Persistent Surveillance founder: “We have more fun than we should be allowed”

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“We are open about what we do, and don’t mind people nosing around. I probably wouldn’t haven’t named the company what I did though, it gives people the heeby jeebies.”

Ross McNutt is not a typical technology startup founder. For one thing, his company, Persistent Surveillance Services, is based in Dayton, Ohio. For another, he’s a middle-aged father of four and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But in other ways, he’s a model of classic Christensenian disruption, a scrappy outsider who’s picking off the customers of mainstream incumbents with a much cheaper, technologically inferior product, a novel approach, and highly individualized customer service.

He’s got a publicity gameplan that deliberately courts a safe but media-baiting degree of controversy, is expanding rapidly overseas, and into other business verticals. And of course, he never flinches when he says he is making the world a better place.

Only McNutt’s incumbent competition is the Department of Defence and its ecosystem of contractors, and his primary customers are domestic and foreign police departments and law enforcement agencies…

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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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