What Is A Visual Content Strategy?

What Is A Visual Content Strategy?

LET’S GET VISUAL

As a business owner, how many times have you been told to head online to make an impact with your audience?

Are you tired of hearing common suggestions from marketers that make social media & digital channels sound simple, free and easy? Growth hacks, quick tips & to-do’s are great but they can often leave you feeling frustrated. For example another marketer or colleague might ask for you to, “just post something, it only takes a second!”, “can you create a quick video for our company?”, or better yet, “just put the presentation together on LinkedIn, heck use Slideshare, its fast!” Often times these asks and remarks are easier said than done.

& we agree! That’s why today, our goal is to walk you through the basics of Visual Content Strategy (or as we call it, VCS) to show you how to use it for the online success your business needs. Get ready to build a steady visual content game plan to elevate your online presence.

VISUAL CONTENT 101

First off, what is visual content? It is everything you can see, read, interact & engage with, and share on the internet.

  1. Photographs
  2. Quotes
  3. Branded Images
  4. Short-form videos
  5. How-To’s
  6. Live Broadcasting & Image Messaging

VCA Tip: Think simple, delightful, eye catching – sometimes less is more.

Next comes Visual Content Marketing which is everything related to visual content but with a marketing purpose. Think of Visual Content Marketing as your online speaker that will amplify your brand using the right visuals and the right voice to communicate to your audience.

BE EMOTIONALLY VESTED IN YOUR VISUAL CONTENT

Log into Twitter, Instagram or any social channel you favor and you will be bombarded with hundreds of forms of visual content in seconds. How do you feel when you see these posts? If we can take a guess, the key here is emotion.

visual-content-is-emotional

What do you share or bookmark? Funny videos, curated flatlays, Tasty recipes, .gifs of Trump’s tiny hands doing big things.. Once these posts resonate with you, you start to remember them, share them, follow them and keep up with the brands. Agree? You, as an individual, desire these visual posts on your feed and truthfully, so does everyone around you. That said, the brands and individuals who are inspiring us all with good quality content are the ones who are reaping the visual content benefits (we will get to this later on).

Key takeaway? Understand that the representation of your brand’s identity and voice online starts with a quality Visual Content Strategy.

THE PURPOSE OF A VISUAL CONTENT STRATEGY

Think about visual content marketing this way: every day is a new day online. Every day we check our phones. Every day 1.28 billion people log onto Facebook. Every day 152 million bloggers (and growing) have the potential to share their content.

A Visual Content Strategy at VCA involves working around your vision to understand your goals, building a content machine through a strategic visual plan and distributing and measuring your content online. Sounds picturesque, doesn’t it?

The foundational purpose to our Visual Content Strategy includes two primary factors: thoughtfulness & time. Like a recipe, it is a mix of staple ingredients combined with following key directions to always have a happy, engaged and loyal online community. (Sign-up to download our Recipe for Visual Content Success, here.)

Remember those simple suggestions we started with? They sounded overwhelming before. But, when you put thoughtfulness and time into a digital perspective you begin to see the big picture.

HOW A VISUAL CONTENT STRATEGY WORKS

Long gone are the days where a written content strategy does it “all.” Our team pondered, “how can one, 50-page word document really tell your brand what you should do and why you should do it for the whole year ?” The consensus? It’s impossible! Content is a living, breathing machine that spends 99% of the time working in beast mode, just like you.

Your personalized Visual Content Strategy must start off with the notion that time is of the essence & ingenuity is contagious.

Let’s Break It Down:

  1. Be timely (because each day counts online). If you are desiring to promote a product launch, create an influencer outreach program, get social buzz for a summer promotion in Spring, then you must strategize how it will get there before that day arrives. You must plan ahead (even if you only have 24 hours) you must start somewhere with the notion that time is valuable online.
  2. Be genuine to build a brand with purpose. You must know your time constraints (and budget) to create the content needed. But, most importantly you must create content that speaks genuinely to your audience from your brand’s voice. Case in point: Be your brand, day in and day out thru thoughtful content messaging.

Once you’ve grasped the foundation, it’s now time to put together a well-organized content game plan around your creative concept!

As you move forward with your visual content strategy you must remember that content is ongoing, it is more than just a single post per day. As creatives at VCA, we pride ourselves in thoughtfully dreaming up content formats that inspire.

There are three types of visual content types you must plan for:

Core: Your 15-second video, brand lookbook or influencer blog post should be seen as a core component of your brand. It comes from your website, your channels and your team.

Divisible: Think of this content as smaller components of your core content. It’s topics and thoughts extend from your branded pieces to give your brand value, keep your core content alive and top of mind!

Timely: Back to time, this content is here and now. It is everything from your launch to a press release and tweets from a celebrity who happened to mention your brand name. It can be planned or on a whim, but it must be an integral part of your managed strategy below.

Click here to learn how to use owned, earned and paid media to incorporate these content types into your strategy.

READY TO BUILD YOUR STRATEGY? LET’S GO!

Now it is time to put all of your content ideas and goals together to develop your digital rhythm that never sleeps!

