Imagine the downtown in your area without any visual content placed anywhere on the streets. It would probably look bland and reminiscent of the past, with a bygone look and feel. Even old-school newspapers have visuals to dilute the text, which shows that the importance of visual content creation is not a novelty.
Moreover, Doctor John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, conducted research showing that humans are great at memorizing images. He stated that only 10% of heard information remains in our brain after three days, while an incredible 65% of auditory communication underpinned with a visual will stay.
Indeed, modern visual content has reached new heights and obtained unique shades and shapes. Memes, videos, GIFs, infographics, illustrations, downloadable goods like PDF files and presentations, charts, product photos, stock images, and other engaging content types are waiting to be perceived by consumers.
Such a diversity of visuals have created a demand and hunger for new and more profound visual content creation tips and tricks, and made the niche of visual content marketing a real game-changer in brand promotion.
However, content creation can be expensive, especially if you are just starting marketing or have no idea how to grab your customers’ attention. But not to worry, this article provides the most applicable practices for designing state-of-the-art visual content on a budget, so you can achieve your business goals without breaking the bank.
Reasons why visual content is a must-have
In fact, visual content is extremely easy to perceive. Our brain absorbs and processes visuals much faster than general text content, which explains why children are amused by various photos and images and can’t stand reading for a long time.
Due to a seamless and fast perception, visual content has become a real teaser in different marketing activities. It helps to capture prospects by triggering their emotions and encouraging them to engage with your brand.
Furthermore, by using persuasive visuals in your marketing campaigns, you set the tone of your brand’s voice, influencing people’s feelings and moods. For example, you can add humor to your new promo, making it more vigorous, or instead show your brand in the light of calmness and stability. Visuals give you an opportunity to unwind as you acquire the ideal way to select your brand wrapper, depending on your audience’s needs.
For instance, see how the KFC fast-food chain overcame a chicken shortage crisis resulting from changing its food supply service. With some humor, personalization, and a sincere desire to apologize, their clever visual ad campaign allowed them to stay afloat and win customers’ hearts back.
Additionally, proper visual content creation promotes social proof. If you compel visitors with interactive visuals that make their day, solve their pains, tell them a story, or simply please their eyes, feedback will come right away, growing your brand’s reputation.
How to create stunning visual content on a budget?
To succeed with visual content creation, you need to produce visuals that are more than just advertising concepts. Take your time to investigate your business niche, analyze your competitors, and make your imagery speak out. The following tips will help boost your content marketing efforts with genuine attention-grabbers.
Allow your visuals to tell a story
Do you remember the movie “What Women Want”? Even though the film was released 23 years ago, its use of brand promotion and content marketing concepts intertwine with current tendencies and demands. So, Nick and Darcy’s pitch for the Nike team remains an excellent example of well-thought-out visual storytelling.
Broadly speaking, this ad is quite persuasive, and it hits the target audience by showing consumers’ concerns and alleviating them. This is what you should aim for when designing your visual content strategy.
Convincing visual storytelling aims to turn views into meaningful marketing outcomes, and therefore, a coherent blueprint is required to produce compelling visuals based on a customer-oriented story.
So, define the goals you want to accomplish with your visual content creation, identify your target audience, understand the customer concerns your company, product, or service can solve, and determine the best way to consistently communicate your brand’s unique message through visuals.
On top of that, take advantage of your audience analysis. For example, consider tracking audience retention rates, subscriber responses, comments, etc., It can give you remarkable insights to guide your creative decision-making.
By staying up-to-date with your prospects’ preferences and needs, you will obtain a range of themes, topics, and approaches to turn into a well-structured story and implement in your visual content marketing.
Repurpose high-traffic articles on your blog
Utilizing topics that have already been successful on your blog maximizes the potential of your visual content. Select the blog pages your target audience is engaged with the most and breathe new life into them by turning the content into fascinating infographics for social media or guide videos to post on YouTube channels.
For example, check out this colorful and engrossing infographic from the SheKnows web portal. The site has over 20 million monthly visitors and a series of popular articles about feng shui home interiors. So, the SheKnows team combined all their knowledge into a single yet informative infographic.
To choose the right content for further repurpose, pay attention to blog pages with the most organic traffic and natural backlinks, or concentrate on competitors’ pages that are already ranking well for keywords with high search volumes. These data you can get from Competitor Analysis Tool by SE Ranking. It provides a complete website performance map of any domain, both of your or your competitors’ websites.
