When most people think of content marketing, they think of words. Articles, reports, blog posts, white papers: all made up of words and all fodder for the content mills. Google, the biggest name in search engine marketing, has always reinforced the importance of words, and SEO companies have typically followed suit by focusing on keywords. But, in the real world, the Web turns on the visual, and that’s especially true with social media marketing. When onine analytics company Kissmetrics wrote about the most shareable types of content on Facebook, all five of their examples were images, even those where the image was nothing but words. This is true across most major social media sharing platforms, even Twitter, which now makes it easy to attach photos to your 140-character messages.
Words + Pictures = Magic
Take a minute for a little experiment. Open your Facebook feed and do a quick scroll down the list. Which items catch your atttention? Odds are that you paused your scrolling to read a meme or check out the caption of an arresting photograph. For the most part, people scan right past status updaes that are nothing but text typed into a box. Those same words put against a colored background on colored text, though, will capture attention, and if you match them up with a relevant picture, there’s a good chance they’ll be shared over and over again.
Leveraging the Power of Words + Pictures
You don’t have to be an artistic or technical genius to create highly shareable content. These tips and best practices will get you started choosing and creating the kind of visual content your customers will share and share and share.
Automate Blog Sharing
If you’re writing blog posts, grab Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ plugins to automate your sharing, then spend a few minutes to set them up right. Choose plugins that will let you pick the image shared with the post, as well as designate a handcrafted summary. Once you’ve set those up, you’ll automatically be sharing an attractive, well-crafted, picture-perfect post to each social network you choose.
Get Rich Pins for Pinterest
Pinterest is a lot more than pictures these days. Over the past 18 months, the visually arresting sharing service has rolled out Rich Pins, formatted styles that let you add important information to your photos. Currently, you can choose from Rich Pins for recipes, products, articles, movies, and places. Once installed, the photos you share on Pinterest will carry information like ingredients for recipes or prices and features for products.
Add Calls to Action to Your Photos
Create your own shareable memes by adding calls to action, quotes, or logos to your photographs. You don’t need expensive photo software to do it. Free online photo editors like Pixlr make it as easy as typing a caption.
Finally, take the time to analyze your metrics once you start sharing photos and memes. They’ll help you figure out which types of content are most successful with your customers so you can create even more.
Deb P is has been writing Web content for so long that her son informed his teacher that his mommy wrote the Internet. She still has the setup package for WordPress 1.0 on her hard drive, but delights in experimenting with new software and technology as soon as it’s available.