By {grow} Community Member Mars Dorian

When I started blogging, I was determined to build a powerful online presence around my personal brand.  I conjured Rambo-like courage and grit. Grrrr.

After a year of pure sweat and daily commitment, I was not gaining any traction. It was frustrating.

But when at the very moment I began to experiment with visual storytelling, things took off.

This revelation is an example of broader communication trend in how we spread ideas online.

Why the visual marketing is happening (and what it means to you)

Whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, people love showing and sharing images online. And it’s not only the “normal” crowd. In the tech and marketing world, it’s infographics and cartoon-based marketing campaigns that get spread just as fanatically.

But please don’t dismiss this as a fad. This is WAY deeper than that. Social networks like Pinterest may rise or fade, but visual storytelling has been with us for thousands of years and will continue to evolve.

It really is a progression (bitter tongues may call it a regression) of how we consume content. Just like Shakespeare’s literature feels stiff and indigestible by today’s reading standards, so will purely text-based content in the near future.

The almighty Internet has turned us into ADD weasels with the attention spans of gold fishes, and that means we want easy-to-consume, straight-to-the-point information. Not dumbing it down — you can be witty and sharp as a blade — but you have to present your content in a brain-friendly manner if you want to make it spread today.

An example from my personal experience

I created a visual, cartoonish branding guide called “The Outstander.” To promote it online, I uploaded a 20 preview slideshow to Slideshare. 24 hours later, it was featured on their homepage, attracted over 65,000 views … and it even produced some new commissions.

When I asked people why it’s so popular, they all said it was my cartoons paired with the short, witty statements. And these people aren’t die-hard comic geeks — they are a traditional B2B and B2C audience.

Visual marketing is Jedi-powerful. It can dramatically help you sell your products and ideas online.

Six tips you can use immediately to make it work for you

  1. Create content-related images that capture your whole idea. Instead of choosing generic stockphotos you find on the net, (please don’t), go for custom, well-chosen images that truly represent your content and ideas.
  2. Visualize your brand with high quality, original photographs, even if you’re in the B2B niche. No HORRENDOUS stock photos of tooth-paste-ad-style-smiling blondes with headsets. No. I mean real, well-shot photos of your team, preferably presenting it in an authentic and genuine way.
  3. Make stats sexy. Whether you want to spread data and,stats internally in your company or publicly, using infographics is a sure-fire way to make people ENJOY consuming stats and it encourages them to share the information.
  4. Be stunning. Go for beautiful product shots. I took special care with creating my visual branding guide, giving it a glossy 3D cover shot. My customers said it played a vital part in their buyer’s decision. Stunning product shots increase sales, even for digital products.
  5. Cut to the point. Visual marketing also means you have to change the way you treat language. Concise and effective text rules over fluff and elaboration overkill. Pretend you’re paying a fine for every excess word and sentence you include!
  6. Use visual storytelling in your slideshow presentation. One idea per slide, packaged concisely in 1-3 sentences with support of a striking, relatable image. Check the popular slideshows on the Slideshare homepage for effective examples.

Yeah, I know it’s a lot of work. But the standards of content (sharing) keep surging onward. Text overload is passé.

If you’re fighting for attention, give your audience some eyecandy and cut through the clutter.  Do you have some favorite examples of this?

Mars Dorian describes himself as a creative marketeer with a moon-melting passion for human potential and technology. You can follow his adventures at www.marsdorian.com/

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