Visual content marketing is one of the all-around best tactics you can have for marketing and branding. There are so many ways to use it, and they are applicable to every social platform. Visual content is shared more, viewed more, catches a reader’s attention, and sticks with them after they have left your site. It is the perfect medium.
The downside is that it takes a lot more time to create. Because of that, people tend to make visual content a small fraction of their overall output. This reduces the impact and so lessens their results. It is a shame, but understandable.
What if you could be more efficient in your visual content creation? These seven steps will help you to be more productive, so you can make more visual content without spending a lot of time doing it.
Step 1: Create a List Of Possible Visual Content
The first step is where so many people fall flat. Coming up with visual content ideas can be difficult, and you might feel like some aren’t up to scratch. We are going to put aside any critical thoughts you may have, and just brainstorm. Anything goes on the list, no matter how silly you may find it.
Aim for at least ten ideas to begin. Include different mediums you can use utilizing the same idea (a slideshow, a comic, an infographic, a screencast video, GIFs like Buzzfeed, etc.). This gives you a working list to start from, and at least ten pieces of content that can be tweaked and used in some way.
Here’s a quick way to explain how one idea can become various visual content assets:
It is also a good idea to look at examples of similar pieces of visual content that use related ideas. This is a good time to see what competitors are sharing, or just others in your niche community. It will give you insight into what is popular, what is working, and what isn’t.
Take that information and apply it to your list. How can you slightly alter those ideas to match up with what your audience is looking for? How can you replicate it while still being unique?
Step 2: Create a List of Visual Content Sources
There are plenty of visual content resources you can use. For years of blogging and social media content managing I’ve come up with my own trusted list. I picked the resources where (1) I can find a great image fast and (2) I can find different images: Not those everyone else is using all over the place. I like originality.
Here are my picks:
- Unsplash is my resource #1 for stunning background photography. They add one creative photo daily and you can subscribe to updates. I love making visual quotes and Unsplash is awesome for visual inspiration!
- Printmeposter is a great resource of original photography. I love how their search works.
- New Old Stock provides a great resource of old black and white photography
Besides generic creative resources you want to keep an eye on niche sites that regularly post visual content. for example, to visually tweet about my industry I am using the following sites:
- Emarketer (paid) is the best resource of marketing charts, reports and visualized surveys
- Marketing Charts visualizes all trending marketing stats and numbers
- SiteGeek provides visualizations for any hosting stats and uptime records
- SearchMetrics is the most up-to-date source of search rankings changes and history
Step 3: Create Second List Building Off First
An artist is only as good as their tools. There are many that can make visual content creation a faster, more productive process, while keeping quality high.
Here are some great ones:
- Canva: A full feature design tool that lets anyone become a web and graphic designer in minutes.
- Piktochart: Make infographics, charts and full presentations, cheaply.
- Screencastomatic: Create quick and free recorded videos of your screen, including outside of your browser.
- Giphy: Find or make your own animated GIFs.
Step 4: Create Schedule For Content Creations/Publication
Having a posting schedule is one of the best ways you can improve productivity. It gives you a set timeline for publishing your content, and so removes any guesswork. You can also find the best times to post based on past successful publications, so you know when to publish on your blog, share on different social platforms, and re-share to gain the most visibility and engagement.
You may also consider creating more than one piece of visual content and scheduling it for ahead of time, so you never have to play catch up when you get sick/go on vacation/need a break.
Here’s a sample of my scheduling routine:
- Always schedule several Twitter updates for the weekend. Weekend Twitter updates usually get more attention, surprisingly!
- Always schedule at least one Facebook page update for each day you are away traveling or enjoying your rest
- Always schedule thematic visual updates for upcoming holidays and days-off.
Step 5: Set Time For Uninterrupted Work
The more you are interrupted, the longer it will take you to finish anything. You should set up a time to work where you won’t be disturbed. That includes by your own inattentiveness.
Turn off your phone, put on some non-distracting music, and consider installing a tool like LeechBlock or StayFocusd to keep yourself from being tempted to social media or entertainment sites.
Do your best to keep your work time consistent, if you can. Even if you only work on visual content one day a week, do it on the same day and at the same time, for the same length of time. It will become a habit, and you will find yourself much more productive during that time.
Step 6: Maximize Marketing With Good Tools
Marketing is one of the most time consuming parts of the entire process. Posting on social media, alerting followers to new content, engaging with potential or current readers, and even just enhancing SEO can carve out such a huge chunk of your day.
The right tools will limit the time you spend doing it. A social dashboard like MavSocial (out of all scheduling platforms, this one is best suited for visual marketing) will simplify posting and scheduling posts, including automatically posting at the best times for your followers across multiple platforms. You can even get cross-platform analytics from a Chrome plugin with Social Analytics.
I also use Cyfe to keep an eye on all important social media channels and stats: It’s a great way to see all your visual social media networks and their progress at a glance:
Step 7: Repeat With New Information
Consider each time you go through this process to count as a new campaign. Over time you will begin to see patterns that will shift your focus and give you a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. From there you will just repeat with the new information.
Your visual content creation will become more and more efficient, and your marketing productivity will be enhanced.
Have any tips to share?
Snowy Steps Photo via Shutterstock