6 reasons why visuals should rule your content marketing strategy

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Words are really not enough.

Sometimes we want to say something but can’t find the words, or we want to describe something for which there are simply no words. Maybe that’s why we are fascinated with images, paintings, motion pictures and visual arts. The same is true for content marketing. You can’t just blab for 2,000 words in a blog.

Content can’t live on words alone.

Visual content marketing is not only easier on the eyes; it’s also easier to digest. An infographic hits hard because it presents and explains complex data simply and concisely in a visually stimulating way. An image with a statistic or a short quote impresses us more forcefully than a kilometer-long blog.

One thing you must know about the brain: It processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. No wonder marketers exploit visuals in their content marketing. Millions of content pieces bombard your audiences every day. You want your content to stand out and make an immediate impact.

According to research by MDG Advertising, content with images gets 94 percent more views than text-only content. Sixty-seven percent of consumers consider clear, detailed product images very important and say that images carry more weight than product information. Engagement increases by 37 percent when Facebook posts include photographs.

The reign of visuals in content marketing is here to stay. Here are six reasons to focus on images in your strategies and campaigns:

1. Visuals give consumers something to snack on.

Content with too much text clutters all social media platforms—there’s too much information. How do you stand out?

Instead of subjecting followers to a long, detailed blog, why not offer them a one-minute video? Give them something they can consume now, not save for later.

Understand that people have millions of choices; they are always in a hurry and have become unbelievably impatient. Give them bite-size visuals to snack on. Your visual should make them say, “Oh, there’s a sale happening this weekend,” or, “That looks like a cute café around the corner.”

2. Storytellers must show, not tell.

This is the one rule that storytellers must obey—and marketers are storytellers.

Don’t just talk about a brand—show your audience what it does, what it stands for and the story behind it. Don’t expect consumers to take your word for it. Create a user experience with stories told through visuals.

[RELATED: Master your visual communications prowess at the National Geographic Museum.]

Visuals may be the best way to tell a story, thus the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” You can always count on memes, GIFs, comics, graphics and other visual arts to tell a good story that audiences love.

3. Images are the new headlines.

David Ogilvy, the father of modern ad copy, said that “five times as many people read the headlines as read the copy.” That’s true today, with the addition of images.

Headlines make you click and want to find out more. Images do that more effectively. Text will not be enough in a mobile world addicted to visuals.

4. Images are social-media friendly.

If you’re on social media, don’t be satisfied with likes and comments. Shoot for genuine engagement.

Data from socialbakers.com about the top 10 percent of posts on more than 30,000 brand pages on Facebook proved that posts with visuals generated 87 percent of pages’ total interactions. Tweets with images also got 18 percent more clicks, 89 percent more favorites and 150 percent more retweets.

Adding visuals enhances your brand and boosts engagement in your audiences. Visuals make your content more shareable.

5. Visuals are audience magnets.

Among the most important benefits of visual content is its ability to attract and build an audience. Visuals are a magnet pulling consumers to notice your brand.

By including images, you maximize the attraction of your content and entice audiences to look at your brand. Converting text to visuals increases awareness, helps your brand generate traffic and drives social activity.

Our eyes by habit look at images that are stunning, disturbing and emotional. Add visuals to your content to attract audiences and make loyal customers out of them.

6. Visuals appeal to emotions.

Images are powerful—some movies have very little dialogue and yet elicit big emotion. Imagine a blog post topped by a close-up of a really sick child or a photo of utter devastation. Wouldn’t that give you more reason to click and read? Visuals make people understand better and faster, and care even more.

Colors also affect human emotions by drawing different feelings from audiences. They also influence how audiences will decide, take action and feel about something. Colors are very important for marketers.

The exploding use of Instagram, Pinterest and Vine proves that visual content marketing is more than a trend. It is here to stay. Visual content makes up 93 percent of all human communication, so it’s fitting for marketers to strategize visually. The challenge is finding the right blend of visuals, words and design to make your content memorable.

Emily Harper is a home stylist and upgrade consultant. She also writes articles on lifestyle, security, technology and the latest trends. Check out her blog.

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3 reasons your best employees quit

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Meet Mary. She’s a motivated, hardworking employee. Mary’s been with her current company for more than three years. She feels like she’s paid fairly and receives great benefits, and she loves her job and co-workers. But Mary’s still looking for a new job with a new company.

What’s scary for a lot of employers is that Mary is not alone. An October 2015 Gallup poll of more than 13,000 employees found that the last time respondents changed roles in their careers, 93 percent also changed employers. Considering this, many employers are desperately trying to figure out why so many employees are leaving.

Related: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Bond With Your Team

Employee retention is no longer only about making employees happy in the present—employers also have to consider employees’ satisfaction with the future.

Here are three reasons employees feel they need to leave a company and how you can inspire them to stick around:

1. Employers aren’t helping employees define career paths.

A 2015 LinkedIn report surveyed more than 10,500 workers who had changed jobs. It found that 59 percent of respondents did so because of better opportunities and a stronger career path. For perspective, only 54 percent took a new job because the compensation was better.

For employees, the ability to grow and continue on their career paths is extremely important. They’re waiting for employers to show them how they can do that within their current companies.

To help employees define their career paths, ask them where they need assistance. Everyone has their own goals and expectations for their career and, unless employers discuss this with their employees, it’s nearly impossible to be part of that growth.

Start a dialogue with each employee about what he or she would like to be doing in five, 10 and 15 years. Determine what skills they want to acquire or sharpen, and tell them which they need to be successful. Then, develop a plan and track their progress.

Most importantly, give employees the tools they need. Offer leadership training, mentorship programs and work experience in a variety of departments. This will help employees meet their professional goals and employers retain well-trained, high-performing talent.

Related: The Best Employees Stay With Companies That Help Them to Get Better

2. Employees’ success isn’t tied to the company’s success.

Everybody likes to know that the work they do impacts their company. However, most companies compensate employees for their performance, not how they affect the company’s success. Employees are part of the process, not the result.

Download this free white paper to discover smart ways to measure your internal communications and link your efforts to business goals.

Giving employees stock options or shares of the profits rewards them for how their work has improved the company as a whole. It makes them feel like an integral part of the organization instead of just a cog in the machine. Receiving profit-shares or company stocks strengthens employers’ relationships with their workers. It tells employees that their employers recognize that the company’s future relies on the workers as much as it does on the founders or CEO.

3. Employers don’t promote from within.

In LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016 report, 32 percent of the 3,800 talent acquisition professionals surveyed said employee retention was a top priority for their organization. Surprisingly, internal hiring was only a priority for 12 percent. It’s no wonder the majority of employees want to leave their companies to advance.

If a new management position is available, don’t run to the job boards to find a candidate. Turn to current employees. Even if they don’t have all of the necessary skills and experience right now, current employees understand how the company works, as well as what their co-workers want and expect from a superior. These important insights can take an outsider months to understand.

The other benefit of promoting a high performer is that employers control how fast the transition is. This way, employers can ease them into new responsibilities and out of old ones at a pace that allows them to get their bearings in the new role. This chain of promotion is less jarring to the company.

For example, if Mary is promoted, she’ll still be in the office to train Jeff, the employee the company promoted to fill Mary’s old job. Jeff, in turn, can help Ken, who will be performing Jeff’s previous duties—and so on. Less time and resources can be spent on training outside employees and, as issues arise in the future, you’ll have an expert on hand to help.

What other factors push employees to new companies, and how can you address them to improve employee retention?

Related: 4 Ways to Entice Departing Talent to Return

Andre Lavoie is CEO and co-founder of ClearCompany. A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Copyright © 2015 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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