Visual Content Challenges: Missing Out On Marketing Success?

visual content challengesVisuals are content marketing sugar.

Marketers call visuals eye-candy for a reason!

You add sugar to your coffee makes it taste better—right?

Similarly adding images and/or video to each piece of content will sweeten it for your audience.

As a result, your visually studded content marketing will be easier to consume resulting in more attention and action making it a winner!

Need persuasion?

Visuals and videos top the list of content formats according to Social Media Examiner Research. 80% of respondents used video and 63% used visuals. 

Content Format Usage

How respondents use different content formats-2018 Social Media Examiner Research

Further, respondents expect to increase their use of these visual content formats.

Marketers expect to increase their use of video, images and live streaming-Chart

But wait it’s not just the presence of video and visual images!

Here’s how marketers use it:

  • 70% of marketers say digital marketing containing visuals performs better.
  • 75% of marketers always include a visual in their content. Frankly I’m surprised that this isn’t closer to 100%! If visuals improve results, why not add a visual to every piece of content?
  • 65% of marketers share visual content at least daily. Of these, 34% of respondents believe speed is either important or very important. (Contently/Libris Research)

To improve your content marketing results, let’s examine why you need images and video and how visual content challenges hold you back.

Then, we’ll show you how to overcome these obstacles to improve your visual content marketing results.


Visual Content: 5 Reasons Why Your Digital Marketing Needs It

Need to make the business case for great visual content marketing usage?

5 Reasons you need visual content for your marketing

Here’s the best part:

  1. Visual content attracts attention since people see images 60,000 times faster than text. This is good news for marketers because 44% of content marketers agree that it’s more difficult to attract attention.(Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs 2018)
  1. Visual content is snackable, easy-to-understand and memorable. Even better from a marketing, it helps you reach your target audience. Since 53% of B2B decision makers want snackable content and 66% of them want visuals. (LinkedIn/Edelman 2017)
  1. Visual content builds your brand. In addition to including your logo, integrate key brand elements such as colors, fonts and presentation style. Since 72% of B2B content marketers feel that the impact that their content has upon the reader’s experience with their company is important. (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)
  1. Visual content increases the visibility of other content formats, especially for text and audio. Therefore, use images and graphics to pull visitors into other content formats. Specifically add a visual for every 150 to 350 words.
  1. Visual content extends the life of existing content. To accomplish this, change images and visuals keeps old content visible and attracts attention.

Actionable Visual Content Marketing Tip:

  • Set brand guidelines. Let employees know how to present and communicate visually to maintain brand consistency. Further, make your brand guidelines public, easy-to-access and chockfull of examples.


3 Visual Content Challenges And How To Overcome Them

Despite the need for visual content, marketers face 3 key visual content challenges. They include resources, internal processes and content utilization.

Together they reduce marketers’ ability to get their best content viewed, consumed and acted upon.

Are you one of these marketers?

If so, here’s how to minimize visual content challenges.

visual content challenges

Visual Content Challenge 1: Resources

I’ve never met a marketer who had sufficient budget to do everything that she needed to do.

At The Economist, I had a well-recognized brand and a tiny marketing budget.

Here’s why visual content resources can be an issue:

  • 58% of B2B businesses have small or one-person content marketing teams. Despite the fact that 74% of B2B organizations value creativity and craft. (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)

Even worse:

  • Only 38% of marketers can produce engaging visual content consistently and 29% can create well-designed visual content. (Venngage)

To better understand the visual content challenge, tet’s examine how marketers use their resources to create visual content.

How Companies Use Visual Content Resources – 2018 Visual Content Research-Contently Chart


  • 62% of respondents use stock photographs and video. When you use stock images they shouldn’t appear fake. Further, check IP rights to use images and/or pay for a license. Here are 7 Visual Content Tips
  • 51% of respondents have staff create visual content. But Venngage research revealed that 1% of marketers spend 5 hours or less per week creating visual content.
  • 42% of respondents hire freelancers to create visual content. 
  • 24% of respondents crowd source content (or UGC). In addition to being aligned with your brand and positive, you need permission to use UGC images or videos.

