The Definitive Guide To Leveraging Your Visual Marketing Without Breaking The Bank
LAST UPDATED: TOPIC: Content Marketing
Have you caught the visual marketing buzz yet?
Visual marketing is the new black of the content marketing world. Everyone is boasting of the incredible ROI it results in, the huge social fan-base growth and the massive engagement stats overall improvements.
The power of visual content is massive, indeed.
Source: The Media Octopus
The truth is: your content strategy without visual marketing is like chocolate cookies without chips. It tastes similar, but not as good.
So, you have casually browsed the rates of videographers, designers and other creatives and been left feeling devastated by figures that are well beyond your budgets.
But how are your competitors doing it? Do they have bigger budgets? Are they making use of content marketing tools which nobody knows about? Do they know the secret handshake that grants access to some hidden low-cost designer community?
They follow a proven blueprint, using a strategy that keeps costs down while reaping massive rewards with visual marketing.
So let’s walk you through the secrets of low-cost visual marketing.
1. Power up Your Toolkit with Free and Cheap Visual Marketing Tools
Visual marketing is not expensive when you have the right tools at your disposal.
Here’s a handy list that will have you covered at all times:
For Blog and Social Media Images
Canva – is a free online image builder with multiple templates for different social media graphics (Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter Images, Facebook posts and covers, Google+ and more). Loads of beautiful fonts and simple drag ’n drop tools included.
Pixlr – free Photoshop alternative with pro photo editing tools and some cool filters to tune up your pics.
Wordswag – a great app to craft beautiful quote graphics for Instagram and Facebook. Priced at $3.99 at App Store.
Google Drawings – perfect for sketching out a thought, creating mind maps and funny doodles.
BeFunky – an all-in-one editing tool that transform your pictures into cartoons and allows you to make minor edits.
PlaceIt – integrates your website or app snap into an awesome free stock picture.
For Infographics, Charts, Graphics and Screenshots
Easel.ly – a drag ’n drop infographics tool with loads of free templates that allows you to get creative.
PicktoChart – a great tool for creating everything from long infographics to shorter blog graphics to illustrate your concept.
Infogr.am – an all-in-one tool with loads of free infographic, graphic and word count tools and templates.
Skitch – an amazing free extension for Evernote to create instant screen captures and annotate them.
CloudApp – animate a series of screenshots with this tool. All your images are stored online and ready to be re-used anytime.
Create.ly – our go-to solution for complicated flowcharts, mind maps and complex diagrams. Visually appealing and very simple to use.
GoAnimate – animate made simple and affordable. Use drag ’n drop tools to create a short animation, and the tool will help you auto sync the narration. Plans start from $39/month.
VideoScribe – helps you create the popular whiteboard animation videos without hiring a videographer. You can upload your own images for the app to draw, add voice-overs and music overlay directly in the software and receive a $1000 looking video for just $12 per month.
Camtasia – is our favourite tool for product demonstrations and ad-hock videos. The app can record on screen activity, instantly sync and overlay the narration and turns PowerPoint presentations into amazing videos in 30 minutes or less.
For more amazing tools, check out the following power lists:
- 45 Giveaway Tools to Create Amazing Visual Content
- 89 Visual Content Creation Tools for Content Marketing
2. Know Where To Find Attractive Free Visuals
You are now armed with the tools and enthusiasm. The next question is – should I splash out on stock photos and other visuals?
Here’s a list of free stock photo websites with all images licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 licence. Feel free to use and modify them in any way you like.
Six free stock photo websites that will sort you out:
StockSnap – aggregates images from multiple free stock photo websites. Has a great search system in place to browse through an extensive library.
SiteBuilder Stock Up – another great stock photo aggregator with more images to search and choose from.
New Old Stock Photo – vintage photos from the public archives free of copyright restrictions.
The Pattern Library – loads of free-to-use patterns for background images.
FoodiesFeed – mouth-watering food images in high resolution and free for all to use.
PikWizard – over 100,000 completely free images on the site.
For more copyright-free image resources check out this curated list on Medium.
Bonus tip: Use Compfight to browse Flickr Creative Commons library; just make sure you know the different licence types and always reference the image owner within your post.
3. Take advantage of strategic content re-purposing
Here’s the deal: on average it takes up to 20 hours to create a compelling, well-researched blog post with visuals and data. Video production can take from a week to a month depending on its scale.
Multiply that by an average hourly rate and you’ll come up with a hefty sum that’s likely too rich for a small business owner’s blood.
Simple and elegant solution?
Enter, content repurposing.
