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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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • S.Hale

    How can we subscribe to your blog to receive new blog postings via email?

  • Dave Crenshaw

    “Adding visual content as a strategic component of the marketing mix is now a must!” Couldn’t agree more, John!

  • Couldn’t agree more. Just bought the book. I hope you do an illustrated version of yours. And great to see you this week!

    • Thanks Jay – don’t think I’m not considering it – although Michael did share how much work it was 🙂

      Great seeing you as well.

  • I couldn’t agree more with this post. As both a Graphic Design and Marketing student, it easy for me to understand why both images and copy are both important when communicating. I really like it when you said, “Images are bit like pastries. They are very attractive and taste very good, but you can’t live on them.” Although images provide a visual that can more easily gain the attention, words are needed to hold attention. For this reason, I really agree that it is important to include visual content as part of the the marketing mix. The correct use of visuals for marketing can help to communicate information better than words alone.

  • Guest

    Wow! Thanks for sharing good post. How can we subscribe to your blog to receive new blog postings via email? I think that 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.

  • So smart @ducttape:disqus. To me this is all about standing out. Michael’s illustrated rerelease is something very different for the book world. The hip visuals stand out in a big way for a product we only see as text based for the most part.

    Reminds me of the growing trend of creating 1-2 minute video trailers for books.

    • I think you’re right Jason, more people are going to push the use of visuals into new places.

  • Great post. With today’s short attention span, visuals really are a great way help communicate a message! It really is a balance between content and instantly relating to one’s target group.

  • Martina Ivanova

    A clever visualization showing the what difference makes having plain text and text accompanied by a visual. (source: http://www.lecontent.eu)