3 Essential Elements for Engaging Visual Content

By on March 1, 2018

Creating a brand is fairly easy. You sit down with your brain trust (or your notebook) and start gathering adjectives that you want your business to be. You emphasize the guiding principles of your business, what problems you’re setting out to solve, and how you’re going to act while you’re doing it.

Maintaining a consistent brand is harder. Having ideals set out is one thing, but to execute all those great ideas regularly and while under stress? That’s a whole new level of policy management, culture cultivation, and client-facing content control. You’ll need to systematically develop on-boarding, figure out how to maintain a consistent business face, and somehow create quality customer service.

Before you can even begin regulating your brand, though, you need to figure out what it looks like. What are the visual elements of your brand? This is the in-between step, somewhere past all those adjectives jotted down in a notebook, but before you’re figuring out how to effectively scale up and hire wisely. It’s the step that can make or break a business’ publicity, depending on how well it’s executed.

Don’t let it break your small business. Put thought and effort into how you build the physical components of your brand so that the esoteric ideals you hold are effectively communicated to potential clients.

Use of Color

Elements of design are simple, and yet it’s easy to get them wrong or end up a little left of where you want to be. When you’re making decisions about colors, fonts, shapes, and other symbols for your brand, remember to keep it simple. The fewer bits of extraneous information the brain is trying to interpret, the better chance your message is coming through loud and clear.

When selecting colors, do your research. There’s a reason that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Skype are all blue. These icons create a sense of calm and trust among users, which helps the platforms promote interconnectedness and relationship building. However, be wary of assuming that colors alone can dictate the message your brand sends; when potential clients perceive a color to be poorly matched to a brand, they react to it less positively than if the pairing made sense.

Color makes a big difference in first impressions, but branding is continued and supported through fonts, symbols, and other visual elements you choose to represent your brand. It’s unlikely that a law firm would choose Comic Sans as their banner font when trying to appear professional. Conversely, a plain, no-nonsense serif font won’t win a daycare any style points. Spend time looking at multiple options before you make any commitments, and always keep user experience at the front of your mind.

Page Setup

Once you have your basics down, it’s time to work them into a cohesive piece of advertising, be that your website, a social media post, or a banner ad. The way a page is set up will dictate the way a user’s eyes travel across the image or page, creating an eye path. Laying information out in a visually interesting way and using space to your advantage can elicit certain behaviors from users, such as clicking through to desired pages or staying on a page longer.

The space “above the fold” on your website is what you should populate first. This goes the same for social media posts that get shrunk down or cut off with a “show more” button. If there’s super important information about who you are and what you do, put it first — without overcrowding. People will scroll if they’re interested, but they make their initial page assessment based on what they see immediately.

To retain viewers, use your design elements to create an eye path that highlights what’s important to your brand, and aim to pass the 5 second test. That is, all the relevant information should be available to the viewer within the first 5 seconds of evaluation. If you can identify the purpose of your site immediately, there’s a good chance you’re well set up.

Content Structure

If you can get people on your site through high ranking search engine results or effective visual marketing, you have to make sure you deliver on your promise. Can you actually provide the information they’re looking for, and do you obtain a reasonable number of conversions on the pages you do get traffic through?

The visuals of your website play an important role in where consumers focus once they reach your page, but your content must live up to expectations. Provide high value information in a clear and concise manner. Strategic utilization of headers to mark sections, bullet points for easy skimming, and bolded or italicized words to move the eye across the page all serve a generation of skimmers while still communicating your points. Videos and images are also effective ways to interrupt blocks of text and keep a page visually stimulating to a consumer.

When optimizing your content for conversion, always keep the customer in mind. It’s easy to focus on your business and what you want and need. However, if you seek to serve the customer and optimize their experience, you’re more likely to provoke a positive response and create a sense of brand loyalty.

Optimize Away

Visual interaction defines the way you remember a brand. Before you set foot in a store or call the customer service line, you have to interact with some form of visual — a storefront sign, a social media ad, a flyer, or a website. Spending extra time on the details that draw people in can make or break your campaign. Optimize your content to build an emotional response that matches your brand, make your content easy to find, and most importantly, provide the information that people are looking for. You may just find your reach growing faster than you know how to respond to.

About Avery Phillips

Avery Phillips is a unicorn of a human being who loves all things related to people and their entrepreneurial spirits. Comment down below or connect with her on Twitter.

Like what you're reading?

Like us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for more!