How to determine what content marketing should be visual

One of the topics I was asked about recently by Vocus was about the influence of visual content. I wanted to add some color to my original remarks, which you can find here.

Visual content is the fancypants new term for what we used to call rich media, and it’s in fact a subset of rich media. Visual content is anything that is visual – but not text – in nature, from infographics to YouTube videos to Pinterest pins. One of the key questions marketers are asking is what content should be made visual.

It’s important to understand that not everything has to be visual. Not everything should be visual. Some content can’t be made visual, at least not without distorting it beyond recognition. Some content is better suited to audio, to video, or to other formats.

Here’s a simple test you can use to determine whether content is ideally suited for visual marketing. First, stand at your whiteboard. Next, attempt to draw out the content in question, even if your art skills are horrendous – other people don’t have to be in the room.

IMG_8001
Me working on framing out an upcoming talk

If you can draw it with a minimum of words, you’ve got static visual content that’s right for infographics and illustrations.

If you can draw it but you need to tell a story as you draw it, or erase and draw in stages, you’ve got content that’s better suited for video.

If you can tell the story with excitement but you just can’t draw it, you’ve likely got audio content.

If you just end up writing lots of words on the whiteboard, you’ve got text content better suited for a white paper, eBook, or blog post.

Use this simple test to determine what kind of content you’ve got and whether it’s right for visual marketing or not.

Disclosure: Vocus is a client of my employer, SHIFT Communications.


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  • http://MarketingDoneWrite.ca Bonnie Chomica

    Great breakdown of something that always seems so complicated. You’ve made is so logical. Thanks!