Photography – Rise of The Visual Content

Over the years, I have meet a ton of photographers who make their bread and butter from the Web. They, as well as many other modern businessmen, have figured out how to work this digital global market to their advantage. Stock photography, creating travel ebooks, taking pictures of local events and selling them online, illustrating brand content, outsourcing photo editing skills, blogging, sharing affiliate links, selling canvas and other wall art on Etsy, making snap photos for local business websites, offering consultations and image critiques – there many ways on how photographers can make money online.

Although most older professionals still feel that it isn’t quite necessary for their younger and less-experienced colleagues to have a powerful digital presence in order to win big in this industry, there are numerous cases all over the world what prove their theory wrong.

Often described as a tool to capture real moments in a timeless frame, photography has actually never been a true representation of reality. It’s a misconception that has been around for years. Even an ‘unmanipulated’ photograph tells a different story from the one that’s going on in front of its objective. The reality of the photo solely depends on the technical elements that make it look what it looks like in the end. The angle of the camera in which its facing its subject, the lighting, the type of lance being used to capture the specific setting, the exact moment when the picture was taken – these are all elements that have significant impact on the final result of the photo.

It doesn’t matter if you take a thousand photos of a same the situation, any alteration to these above mentioned elements, will completely change its context. Your photograph can never be the same. That’s why photography is so interesting. It gives a person behind the camera an infinite number of possibilities to create new and exciting things. It’s a tool that tells stories and describes emotions through stills.

For anyone who has any interest in photography, the modern web presents an endless sea of opportunities. It’s a place where good and interesting images make all the difference. Although copy/content still plays an important role in SEO and getting people to spend more time on your site, visual content really ties your story together. It sells and it helps people make deeper and more powerful memories of your efforts.

The Power of Visual Content

Everyone knows that great visual content stimulates emotion. It helps people connect with your words, intent and brand on a much deeper level.

Visual content plays an important role today, especially on social media. If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last ten years, you probably know that social media is extremely present in our everyday lives. Wherever you turn, it’s there. Left or right, everything you see around you has probably already been (at one point in time) photographed and posted on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram or Pinterest. 

Social media is bigger than porn today. That’s right, it’s the number one thing that people do online. It’s one of the best ways to get humans to notice your work and consider reading/looking at your content.

Years ago, it was all about long textual posts. You had to write 2000+ word-long drafts in order to get someone’s attention online. Hell, everyone who knows anything about SEO knows that Google used to love those giant “Word Frankenstein” posts. If your blog post had less than 700 words in it, it wasn’t even worth publishing.

Yep, SEO was that brutal, but, yet again – it was much easier to manipulate.

Nowadays, it’s all different. The popularity of such websites as Buzzfeed and Upworthy stands as a testament that Google has changed its philosophy. Ok, maybe not “changed”, but it certainly did tweak it a bit.

Thanks to Twitter and the micro-blogging revolution, the definition of popular content has been updated. Nowadays, human beings have the attention span of a goldfish. Information just runs through their heads. Their focus lasts no longer than 8 seconds. If you don’t get your targeted audience instantly hooked on your message, the chances are that you’ll never gonna make them see your work.

This is where visual content shines. Great and compelling images have the power to distribute messages and emotions in a matter of seconds. It’s like a steroid for you copy. Great visuals have the power to boost your messages and help people think of your work in a whole different light. Just look at Instagram. The overnight success of that app truly proves the value of producing and distributing visual content.

Nowadays, people don’t have the patience to read, especially while they’re on the go. Wherever we hangout, we’re exposed to insane amounts of information. We don’t have the capacity to fully digest everything that is being served our way. It just isn’t possible. So, what do we do? – In this information overkill, we browse through stuff until we bump into something that steals our attention for just a second. We choose with what to engage, and what to ignore. As someone who is on the other side of the table, someone who is creating information that’s supposed to reach people, you must figure out a way on how to make it interesting and easily accessible.

The Rundown

Visual content is just a tool for telling stories, nothing more, nothing less. It sole purpose is to help your message find it’s audience in a way that seems interesting to them. 

The guys at Piktochart wrote a great post on this subject. As they said in their 5 Psychology Studies That Tell Us How People Perceive Visual Information:

“Visual information processing is the visual reasoning skill that enable us (or even animals) to process and interpret meaning from visual information that we gain through our eyesight.

Visual perception plays a big role in our everyday life. It helps us in learning and interacting with others. Perception happens so effortlessly. The ease of which we rely on such effortless perception, we tend to overlook the complexity behind it. Understanding how we interpret what we see will help us design our visual information.”
That being said, there are many different ways on how to make your visual content even more effective. It’s not all about the pictures. Posting a great photo with the wrong message or context can be counterproductive. 

Before going any further with your efforts, you should have a clear picture in your head what you’re trying to relate to your audience. When using any type of imagery, make sure that is works for your brand. Make sure that it helps people connect better with your business or your campaign. Avoid promoting and creating generic visual content. It’s always better to bring something different to the table.

Why Is Visual Content Important In Business and How Do I Make It Work For Me?

As Zabisco wrote in their research paper, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. Their results also state that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text.

Visual content is of great importance to all those who work in marketing today. It helps them significantly increase their blog traffic, social media engagement, visitor-to-lead conversion rates and inbound customer acquisition results.

They are many types of visual content. Images, infographics, slideshares, memes, videos, and comics – these are just some of the more popular ones that you see everyday on your timeline.

A lot of business today invest a lot of money into producing high-quality visual content. Why? – Well, because, if done right, it can go viral and give you and your brand insane exposure.

How to Make Visual Content Go Viral?

Although this may seem pretty straight-forward, making shareable and likeable visual content is not quite easy. Before you even start working on a message that you want to send with your material, you should first research your demographic. You have to know what your targeted audience likes and how to get it in front of their eyes. 

To master that, you have to become a real market psychologist. You have to be cognizant of what’s going on in your niche at any time and how to work your market. Easy, right?

/starts crying like a little girl/

To be frank with you, there really isn’t a bulletproof recipe for creating material that people will love every time, but there are three simple rules which are commonly overlooked when creating visual content:

1. Find a deeper commonality: Your audience always has some things in common, obviously. They have some characteristics that make them a group. Look a little deeper at their social profiles, the data, where and when they post their favorite things. Next to that, most importantly of all, try to figure out their interests. There are some simple tools to do this like FollowerWonk or Twtrland. Changes are, your audience all have an interest in a common thing which you never knew about.

2. Make it shareable: Use sharing or engagements as a KPI. Do everything you can to ensure that the content you’re pushing out is easy to share in a click. If not, people will just see it and leave. You don’t want that, at least not when you’re trying to make a certain piece go viral.

3. Keep it simple: If you can explain the concept in 5 words, you’re onto something great. Like I wrote above, we live in age of instant information. People are far too distracted to deal with something that isn’t quite that clearly served to them. If you want to achieve success in making something go viral, a wider audience needs to be able to relate to it. Wherever possible, target as NICHE an audience as possible – this is Buzzfeed’s key strategy, and it works.

In the end, everything depends on what type of content you’re producing and who you’re trying to reach. There are no tools or tricks to help you amplify something that makes people see it as valuable – when it truly isn’t – so, whether you’re writing long blog posts, taking photos of certain situations, items or people for client needs, be sure to focus on the quality of your work. If you don’t create something that’s worth sharing or buying, it probably won’t be seen or purchased by anyone.