Visual Content that Works: Five Tips

Five Tips for Visual Content that Works

The world is changing faster than ever before, and small business marketing is no exception. Visual Content has become increasingly important to marketers who want to stand out and generate engagement online.

“Marketers who are leveraging visual content are seeing significant increases in their blog traffic, social media engagement, visitor-to-lead conversion rates and inbound customer acquisition results”

– Hubspot

Shareable graphics — often called memes — typically involve a photo, illustration, or background design overlaid with text.  The goal is to create a graphic with interest or entertainment value that compels the reader to read the content and share it with others.

Here are five tips to help you master the art of Visual Content Marketing with Shareables.

  1. Choose compelling images
    The image you use should evoke an emotion like humor, compassion, or a thirst for knowledge. It should be relevant to the content.
  2. Create content that will resonate on a human level
    Your primary goal should be providing value to your reader rather than promoting your business. If you get the first one right, the second one will follow! Share bite-sized tips or interesting facts; include an inspirational or motivational quote; make people laugh or feel a sense of community.
  3. 15.09.29-CCS-coffee-graphic 15.11.11-Vet-day3 good-morning.monday

  4. Be aware of copyright infringement
    Unless you’re only using original images that you’ve taken yourself, this is where things can get a little sticky. Free images abound on the Internet, but to protect yourself you must be aware of the laws involved with sharing them. While we won’t cover this subject in full here, there are a few terms that you may want to familiarize yourself with:

Still in doubt? Try this handy flowchart “Can I Use That Picture?” from The Visual Communication Guy for more guidance.

  1. Size the image for each social media channel
    Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest – they all have their own set of recommendations and requirements. For best results, familiarize yourself with both the size at which the image will appear and the recommended upload size – they aren’t necessarily the same. For instance: to ensure best results when sharing an image on Facebook, it’s typically suggested that you upload a file that is 1200 pixels wide even though Facebook will resize it to 470 pixels.
  2. Brand your images
    Make sure everyone knows it came from you! Branding an image can be as easy as adding a subtle logo or URL somewhere on the graphic. You may also want to use a consistent color palette and typography, but don’t sacrifice variety and creativity for consistency.

“But creating Visual Content sounds so complicated!”

Creating shareable visual content doesn’t require expensive software or a degree in graphic design. Many marketers are very successful creating their images using online software such as or

Have any additional tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

Visual Content: Too much Monday, not enough coffee visual content - spread your wings 15.10.15-coffee-love-caffeinated-communications
Danielle O'Malley-Johnson
Danielle has a BFA in Graphic Design from Central Washington University. When she isn't designing - or reading design books - she loves to decorate and spend time with her husband and two small children. Her favorite coffee order is a Chai Latte.
Danielle O'Malley-Johnson
Danielle O'Malley-Johnson
Danielle O'Malley-Johnson

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These are tremendous examples and so beautiful! I am curious what your thoughts are on using our own image (headshot and other professional images) to incorporate into our visual strategy.

Kristin Heffley

Thank you for your comment, Debbie!

Using a head shot as part of a visual strategy can be very powerful if it fits into your brand. It’s kind of the digital equivalent of making eye contact with someone to communicate friendliness and trustworthiness.

Head shots & other photos can also help to clarify your brand personality. Is your image fun, or serious? Are you dressed formally, or in casual attire? Everything that people see, touch, or interact with is an opportunity to tell your story.

I appreciate the question!


This is a very insightful and comprehensive article concerning photo usage. Particularly, the information on using photos on a human level and evoking emotion, both of which have been known to get more attention “likes and shares” on social media.

Also, great to see the definitions and information on “copyrighting” and the little known rule of creative commons. There was so much useful information, its definitely an article for bookmarking. Thanks Kristin

Kristin Heffley

Thank you! Let me know if you have any specific questions. Your business would be perfect for some great shareables.


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