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The Visual Content Inspiration You Need: Standout Examples

sky image with star trailsOver the last several weeks, we’ve had a chance to get recommendations on a lot of aspects of the content marketing process — from ways to find great content creators (both internally and externally), to the latest tools and techniques for executing on and measuring the impact of a content marketing strategy, to ways to infuse content with a higher purpose.

But successful content marketing doesn’t just involve writing and technology decisions. The images that go along with a story work just as hard to convey your business’s value and message. In fact, as videos, infographics, and photo-centric social networks like Instagram and Pinterest continue to gain favor, visual content is increasingly being leveraged to engage and inform an audience in uniquely compelling ways.

For the last collaborative post in our latest series, we asked our panel of CMI blog contributors, Online Training instructors, and Content Marketing World speakers for their answers to the question, “What’s the most innovative or interesting example you’ve seen of visual content marketing?” Following are some of the efforts that stood out in their minds:

The Barcelo Hotels, a Latin American chain, entices visitors to walk up to a kiosk, take a photograph and share it on Facebook. Talk about removing barriers to activity! It gets their name out, one person at a time. Pete Blackshaw of Nestle talked about the power of having your brand show up in people’s shared photographs long before there was an Instagram. It’s earned impressions that carry an implied seal of approval. Heidi Cohen, President, Riverside Marketing Strategies | @heidicohen

Barcelo-Puerto Vallarta image example
Image courtesy of Heidi Cohen

The infographic is evolving. I’m seeing animated GIF infographics and fancy web pages designed to look like infographics, but with CSS animations and embedded video. Here’s an example from Intuit. These would be hard to make and can’t be embedded, but they are really compelling.

death of office-infographic

Visual content dominates the social streams. It might not be innovative, but it’s still very effective to make feature images for blogs with the headline overlaid on top, Canva-style. Eventually, it may become standard to put a headline, quote, or statistic right into the featured images for all blog posts. Andy Crestodina, Principal, Strategic Director, Orbit Media | @crestodina

[At our office] we all loved GQ’s Who Wants to Shoot An Elephant. Gini Dietrich, CEO, Arment Dietrich, Inc. | @ginidietrich

impressionistic elephant image

One interesting piece of visual content marketing is an infographic made by Ginny Soskey of HubSpot called The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Image Dimensions. This extensive infographic has the correct image dimensions for every common social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. For marketers that use — or could potentially use — HubSpot’s product, this is incredibly valuable. Soskey has created a one-stop destination for people to turn to when creating social media images. This is noteworthy because although visual content usually catches a reader’s attention, this piece of content actually keeps readers on and coming back to the page.  Pawan Deshpande, Founder and CEO, Curata | @TweetsFromPawan

infographic-social media design blueprint

Chipotle’s The Scarecrow is brilliant! Scott P. Abel, Content Marketing Strategist, The Content Wrangler, Inc. | @scottabel

Joe Chernov and Ripetungi’s Shark Attack infographic is powerful, showing that you don’t need to cram tons of data into one graphic. Two statistics will do if they’re compelling enough. Doug Kessler, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Velocity Partners | @dougkessler

shark attack infographic

I thought the Volvo Trucks ad, The Epic Split Feat with Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two Volvo tractors was a great example of visual content marketing. It was entertaining, interesting, and it made one say “wow.” I was engaged and, if I were a person who purchased (or influenced the purchase) of over-the-road tractors, Volvo Trucks would be top of mind and have credibility because of the video. Bruce McDuffee, Interim Content Director at Boeing Digital Aviation Marketing consultant, Knowledge Marketing for Industry (KMI)  | @brucemcduffee

I really like what LUSH Digital in Australia is doing with their LTV series. They’ve created high-quality interviews with leaders from a wide variety of industries, including government, technology, healthcare, and sports. There’s no pitch, just really great information that keeps me hanging out for the new episode published every two weeks.

Another favorite is the Beginner’s Guide to SEO from MOZ. It’s a hybrid, for sure, but there’s a lot of visual content to support the text, and the navigation is awesome. Sarah Mitchell, Content Marketing Consultant, Global Copywriting | @globalcopywrite

beginners guide seo-infographic example

For more inspiring examples of visual content marketing, check out CMI’s Visual Content Marketing Look Book: 25 Ideas.

Cover image by Jennifer Trovato via Unsplash