Besides, pay attention to the website pages with the highest user engagement. They are great for processing and converting into stunning visual assets. You can check user engagement via your Google Analytics account; just make sure your GA code is inserted correctly to get accurate data insights.
Enhance your visual content with a hook
Creating visual content for social media is no longer limited to images and slideshows. You can benefit from interactive branded videos designed to capture your target audience. Videos allow you to communicate your brand message, express your attitude toward a specific problem, enlighten prospects about your products, and generally simplify the perception of any sophisticated idea at a glance.
Thus, make sure that the first few seconds are engaging when making Instagram Reels, TikToks, and even video content for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Youtube. The first seconds act as the hook and create a first impression that dramatically affects views and conversions.
The hook can be an overwhelming transition or a catchy Instagram Reel thumbnail that will grab visitors’ attention. You can also display the value of your visual content by highlighting the solution you provide or the problem you solve with your content.
For example, take a look at Abbey Yung’s account on Instagram. She is a trichologist that blogs about various hair and scalp care topics. Her Reels are engaging as she delivers a hook that convinces the audience to watch the video till the end. That is why she gets 7K likes on average for her Reels.
Experiment with text inside your visual content
Visual content creation doesn’t mean getting rid of the text. On the contrary, savvy content marketers understand that text can emphasize product benefits and showcase extra value when paired with a visual.
Therefore, combine text and imagery or text and video content by employing overlays or captions to deliver a holistic representation of your brand. The main thing here is to check your content before publishing so that the text part is readable, engaging, clear, and free from typos. Additionally, make sure you use the same brand fonts on each visual.
For example, Casper’s visual content often combines text and images to highlight the value of the most popular or new mattresses. The following visual from their Instagram account looks balanced and accentuates the product features.
Let brand followers generate content for you
Indeed, visual content marketing is an ecosystem that requires knowledge and expertise to develop high-end visuals that help brands go viral. However, the best thing you can do to boost your content marketing efforts is to let your brand fans produce their own content for you.
An excellent way to integrate user-generated content into your visual content marketing strategy is to inspire followers to snap pictures and share selfie videos with their friends.
Do not hesitate to ask your audience to tag you with a specific hashtag or contribute to you directly. By encouraging your brand admirers to develop your content, you increase interaction and engagement and gain an incredible opportunity to build a robust community around your brand.
Moreover, you can use social media listening to find user-generated content to help you gather unique brand mentions related to your company and obtain new in-demand topics for further content creation and marketing.
Users usually highlight posts with an assortment of existing hashtags and create new ones, so tracking and analyzing hashtags is also an excellent way to boost your visual content creation efforts.
A legendary example of empowering a brand’s digital marketing strategy with user-generated content belongs to Nike and its #JustDoIt social media campaign, which still creates new visuals promoting the brand’s products and philosophy.
With this hashtag, Nike followers worldwide add brand mentions to motivate others to switch to a healthy lifestyle and celebrate personal triumphs in sports. As a result, Nike has got a superior community and a steady flow of visual content from their customers.
Collect UGC from all social platforms
Another example of brand awareness growth, thanks to fan content, is the social media campaign from Calvin Klein. The brand’s official Instagram account launched a #MyCalvins hashtag campaign encouraging users to post photos featuring the iconic Calvin Klein underwear waistband.
Calvin Klein’s social media marketers reviewed the tremendous flow of brand mentions and picked the best visuals to feature on the official feed. Interestingly, the hashtag has over 800K publications and is still bringing new content.
Do not neglect the patterns of effective design
A collection of pre-designed templates and feature-rich DIY software allow you to effortlessly produce beautiful flyers, banners, posters, video intros, and any other type of content. However, even such ready-made solutions still require a personal touch and customization depending on your audience’s needs and brand vision.
Thus, even though the market offers various visual content creator tools to deal with content yourself, there is a range of straightforward design patterns you can follow to ensure you design rocking visuals for your target audience.
To begin with, consider refining your page loads to ensure your designs appear flawlessly and don’t interfere with your site or blog performance. If your graphics are too heavy, employ image resizing or compression tools like TinyPNG to adjust content for different devices and screens.
Then focus on readability. If you enhance your visual content with text, evaluate the font you choose and its size, spacing, and weight. In fact, typography failures devalue the entire design and make the message you want to convey a complete distraction.
Also, don’t stick to your brand identity too much. Indeed, brand identity colors are essential as they create unique associations with your brand. However, by clinging too much to your brand color palette, you can lose the balance and spoil your visuals with colors that simply don’t match.
