by Jodi Harris | Content Marketing Institute | Originally published October 18, 2015

Outstanding visual content doesn’t require the complex process we imagery-impaired, design-phobes think it does. We’ve pulled together eight best practices and 27-plus handy tools so you can up the quality quotient of your visual content, and give your brand a distinct and powerful look – without having to spend a ton of time at the drawing board (literally). We’ve broken the tools into four categories to make it even easier – content image creation and editing; data visualization; video; and games, animation, interactivity, and multimedia.

8 best practices

1. Align your visual story with your content marketing strategy

Making an image and hoping for the best is not an effective strategy. As Buddy Scalera explains, your brand competes with millions of pictures, movies, and stories every day, it needs a smart, flexible strategy in order to reach your targeted audience.

Chuck Frey shares the visual content mistakes to avoid, as experts offer advice on what questions to ask to ensure your visuals further the business’ marketing goals:

  • What are we trying to accomplish with our visual content?
  • Who is our audience and what content do they crave?
  • What problems does our organization solve?
  • How can we best position our business or brand and create a consistent look and feel?
  • What is our clearly defined vision of who we are and what makes us unique? How can we communicate those messages in a compelling way?
  • What metrics will we use to measure success? For which terms should this image appear in search engine results?

2. Be authentic

Tap into your audience’s emotions and say something significant and relevant. Dawn Papandrea discusses how to nail visual storytelling, recommending using images to articulate your brand personality and form a meaningful connection with your readers rather than overloading them with pop-culture images, memes, or anything that doesn’t resonate with your brand.

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