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How to Build The Best Visual Content Strategy

Paid PerfomanceSEO



Visual Content Strategy – How to Plan for the Best Results

Visual Content Strategy: Step 0 – Preparation

Humans rely the most on visual cues to make decisions. It’s no secret to themselves, businesses and marketers.
That’s why visuals are an integral part in any marketing strategy. In the shift to digital, visual content rises to a new level with the help of powerful tools in creation, distribution and management.
This article provides a step-by-step guide to formulate an informed and effective visual content strategy for your business

A visual strategy should stem from the business’ content strategy. In the preparation for a strategy and then a detailed plan, you need to collect the following information:

Previous, current and planned content strategies and goals.
Previous and current performance, especially about visuals, if applicable.
Current buyer persona, focusing on their visual preferences. If this is not available, do it in Step 1 – Research.
Resources, including personnel, tools, materials, and of course budget.
Expectations. Just a general direction is fine, such as “We need more video on YouTube to boost branding” or “We need more infographics on the website to show our great development process”. These will be fine-tuned in Step 2 – Goal Setting with data gathered in Step 1 – Research.

Make sure everyone involved is clear on these before proceeding, whether you choose in-house production or outsourcing for the next steps.
NOTE: If this is the first time you officially integrate visuals into your marketing strategy, expect a gradual transition instead of a jump.

visual content strategy

Visual content strategy

Visual Content Strategy: Step 1 – Research

Key information you need to figure out in this step includes:

AudienceWhat kind of visuals do they react to the most (in terms of views, likes, shares, comments, etc.) and where?
Content typeWhat are the best types of visual content for your industry? For similar products or services? A competitor analysis may shed some light on it.
PlatformsAre you aiming to increase the number of visuals on your sites only or your social pages too? What strategies are you implementing on those platforms? How about the performance?

Of course there is no rule that limits you from trying new recipes, even those so new that no other businesses in your industry dare to venture yet.
The good news is from this step, you can ask for help from experts. Whether you have little or extensive experience in building a visual content strategy, outsourcing to a reliable digital marketing agency is still a practical option.

visual content marketing strategy

Visual content marketing strategy

Visual Content Strategy: Step 2 – Goal Setting

As stated in the article about The Important of Visual Content, there are 4 common goals. One campaign may have more than one goal, but there should be a main goal.
The main goal you choose in this step will also inform the key strategy for the whole campaign.

Goal 1 – Brand Recognition

This goal is closely linked to the question WHERE in Step 3 – Implementation. You need to know where your potential customers are gathering to “bombard” them with your presence.
Maintain consistency in all posts and channels so that no matter where the audience comes across your visuals, they will automatically align them with your brand.
Most of the time, you only need images or short videos for branding. You want to create an impression, not to provide a detailed (lengthy) explanation.

visual content management

Visual content management

Goal 2 – Education

Video and infographics are the best candidates for this goal. You can also repurpose content into visualized formats to save time and resources.

Visual content for educational purposes is more important to companies with complicated products or services.

You don’t need to explain much or educate your audience if your product is simple. But it’s another story for intangible or technical goods.
Also, because the buyer journey of these types of goods is generally longer and the buyers tend to collect more information to make the final decision, this is your golden chance to offer them dependable educational materials..

Goal 3 – Digital Results

This goal is the most direct and often used as metrics (web traffic, leads, conversions, etc.) to measure other goals. After all, every visual content marketing strategy is to boost digital results and ultimately revenue.

However, if you want your campaigns to have quick results, focus on providing visuals that satisfy at least one of these 3 criteria:

Succinct (data visualizations such as lists and charts).
Funny (meme, interactive content or animations).
Useful immediately (how-to video or tutorials).

Decide which stage in the buyer journey you want to see results, then provide visual content that meets the information needs in that stage.

visual marketing strategy for business

Visual marketing strategy for business

Goal 4 – Engagement

Instead of likes or clicks, here we are focusing on the audience’s loyalty and emotional bond to a brand. According to Search Engine Journal, “authentic content & stories drive audience engagement”.

Online users nowadays prefer empathetic content that uses images or video of real people. Behind-the-scenes photo/video and user generated content (UGC) are great examples.

Moreover, to improve audience engagement, brands are striving to provide a “cinematic experience” by telling their stories through visual content on social media.
CAUTION! No matter which goals you choose, make sure your owned sites still run smoothly after adding more visuals, especially video.

Visual Content Strategy: Step 3 – Implementation

Where – Platforms

Before jumping to production, you need to know which shelves your products will be put on, and if those are yours.

If the “display case” is your asset such as your website, blog or mobile app, do your best to UX-optimize it. But it’s not, read the guidelines and rules very carefully to know how to best showcase your artwork.
And no matter which platforms you choose, don’t forget to optimize for mobile view.
visual content strategy for business

Visual content strategy for business

When – Schedule

The answer to the question “when” or “how often” depends on many factors: the type of visuals, the topic, audience preferences and habits, platforms, and of course your production capacity.
Compared to articles, visuals usually take more time to produce. For example, if you go for video marketing, the process may take from weeks to months depending on the type of video.
That’s why you need to decide on this before kick-starting the production.

How – Creation

HOW is the last question to answer in this step because you need to “start with the end in mind.” Knowing where your visuals will be posted on and when you need them will guide you on what types to create and how.
As the creation process deserves more than just a quick mention, we have dedicated an article to show you “How to create effective visual content”.
On the other hand, an often used testing method in marketing is A/B testing – a comparison of two slightly differently designed versions A and B to know which is better for user experience.
A/B testing can be used to test visual elements (colors, layout, etc.) and others (CTA placement, email title, page header). Two specific scenarios which call for A/B testing are website redesign and feature/function changing.
Of course there is a limit. You can’t use this method to see “which infographic is more beautiful” or “which video has more likes”.

Visual Content Strategy: Step 4 – Tracking

There are many analytics tools on the market, both free and charged, to track the metrics you choose.
On platforms such as YouTube or Facebook, there is almost always an embedded tool to help you manage your visuals. And if you want to measure your blog performance, Google Analytics is at your service.

No matter which tools you use, there are 3 important groups of metrics to focus on:

Consumption: traffic, page views, etc.
Engagement: time-on page, reactions (likes, shares and comments), backlinks, etc.
Conversion: subscriptions, leads, etc.

This step also includes learning lessons and suggesting changes for next campaigns.
Tracking performance of visual content must be continuous and even real-time when it comes to social media.

visual content marketing strategy for business

Visual content marketing strategy for business

Learn more: How to create effective visual content for social media marketing.


Just like any other strategy, your visual content strategy should start from your current business and marketing strategy, and the ultimate goals you set.

Different from articles, visuals usually take more time and resources to produce, which requires more detailed planning and scheduling. Moreover, it doesn’t end after your stunningly designed visual content is created, because the task of distribution, management and tracking is just as important.

On Digitals is honored to support you in the whole implementation process of your visual marketing strategy. Contact us today to receive free consultancy on the best practices and tailored solutions for your unique needs.

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