Standing Out in the Crowded Content Marketing World with Visual Storytelling

Content marketing makes such a positive impact on buying decisions because it provides potential customers with value. It doesn’t interrupt with phone calls, junk mail, or even catchy ads. To stand out in your prospects’ crowded inbox, though, you need to take a page out of Madison Avenue’s playbook. When you add visual storytelling to your content marketing toolbox, you can take your content strategy to a whole new level.

Communicating information without selling, as CopyPress’s John Hsu characterizes content marketing, often becomes blasé. Vanilla without even a bit of bean to chew on.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Even though your industry might be:

  • Highly technical
  • Mundane
  • Completely lacking in glamor (think: trash removal)

You can still tell incredible stories with memorable visuals. Grab your audience by their heartstrings, and your brand will stand out from all the noise, as the Phoenix Business Journal’s Sheila Kloefkorn points out.

It’s one thing to point out that your car, for instance, has a gazillion safety features on it. But it takes a powerful visual story of a teen driver surviving a crash because of those features to cause potential customers to take a deeper look.

Love. It’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru, right? It’s also what can turn your bland content strategy into compelling stories. Stories that make your brand a standout.

And when those stories include powerful visuals, you bump up the conversion factor by a significant number. With nearly two-thirds of the human race made up of visual learners, it’s no wonder that content that contains images yields 1.8 times more engagement.

That’s not all. Custom visual content produces seven times more conversions. Videos that feature a product or service increase the likelihood of someone buying it by 85 percent.

Make Your Stories Revolve Around the Customer

What makes that Subaru ad so memorable is that it doesn’t position its brand — or even its product — as the hero. It’s a subtle difference, but if you look a little closer, you’ll see that it’s the teen’s parents who are the heroes.

Because they bought their kid a Subaru.

But What If My Products Are Boring?

You might think, “Well, that’s fine for Subaru. But we’re a manufacturing firm. We make boring parts for air conditioners. Not even the air conditioners themselves.”

You’d be wrong. Remember that old poem, “For the Want of a Nail?” Your boring parts, your concrete sidewalks that people never think about until they crumble — even your trash pickup service — all can serve as the weapons that help your customers slay their personal dragons.

If a nail-maker’s product can be the fulcrum upon which the fortunes of nations turn, so can yours. Use visual stories to drive that point home.

It’s your perception, not your products and services, that you need to adjust.

Manufacturing machine parts takes one heck of a lot of smarts. So does picking up trash. A knowledge of logistics and sanitation protocols, for starters.

Bottom line, no matter what your industry, you can create visually appealing stories about how people can use what you produce to better their lives. When your content planning team meets, start with what your products and services do for your customers.

Then, come up with visuals that portray those benefits in a compelling story. When you begin with the customer at the center and tell their stories through attention-grabbing visuals, your content will stand heads above the rest.

Use Customer-Generated Visuals to Tell Their Stories

Invite customers to post their own videos and photos on your social media accounts. Statistics show that customer-generated reviews earn 12 times more trust than the content your team produces.

When you pair that number with all the statistics about the power of visuals, you’ll likely see numbers that will put your content on center stage. Turning those customer experiences into stories can extend their power even further.

Go beyond the testimonial page on your website and add some of these stories to a few of your blog posts. Posts that feature a story increase engagement by a factor of three.

Empower Employees to Post Their Own Visual Stories

There are no better people to tell how your products and services have changed lives than those on the front line — your employees. That’s probably why when they share content, people engage with that content eight times as much as content your official channels share.

Again, when you pair the power of employee-generated content with that of visuals, you amplify its impact exponentially.

Allow Enough Flexibility in Your Calendar to Accommodate Timely Stories

Although having a content calendar is a must to organize your content, you need to allow a little wiggle room for time-sensitive stories, says Advance Web Ranking’s Payman Taei. We would agree — wholeheartedly.

That advice goes double for content that incorporates visual storytelling. Let’s say you were an N95 mask manufacturer who went above and beyond the industry standard even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

You learn that one of your customers — a construction worker — had been part of a crew who was exposed to the coronavirus, thanks to someone who came to work sick. All his coworkers were wearing other brands of masks. He was the only one on the crew who didn’t contract the virus.

If your content team is agile enough to shift content around, they could come up with a slew of content around this story.

  • Your video team could interview the lucky survivor — even on the job site where the exposure happened.
  • Your copy and design teams could create a blog post, replete with infographics showing test results that show your masks’ superiority in filtering out virus-filled droplets.
  • With a press release and a few well-placed calls, your content could go viral without your paying a dime.

That’s the power of a well-placed story, illustrated with visuals to drive your point home. When you use images in your story, potential customers will likely retain at least 65 percent of your content, as opposed to text-only posts.

Visual storytelling can turn even a root canal into the magic potion that your customers can use to turn their pain points to dust. It’s all about focusing on what that product did to improve your customers’ lives.

In the case of a root canal, it can turn a pain-ridden, dour executive into a cheery, positive leader. Freed from her pain, she can lead with confidence. When you can make your audience feel that executive’s joy, they might just make that appointment for their own root canal.

Storytelling with vivid visuals is a lot easier when you have a single place where you can plan, collaborate, publish, and automate your stories. With that kind of efficiency, you can move immediately when you happen on a compelling story about how you’ve helped a customer solve a big problem or have a better life.

Our content marketing platform allows you to do just that. In fact, we believe that it will simplify your content production so much that we’re willing to offer you a 14-day free trial.

No obligation, no hard feelings, no risk. If streamlining your content creation process could make your life easier, why not get started today?