5 Rules for Creating Great Visual Content

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Visual Content

What is the first thing that usually captures your attention when you browse through your various social media feeds? Odds are you probably pause to like, favorite or re-pin a post because there was something visually appealing to you.

Visual content on social media has seen explosive growth in the last few years. Everything from videos, to pictures, graphics and gifs receive far more engagement than other forms of content, such as text or audio. Twitter is a great example: Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. In order to remain relevant, brands, marketers and advertisers must utilize visual content.

Creating Better Graphics

Now that brands have realized visual content is essential to building brand awareness and loyalty the game has changed significantly. No longer can you get by with just adding a graphic because everyone else does the same thing. Your graphics need to be bigger and better than ever. Not literally bigger of course but figuratively, in the sense that great graphics have far more potential than mediocre ones.

So here’s the question: How do you create great graphics?

The answer is simple: Do your homework and dedicate the time.

Anyone can create a graphic or an image to post on social media but it takes work and a decent amount of time to create superior visual content. I’ve found that there are five simple rules you can follow that will ensure you put your best foot forward when creating visual content.

1) Research

research-data-managementKnow the audience, understand the content being expressed and know your own brand. Chipotle is a prime example of a company that does their research before releasing visual content. They connect with their audience by showing their respect for the environment and healthier foods and they continue to build one of the best brand stories on the planet.

2) Experiment

Don’t be satisfied with your first attempt and don’t settle foranything less than you’re very best. There’s usually more work to be done and chances are it will turn out even better the second or third time around. A lot of times I’ll publish content privately so it can’t be seen by my followers. This allows me to see what does and doesn’t work before my audience can and also gives me time to edit the less effective areas of my content.

3) Be Unique

No one likes a copycat. Find a way to make your visual content original and fresh so that your audience can see something new. Duck brand does an amazing job of creating unique content on their Pinterest account. You can find everything from clothing to art in their pins, and it’s all made from Duck Tape. They know how to create complex brand messages that all seamlessly combine to create one brand story.

4) Compareapples-oranges-they-dont-compare

Don’t be afraid to look at great visual content created by other designers, bloggers and marketers. I find that some of my best ideas for writing, designing and even work are inspired by the work of others. A quick ten minutes on YouTube, Tumblr or Pinterest can provide a ton of resources for not only visual content ideas but also tutorials on how to create graphics. Check out Rebekah Radice’s exceptional blog on digital marketing, social media and strategy. She consistently produces content that is visually appealing and compelling.

5) Be Critical

Give yourself constructive criticism. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your content then there’s a way to make it better. Never be afraid to edit. Ask yourself if the work you created is relevant for your brand, audience and content. If you don’t love your work chances are neither will your audience. Peg Fitzpatrick does an amazing job showcasing a unified personal brand across all social media platforms while authoring a blog each week that is definitely worth a visit.

Infographic2

Being Graphic

Recently I’ve been experimenting with Canva to create custom graphics for my social media posts as well as my blog (like the one above). Last week instead of writing a blog post I researched some of the top social media trends of 2015. I then headed over to Canva to try my hand at creating my very first infographic. (Check it out Here)

I spent four days working on the design elements alone. After finding the right color scheme, fonts, shapes, size and style of my infographic I whittled my research down to just nine bullet points from more than thirty.

After I posted the infographic there was a noticeable boost in traffic to my blog and higher-than-usual engagement on my Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr and Google+ accounts. Clearly people love to interact with great visual content.

Yes, No or Wow?

Milton Glaser once said, “There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for”.

Everyone should aim for the “WOW” reaction. I’m no graphic designer but I know that visual content can express a brand story in a way that is much more personal and more immediate. 90% of the information sent to the brains is visual and the human brain processes visual information 60,000X faster than text.

People are more attracted to visual content so now is the time to start creating and utilizing your custom visuals. Go out and earn that “WOW” reaction!

Tell me in the comments below what tips you use to create visual content.

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