So, be flexible to keep that balance between your general brand identity and online appearance. For instance, you can select a base color equal to your business identity and then pick complementary options to create smooth, pleasant-looking visuals.
If you need to help combining colors, use color wheel tools or color scheme design generators. For example, look at Paletton, Quick Tools by Picsart, and color wheel by Canva; they are all free.
Lastly, your visual communication should be clear and well-structured, so avoid designing hard-to-follow content. Remember that overloaded visuals without a neat structure elicit nothing but frustration. So, opt for space, and create space-rich visuals with enough room for your message.
Employ memes and quotes
As per Statista, the global industry of memes earned 2.3 billion dollars in 2020, and is predicted to expand to $6.1 billion by 2025. This data shows that memes and branded quotes represent a specific digital culture that has become an essential component of the entire online ecosystem.
Branded quotes and memes are also great for business use, especially if you create ones that match your brand voice. They are an incredible way to boost social media traffic and remain a budget-friendly option to generate engaging content, defining a separate niche of meme marketing.
Meme content marketing requires low effort but provides high rewards. You can wisely dilute your day-to-day promotions and news with humor and design content that prospects can seamlessly link to their daily lives.
On top of that, memes and quotes allow you to draw youth to your brand, capture influencers, and reach new promotion opportunities. Thus, when creating content for social media, do not be afraid to be hilarious, as humor will surely bring new followers to your brand.
For instance, follow Netflix’s official account on Instagram or Twitter. It has many great memes and branded quotes related to popular series released on the platform, which boosts likes, tweet counts, and other followers’ activity and helps to grow the number of brand admirers.
Choose Effective Visual Content Creation Tools
Cost-effective content marketing requires proper content creation tools to help cultivate the idea, design graphics, and even plan the promotion strategy. Moreover, user-friendly visual content creators are also a source of inspiration that allows you to understand your audience’s preferences.
Whether it is a blog post, social media content, a video for your branded YouTube channel, or any other visual, do not hesitate to use content creation tools to impress your prospects with creative, genuinely engaging content. Below are five free handy tools that can help you succeed with visual content creation.
Repurpose all your visual content with a website embed
1. Adobe Express
Abobe Express is a standout free content maker specializing in creating attention-grabbing images. The platform allows you to design flyers, logos, banners, social posts, stories, and ads. You can choose from miscellaneous pre-designed templates and fonts and even utilize royalty-free Adobe Stock imagery.
Animaker is a responsive video-making tool that allows you to design interactive animation or live-action videos for your audience. This video creation tool has an intuitive drag-and-drop builder with a collection of pre-design characters, a jumbo pack of stock images, illustrations, videos, and pre-made video templates.
You can use Animaker to edit 4K videos and resize them for different social platforms. Although there is a premium plan option, the free tool functionality is more than enough to create your visual content.
Piktochart is an online infographic maker that offers access to more than 200 infographic templates that allow you to create watermark-free infographics. Moreover, this tool lets you visualize your data through interactive maps, charts, timelines, and graphs. By the way, free access allows you to use all charts to enhance your infographics.
Everyone knows Canva as an easy-to-use tool for designing social media images, presentations, diagrams, thumbnails, and other visual content. But did you know Canva is also great for creating memes and GIFs? Canva’s free version lets you generate memes and make GIFs from images and videos.
There is a selection of templates and styles that makes it easy to find the best pre-made piece for your visual content design.
5. Zight (Formerly CloudApp)
Zight is a screen capture tool that allows you to create visual content for step-by-step guides and how-to videos. With Zight, you can capture screenshots, enjoy screen and video recording, etc. You can choose premium plans for enhanced functionality or use the tool for free.
Additionally, content research tools from Pinterest and Google can complement your visual content creation. Thus, Pinterest Trends or Google Trends can help you monitor the demand for several search terms and topics and keep up with the latest design and aesthetic trends.
Last but not least, if you can’t afford unique imagery creation at this time, look at Unsplash or Magdeleine. These platforms provide exquisite, royalty-free stock images that you can utilize for your email or social media needs. They are real budget savers.
Visual content creation is all about flexibility, creativity, and understanding users’ needs and preferences. Today’s market provides a complete toolkit for designing alluring visuals and capturing audiences, even free of charge. Therefore, the only thing you need to have is a strong desire to build positive relationships with your potential clients.