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Content Marketing: The value of DIY visual assets

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 14 Dec, 2015
Essential Essential topic

Good quality pictures are key to getting your content shared, here's how to create them

The value of DIY visual assets cannot be overstated - they are simply priceless when it comes to adding value to your content. Visual aids in content marketing have been proven to up engagement and achieve business objectives, such as brand awareness and engagement.

Learn why your content marketing will not only benefit from visual aids, but also how you can achieve these without breaking the bank, and how they can generate increased traffic and engagement for your brand.

Increasing audience engagement with an image

According to Buffer, tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favourites and 150% more retweets than those without - while , Facebook posts which include photographs receive 39% more engagement than those without.

By adding visual aids to your blogs, your content is not only more likely to be read, but you also increase its likelihood of being shared across social media platforms. For example, Buzzfeed have generated 47.5 million engagements including 13 million direct shares of their content - this has now risen to 50 million. Not only are they leading on social engagements for their content, these include people sharing their content. It’s clear that Buzzfeed owe their success in viral content to their visuals.

Visual content not only receives higher levels of engagement, but can also drive growth and even act as a lead generation tool. The more visual content you put out, the more you build an image of your brand being associated with those images. This is vital in building a picture for potential new customers and if you’re responsible for taking your own photographs, you won’t have to worry about compromising on the visual representation of your brand or potentially even confusing customers by re-using imagery - which they’ve previously seen elsewhere.

When it comes to marketing, the proof is in the stats: if you want to have more success with your content, visual aids are guaranteed to increase engagement - giving your marketing strategy a significant boost and placing you ahead of the competition.

When it comes to getting your content noticed, a picture is worth a thousand words - so stop writing and start snapping.

Choosing the best tools

As a content marketer, finding an image to support your text can be frustrating - sometimes leading to a complete re-draft in an effort to match your content to a suitable image. To avoid wasting time searching for the best visuals for the piece, try taking up your own camera and shooting exactly what you need for your article.


You don’t need complicated or expensive kit to take your pictures, a simple point and shoot camera will do the job - or failing that, your smartphone camera can be the perfect tool, and you’ll always have it to hand.


The basics

Picking up a camera with a variety of different buttons and variables can be daunting, but it’s usually easier than it looks. It’s a common misconception that you need to have a high-level camera in order to take visually stunning photographs, or that an intensive course is the only way to learn about photography in extensive detail - but that’s not the case.

There are three basics to photography: rule of thirds, composition and lighting. Once you’ve learnt how these three will affect the outcome of your photograph, there’s no need to splash cash on lens kits or professional lighting (unless it becomes a hobby you want to pursue in your personal time).

Due to the increasing popularity in visual content marketing over the past few years, there are now a plethora of resources available online for those who want to learn more - but for now, we’ll share with you three tips to help enhance the quality of your images.

Rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is essentially the rule of thumb when it comes to photography - you break your photograph down into nine equal parts by dividing it between two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Placed on those lines - or in the centre of those intersections - should be the most important subjects you want to focus on within the photograph.

For example, if you’re taking a photograph of a door, you would want the handle of the door placed in an intersection on the left or right, depending on its position. Once you’ve grasped this, composing your picture should follow naturally.


The placement of your subject focus within your shot ties in with the rule of thirds. If you can manipulate where your subject focus can be within the shot, then arrange it in a space where there are minimal distractions around the subject to take away from it’s importance in the shot.

If your subject’s surroundings are immovable, then try switching up your location to ensure your subject is the focal point.


Learning to manipulate lighting to your advantage can be tricky - especially in natural light. This is something even professional photographers struggle with, but natural lighting is always far more flattering for your photographs in.

For outdoor shots, try taking your photographs when the sun is still at it’s brightest. If you’re photographing indoors, have your subject or object placed as close to a window as you possible.

If your photograph still comes out too dark for your liking, then there is another option to create the effect you want.

Case Study: Coca Cola

An example of a visual content marketing strategy that uses both of these techniques is the Coca Cola advert promoting “Love is the way”. As you can see from the image, the tagline itself “Love is the way” is placed on one of the horizontal lines, while the remaining lines break up the photograph and centre the can of coke. The photographer has also purposefully placed the can of coke in front of the sunlight rather than behind - eliminating any shadows that might be cast behind the subject.


Editing your photography

As you can see in the Coca Cola photograph, the background is blurred - something that can be achieved in the editing process.

Again, there is no need to splash out on software like Adobe Photoshop - as most tools are available online, with sites like Pixlr providing essential tools.

Many of these websites have an ‘auto’ tool that detect what the photograph is missing - so there’s no need to spend hours trawling through the tools and learning how it all works. One click of a button should give you the desired effect.

Generating backlinks

Once you get snap savvy, you can maximise the impact of your marketing through the use of your own photographs - and then sharing them to creative commons sites like Flickr.

Using Google’s reverse image search can help you find places that your photographs have been shared - and from there, it’s a case of getting in touch with sites and asking for a link back to your website.


The value you’ll get from investing time in this skill is immeasurable - so start taking your own photographs to support your piece and watch your engagement soar.


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By Expert commentator

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