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Why You Must Add Visual Content to the Mix

Look around these days and you’ll find it’s hard to miss the growth of sites and services that rely on the more visual aspect of our senses growing rapidly.

Sites like Pinterest and The Fancy rely on lots of pretty picture to tell stories and attract visitors.

Infographics and visualized data still attract lots of interest.

It’s a well documented fact that images get much more engagement on social networks like Facebook and Google+.

Even Twitter, land of 140 characters, has introduced a visually based service called Vine in an effort to grab a greater share of the eyeball.

A picture immediately lights our emotions and initiates a complex cognitive process that is a true wonder in the world of science.

The rise of the popularity of images in marketing and learning, however, may have less to do with the brain’s cognition powers and more to do with the reality of our own information possessing load.

Visual scanning has become a key web decision and filtering routine due to the sheer weight of what we attempt to consume.

Marketers must now use visual content strategically to invite those visual scanners to the party and simplify and illustrate more complex concepts.

visual content
An example illustration from Book Yourself Solid Illustrated by Michael Port

Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid, recently re-released his popular book as an illustrated guide – Book Yourself Solid Illustrated. The book takes the core concepts explained in oh so many words and turns them into pictures that “show” the concepts.

I think the work is brilliant and certainly pushes the bounds of a “how to” book to new places. Look for others to follow suit.

Every marketer should get this book and embrace both the concepts and the way the concepts are presented as a key demonstration of the role of sight in communication.

As with all things, however, balance is still crucial. It’s tempting to look at a site like Pinterest and think all you need are images. The fact is you still need a healthy blend.

Images are bit like pastries. They are very attractive and taste very good, but you can’t live on them.

How often have you heard these words uttered? “The book was better than the movie.”

Or as many rabid baseball fans will attest, a good radio broadcast of a game beats the television version any day.

The fact remains that words and sounds can paint a far more visually and emotionally appealing picture when used evocatively than, well, even a picture. The key is that pictures tell the story immediately, while words take far more time and effort.

It’s the careful fusion of words, sights and sounds that draw in all the senses and tell the complete story that marketers must strain to build.

Adding visual content as a strategic component of the marketing mix is now a must!

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