  • Understand Your Vision. You now know what you need to create for your company – you have a vision. You can tackle a simple social post, the production of a 30-second video via your iPhone or a LinkedIn article, because now you understand that time is ticking and creating content that you audience enjoys is the #1 goal.
  • Build Your Content Machine. Then you get to work developing the content both written and visual that will help you promote your vision. This becomes your visual strategy. If you work with VCA for example, we will create your content machine with your team to accomplish your goal. Whether you have 30-days or 365 days, we develop a series of core content staples for your brand that can be interchangeable utilized time and time again.
  • Manage & Measure Results. Once your content is ready, you can launch & share it. That’s the fun part! But what is more important is how you manage it after the fact. Partner with a blogger for a highly shareable blog post? Well, if you share it once it just simply equates to one day on social, but content can be curated, repurposed and broken down into micro & timely content to create more reach and measurability. (Click here to contact VCA for a 30-minute consultation on how to get the MOST out of your content.)

THE BENEFITS OF A VISUAL CONTENT STRATEGY

The many benefits of a VCS (Visual Content Strategy) are endless. But one thing is for certain, developing a visual content strategy is the long lasting tool for managing your online voice online. Remember, a visual content strategy does many things for a brand, but what it does well, is that it works to share your bright idea with your digital audience in a timely manner.

Get in touch with us today to have your content audited for Visual Content success!

Why You Need to Strategize your Visual Content in 2017

Why You Need to Strategize your Visual Content in 2017

To begin, here’s a short quiz.

What Am I?

I have multiple tabs open on my laptop. Some days I work from coffee shops, some days my home office, and other days I visit the newest co-working space. I am ALWAYS on social media, but not just for personal use. I am constantly thinking and using the wordTooltip Text strategy. I have a mental calendar in my brain at all times. I am responsible for developing voice, concept, and identity. I a integral to the modern company. Can you guess what I am?

Yup, I am a content strategist.

Where Did Digital Marketing Begin?

I started working in digital marketing over nine years ago. Back in 2008, social media was just emerging as an important tool for communication, marketing, and branding. I was lucky to find myself on the forefront of this rapidly growing subset of digital marketing, and started managing social media accounts.

To do this role, I didn’t attend “Content University,” if such a place even even exists; instead, I educated myself using Google and posed a lot of questions to seasoned marketers. Back then, client “asks” would simply include posting creative branding ideas on a whim, while curating content from other sources. This was enough to have a successful digital presence.

At times, when clients needed longer content, I would write blogs, but posting new content on a weekly or daily basis was only utilized by the most foreword thinking companies. Most clients were new to the world of digital marketing, and a long way off from having a formalized digital marketing strategy. Those of us working on developing digital content at the time were also constantly evolving our tactics for building an online presence.

Where Are We Now?

In 2017, content development is a whole new world. You can click-to-purchase your favorite outfit from Instagram. We receive the President of the United States’ perspective through Twitter & hashtags. We rave about our days on Facebook Live, and we order groceries in a few hours on Amazon Fresh. You may even receive those groceries by drone. In a short time, a lot of our daily activities moved offline, to online and the need for better and more content followed.

So the imperative business question in 2017 is not “Do we need digital content?” (as it was in 2008), but rather, “How do we keep up with everything online?”

I have analyzed this question from multiple angles, and my answer always ties back to one thing. Every business, big or small, needs a solid annual content strategy. When content strategy is developed on a yearly and big-picture basis, it can dynamically impact a business’s social media voice, marketing goals, and overall communication.

From experience, I’ve realized that this is the most impactful resource for any business that desires online success. By developing a strategy, the message delivered by a company is cohesive, creative, and more interesting. An annual strategy is often based on vision and the bigger goals of a business.

Content backed by an annual strategy is more likely to connect with the intended audience, and an annual strategy provides a way to mark progress, goals, and markers of strong content. An annual strategy is also more likely to be implemented, whereas week–to-week or day-to-day planning can quickly go off course.

Our Top Tip: Build A Content Strategy in 2017

Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text (1). With this information in mind, it seems silly not to integrate a written strategy with visual goals? This can increase the goals of your annual marketing strategy outlined above and improve the effectiveness of your social media posts, webs copy, and other online presence. This is not new advice in the world of content development, just perfected.

I will advise a number of businesses this year and look forward to working on a Visual Content Strategy (VCS) for each company that is specific to their industry, branding, and sales goals. For my company, Visual Content Agency, and I this is a more effective and clear form of a digital roadmap. It is not solely a written document, we no longer like to hand over a one-time roadmap and tell our clients to figure it out. Alternatively, a carefully constructed and jointly-develped VCS becomes a year-long story, which comes alive throughonline content in all of its many forms. A VCS uses traditional editorial planning, content mapping, creative ideation, and strategic analysis to plan a year ahead and get content out to the right audience in a timely manner.

The best part: once your strategy is defined, your management will fall into place. Your marketing managers can delegate tasks, organize your promotion plan, or start a fun campaign that can be run by other employees without the same commitment of oversight and concern for staying “on brand.” A VCS will keep the rhythm going for you and your team.

So now I ask, are you focusing on visual content in 2017? Where you are headed and what are your biggest struggles for reaching your goals? I want to hear from you and build a better content strategy for your business! To get started, contact Visual Content Agency and schedule a meeting with me at: amy@visualcontentagency.com.

Resources:

(1) Business to Community. Visual Marketing: A Picture’s Worth 60,000 Words. 2015 January 16.