Actionable Visual Content Marketing Tips:

  • Select and qualify visual resources to avoid legal IP rights issues. Further, include source credits where appropriate.
  • Provide visual content creation tools and training for staff. Options include Canva, Pikmonkey and/or Loom.
  • Use freelance resources where appropriate. Create prototypes where possible or acquire specialized skills.
  • Batch visual content creation. Develop all related content at one time to save time and resources.


Visual Content Challenge 2: Internal Processes

Companies create some of their visual content challenges due to poor internal processes. As a result, marketers either create new visual content or miss time-sensitive opportunities.

Visual Content Challenges

Biggest Visual Content Challenges – 2018 Contently Visual Research Chart


Here are 3 visual content challenges due to internal processes (Contently):

  1. No clear tags or metadata. As a result, content creators waste time looking for existing visual assets or creating new ones. Even worse, without metadata, this content isn’t optimized for search reducing other distribution opportunities.
  2. Long approval processes. May cause missed distribution opportunities.  Create visuals with other content formats so that they’re approved together reducing the need for additional changes.
  3. Right size content for specific needs. Determine all visual content size presentations needed across distribution options together to reduce duplicate or extra costs.

Actionable Visual Content Marketing Tips:

  • Develop editorial guidelines for visual content. Where possible, allow an editor or designer to approve images and video.
  • Establish a process for tagging and auditing visual content. Add this text to each visual. Also, include visual content in your content audits.
  • Streamline visual content approval process. Determine where approvals get sidelined. Then create a fast track based on the editorial schedule. Where appropriate, include visual content signoffs with related content.
  • Create a checklist of presentation formats and sizes to ensure that you have content to share and distribute across all channels and platforms.


Visual Content Challenge 3: Content Utilization

Unlike other visual content challenges, under-utilization of visual content can be difficult to assess.

How do you know what you’re not doing?

Here’s the problem:

  • B2B buyers must see 11.4 pieces of content before purchasing according to Forrester.

How did B2B content markets respond?

  • 51% of B2B content marketers created more content in 2017 than the prior year.
  • But 50% of B2B content marketers didn’t improve their content distribution in 2017. (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)

Here’s the kicker:

  • They could have gotten more mileage out of their existing content.

Wonder what can you do?

Use these 4 steps to maximize visual content utilization:

  • Optimize images and videos for the 5 key audiences to maximize each visual’s ability to attract attention.
  • Integrate visuals into all relevant content types. Remember–they’re eye-candy.
  • Extend visual content distribution across owned, social and third party channels. Further, circulate visual content over time.
  • Utilize visual content across your organization. Include sales, customer service, human resources and internal communications to reduce duplicate efforts.

Actionable Visual Content Marketing Tips:

  • Consult other departments before creating visual content. Get their input to reduce duplicate effort.
  • Include a call-to-action in every piece of visual content. Where appropriate create tailored landing pages to increase trackability.
  • Extend content distribution over time. Expand visual content promotion beyond one month post-publication. Here are 60+ ways to distribute content.
  • Update and/or refresh visuals to extend content life. Where possible do this when you initially create visual to use the same resources. Also have budget to refresh existing visual content.



Visual Content Challenge Conclusion

While visual content, especially video can be difficult to produce, it’s content marketing sugar that breaks through the content clutter to attract attention and encourage action.

Therefore, where possible, include this eye-candy to improve your otherwise lackluster information.

At a minimum, sprinkle it into every content and social media effort.

While you’re at it, stretch your marketing budget by creating contextually relevant images and video in the sizes and presentations you’ll need at the same time.

To further reduce visual content challenges, streamline internal processes to remove obstacles to once and done visual content while expanding content distribution.

Go on, overcome these visual content challenges since images, photos and video use is certain to continue growing.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and Google+.


Photo Credit: cc zero

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