46.1 percent of those polled believe a website design is the most important factor in determining the reliability of a company. This could be applied to any form of branding, including what is done on a blog.
  • Readers don’t want a wall of text. The majority of people on the web have become habitual skimmers. Even you may be skimming this article right now. Having images to break up the text is more visually appealing and further catches the attention of the viewer.
  • Visual content is a huge engagement driver. The human brain is built to react to visual stimulation, and it can trigger an emotional response almost instantly. If you want to get people talking, using something visual will almost always be more effective than text alone.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. This adage proves true on the Internet where you can convey a message quickly, efficiently and powerfully using an image. It is also a good way to condense information into an easy to understand format, such as in an instructional video, infographic or photo.

With so much research proving the importance of the visual component, more and more content publishers and social media marketers are using visuals nowadays, and rightly so. But it’s also becoming harder and harder to stand out as a result.

In addition to the suggestions provided in this article on creating original visual content, here are a few more cool ideas you might not have tried yet:

1. Instagram Selfies

Love them or hate them, selfies are the big thing right now. It’s only natural that we’ll find creative ways to apply them to marketing.

Selfies spread easily because they are very convincing and believable. Seeing people proudly wearing your logo is a powerful incentive to remember and trust your brand.

Perhaps even more important, selfie marketing can extend your reach to Instagram, the unbelievably fast-growing venue that fueled selfies to their undeniable popularity seen today.

Selfies have become so pervasive that influencer marketplace Tomoson has even added a new option where influencers are invited to create sponsored selfies of them using, wearing or posing with an advertiser’s products.

instagram-sponsored-selfieFor further reading on selfie strategies, this post on Threadwatch offers a few examples of successfully executed selfie contests and I’ve mentioned a creative selfie visual strategy in this article.

2. Quotes Re-Packaged As Slideshare Presentations

Visual quoting is not a new tactic. You’ve probably seen quotes put on images all over Pinterest and Twitter. A new spin on this trend is to pack quotes into presentations and market them on Slideshare, another channel that must be added to your marketing strategy if it’s not already.

Slideshare can be a massive traffic driver (here’s how to create a Slideshare call-to-action that will actually drive clicks). The Slideshare crowd loves lists and quotes, so combining the two is an easy target.

Here’s how I do that:

  • Find attention-grabbing images. Print Me Poster has an enormous collection of visuals.
  • Use MyBlogU to collect quotes from the experts using the MyBlogU Interview feature.
  • Use Haiku Deck to easily overlay images and quotes and download the .ppt file.
  • Use PowerPoint to add clickable links where they need to be added.

Here’s a great example from a MyBlogU member who used quotes to create this inspirational SlideShare deck:

slideshare-quote-deckQuoting is a powerful marketing tool that shouldn’t be underestimated. I curate social media quotes as testimonials and I always make sure to use embedded tweets to bring an interactive component to my site.

3. Branded Animated GIFs For Tumblr

I know few of us have time for Tumblr, but it’s a shame. The site has a very strong community that can make a great alternative and additional channel to market to.

Moreover, animated GIFs are currently supported on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest. If you decide to build up your Tumblr with animated GIFs, this means you’ll be able to re-market them elsewhere, too.

I use these tools to create animated GIFs with ease:

  • Gyazo GIF: Create animated GIF instructions by capturing your mouse actions.
  • GifDeck: Turn any Slideshare presentation into an animated GIF file. (This is a great tool to re-package your Slideshare quotes to share on Tumblr.)
  • Gifbrewery: Convert any video to a GIF, edit and annotate it.

Clearly, these are only just a few ways to get creative with visual content. When it comes to experimenting with new channels and new types of visuals, the options are endless. The only option you don’t have is to keep publishing blocks of text with no graphic accompaniments.

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