Content repurposing is a tried-and-tested strategy of strategically re-cycling your old blog posts into brand new attractive visual forms. The particular appeal of this approach is:
- Relatively low (if any) costs involved
- An opportunity to tap into a new audience segment
- Major traffic growth
How to Repurpose Your Content
Now that you’re aware of the potential benefits, let’s get down to the practicalities. Here’s a step-by-step plan to guide you through the process:
Identify your best performing posts
Tap into your Google Analytics and choose the Site Content tab. Pick a timeframe for analysis; it should be a period of three months at least.
Quick tip: Evergreen content and how-to tutorials are best suited for content repurposing.
Identify the posts on your website that generate the biggest buzz, and come up with the best ideas for repurposing.
Here’s a quick example.
Let’s say your most popular post is, 13 Amazing Ways To Repurpose Your Blog Content. You could repurpose as:
- SlideShare Presentation: How To Repurpose Your Blog Content
- Video: Tutorial: Repurposing Your Old Posts For New Traffic
- Infographic: The Ultimate Visual Guide To Repurposing Content
Identify the Best Platform to Target
You have multiple options when it comes to visual marketing – presentations, video, infographics, visual guides, eBooks, whitepapers, visual social media posts and more.
Take this SlideShare as an example.
Ana Hoffman managed to gain more than 200K presentation views, 1400+ visitors and several Google first-page rankings in just one month using SlideShare.
You want these results too, right?
Well, simply copy and pasting the words from your blog posts onto the slide won’t do the trick. But, if you follow our golden rules you can create an epic presentation in just a few hours:
- Use approximately 8-10 images per minute
- Let each photo appear on the screen for 3-10 seconds, but no more
- Have no more than 15 words per slide. The best strategy is to have just one call-to-action, or one key statement, per slide
- 800 X 600 is the ultimate presentation size for SlideShare.
- Use well-paired typography and fonts. Here’s an excellent guide for this.
- Use catchy, relevant images to illustrate your points.
To give you some more visual ideas, here are a few presentations that nailed it:
1. You can include links in your presentation. But make sure you don’t overdo it in case you trigger SlideShare spam algorithm. As a general rule of thumb, have a link to relevant blog posts, and links to your social media and website on the final slide.
2. You can embed clickable social media share buttons at the end of your presentation. Here’s a quick guide to help you.
3. Add visual call-to-actions eg, ‘Pay with a Tweet’ to download the presentation. This is similar to embedding social media buttons.
4. Use LeadShare to grow your email list. This add-on tool developed by LinkedIn allows you to harvest the email addresses of those who download your slides. Simply insert a capture form inside the presentation or in the description.
Learn more tricks on reaping the biggest rewards from SlideShare from The Marketers Guide to SlideShare by KissMetrics.
What are other visual options for repurposing content?
Did you know that you can easily refurbish a single blog post into up to 20 new content marketing pieces? The vast majority of them are visual.
And there’s no need to break the bank to do it.
Here are 11 more highly effective bite-sized pieces of advice:
- Animate your SlideShare with Camtasia, add voiceover and publish it as video on YouTube and your Facebook Business Page.
- Visualise the data and tips from your blog post in an infographic with one of the free infographic tools we’ve already mentioned. Next, use the guestographic method to attract links and promote your visual.
- Create shareable graphics based on your blog post to publish on social Media.
- Create Pinterest graphics with Canva and pin them to relevant group boards for bigger reach.
- Create a visual checklist or mini-guide and use it as sign-up bait to attract new readers to your newsletter.
- Publish a free e-book based on the most popular posts from the archives and offer it to new subscribers.
- Publish your visual checklists, guides and whitepapers on doc sharing websites like DocStock, Issuu and Scribd.
- Shoot short behind-the-scene videos of your team for social media. An iPhone should be enough for this and customers love getting sneak-peeks and seeing the human face of brands.
- Get on Periscope the popular tool for steaming short videos in real time and engage with your audience. It works well for business announcements, product tutorials, short webinars, Q&A sessions and interviews.
- Invest in good lighting and film yourself speaking on a topic that interests your community. Tell your own story about starting out and how you overcame difficulties; share your brand values or film your take on a topic that’s trending eg, your opinion on a popular brand redesign.
- Create a visual case study or whitepaper by adding fresh data and charts to your original blog post. This type of content can be used as a valuable link-building asset, as others will likely refer to the data and quote from it in their posts.
So, what is your take on visual marketing?
Does it still sound like a costly and ineffective strategy for your business? Share your views on Twitter by tweeting us @TinderPoint.