Marketing pros can tell you that using visual elements in marketing requires an understanding of balance. Too much imagery makes a design look busy, yet too much use of white space leaves the content lacking in some critical way.
The happy balance draws the reader's eyes to the relevant images while simultaneously communicating a message. Other elements can help to direct the reader to the right place to look. When it all comes together, it can turn a mediocre piece of content into something spectacular.
To help, 13 members ofForbes Agency Council provide their professional suggestions to businesses that are looking to include visual elements within their marketing.
Aside from making sure your images represent the content visually, try to determine if the imagery is suitable for your target audience. Certain visual styles will appeal more to certain audiences while some will have the opposite effect. If you can't determine the appropriate style, consider keeping your imagery as simple as possible so the user doesn't have to decipher your message. -Tripp Donnelly,REQ
Make sure your imagery adds to and amplifies the context of your content. Putting a product image next to a product description can be vanilla and boring. Where are the sprinkles? Instead, show your product in an engaging way, i.e. being used by a member of your target audience or simply "in action." This is far more powerful and goes a long way toward bringing new life to your written content. -Bernard May,National Positions
3. Make Sure Your Images Stand Out
When you share content on social media, it will pull the image from the article and include it in the post. It is the first thing people see, and it provides a snapshot into what users can find when they click through. What do you think generic stock photos are telling people about your content? Make the effort into ensuring your visuals are as creative and memorable as your written content is. -Nathan Hall,Simple Story
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Own your assets; ditch stock photography. With original branded imagery — think Apple's infamous iPod billboards — your content becomes instantly recognizable. I'm always demonstrating to clients the benefits of having a photo shoot, where the creative director can factor in future use cases for the images — for example, "this shot will be for a 6" x 2" banner, let's shoot wide, leave some space for the tagline" — and at the same time ensure the aesthetics are on-brand. You now have visual communication assets to help drive a successful marketing campaign. -Raja Sandhu,Raja Sandhu Design Studios
Optimize the photos for the platform they are being used on. With regard to social media, your photos are being seen on a relatively small screen. Taking up as much of that "real estate" with an on-brand and on-message photo is important. If it's too small or not clear, you'll lose the opportunity to stop the scroll. -Rebecca Kowalewicz,Clearbridge Branding Agency
Images that feature people tend to do better in terms of engagement, since we feel more connected. Weave into your strategy user-generated content that features people enjoying your product or service. -Sam Founda,Social Connection
Optimizing your images for search plays an integral part of your on-page SEO. Images that are well-optimized increase the relevancy of the page and reinforce the topic. Search engines love the right combination of format, title, alt text and other elements that go into image SEO, and they’ll reward your page for it. -Randy Soderman,Soderman SEO
Who hasn't seen "person at a desk staring into space" stock image 1,000 times? The use of images should be related to the content and something to help grab attention. Make sure your images align with your content but also stand out or engage the audience. If they can be efficiently created, custom images that enhance the story, create intrigue and draw you in will win every time. -Bo Bothe,BrandExtract, LLC
9. Keep It Short And Sweet
Images are indeed great eye-catchers and videos are even more intriguing to the eye. Keep any videos used in marketing content focused and tight — the shorter the better. Users want to get access to information quickly and efficiently, so making sure the video gets to the point at the get-go will ensure a more positive end-user experience. -Ilissa Miller,IMiller Public Relations
Editing photos to increase the quality of the image while adding visually appealing components is important in order to draw eyeballs and attention. Try to select content that resonates with the target audience. -Jordan Edelson,Appetizer Mobile LLC
Images should represent the emotion the marketing content is supposed to convey, not necessarily parrot what the content is. Instead of finding images that literally represent the content, find striking images that embody the overall character of it. -Stefan Pollack,The Pollack Group
Here's the thing with content marketing. You never really know what content is going to resonate with people, so it's always a bit like a lottery. However, you can maximize your chances of winning by testing various visual elements in your campaigns. This way, you're going to see what performs best and then keep working with it. -Solomon Thimothy,OneIMS
We’re wired to skim instead of read and glance instead of watch, so it’s important that your visual content offers something unexpected. The pattern interruption method uses the element of surprise to add visual interest, like an animation on a static web page or an abrupt color change on a video. This helps keep a consumer’s eyes on your content rather than losing interest and clicking away. -Adam Binder,Creative Click Media