Developing a visual communication strategy isn’t unlike creating a standard online content strategy. You have the same basic foundation of demographic research, topic creation, developing voice and tone, and SEO considerations, but there are points at which these 2 strategies peel away from each other. The first point of divergence usually begins at the content research stage. Finding the proper content to visualize rather than compose into text can be the difference between a successful visual communication strategy and stale content.
First, a quick note on what visual communication actually is. From a marketing perspective, visual communication is the graphical representation of information to efficiently and effectively create meaning while limiting the use of text to explicate that meaning. The main goal for any visual communication strategy, especially online, is to quickly capture and maintain audience attention, so the key is limiting text and keeping the emphasis on the visual content.
Like any other marketing strategy, a visual communication strategy always starts off with good old-fashioned research. You need to find out what opportunities lie ahead using your knowledge of the target demographic and your end goal for the visual content. Here’s where we create our first checklist:
Next, let’s look into the visual assets themselves. This is where a visual communication strategy differs most from a standard online content strategy. You’ll direct the majority of your attention toward style, color, and branding — these are highly interdependent elements and will set the emotional precedent of your strategy. The ultimate goal here is to align your visual content with the ideal perception of your brand.
Secondary, though still very important, elements to consider include the visual format — how you want to present your information — and sizing. There are dozens of formats in which to present your visual content (e.g. infographics), and the amount of content you have will dictate how you should visualize it, but that’s a post for another day. Just remember to keep it simple. Sizing is especially important when you plan to promote your visual content across multiple channels. You may want to consider creating multiple assets for your blog, social channels, and any PR efforts you may be undertaking.
Now that we’ve figured out where we’ll be hosting our visual content, we should start looking into messaging. While going through your checklist, keep these 3 simple guidelines in mind:
- Keep it brief
- Provide a CTA (call to action)
- Don’t forget your audience
Finally, the time has come to pull all these checklist items together. Once you’ve answered all the questions, you should have a good idea of the direction your visual content is going. By making this checklist, you have essentially planned your visual communication strategy down to a granular level, which allows you to add any missing pieces to the puzzle as a well as discover any opportunities you may have initially overlooked.
Nothing in the above checklist should be thought of as the only way to create a visual communication strategy. You may want to add more items to the checklist or take some away to tailor it to your brand’s needs; this is meant to be a dynamic practice that allows you to pinpoint opportunities and determine your direction.
Download the checklist here.