What are visual impact graphics and how they are different from the other graphics we see out there today? Visual impact graphics are feed stoppers. They’re the stuff that stops you when you’re scrolling down your social media feed like Facebook. That’s the ultimate goal of visual impact, and that’s what we want. Consistency of graphics for highlighting your content from day today and week to week is not what you should be going for. The visual way that podcast graphics looks with the layout, color placement and type face, where all look the same from one to another, rank much lower than ones that are different. Different people look at different things. One of the things that you should strive for is having a unique image, a unique header, and even unique colors from week to week. You basically want to make the majority of the image look different. See the difference when you mix up the font colors, the background colors, the images you choose for your podcast graphics.
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Visual Impact Graphics
Today, we get to talk about one of my pet peeves in the brandcasting, podcasting, content creation world that we live in. That’s about graphics that have real great visual impact. My pet peeves are graphics that don’t have that real visual impact that I think they should have and so easily could have. I think we really need to define what we mean by visual impact graphics. We think of it as feed stoppers. If you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed, what gets you to stop? That’s the ultimate goal of visual impact. That’s what we want.
We have the school of thought which we fight clients all the time on and it drives me crazy. I’m surprised how much we do have to emphasize this point with people. It’s usually the branding, the PR and the marketing agents, the ones are more about the style of things and less about the content of things, so the graphic firms, those kinds of things. They’re more about the consistency of style and presentation of their client’s brand. It’s that consistency word that I really want to emphasize here. I am of the opinion that consistency of graphics for highlighting your content from day-to-day and week to week is not what you should be going for.
There’s a really difference of opinion in this marketplace about how this works. We can tell you, from all of the podcast episodes and all of the blog posts that we’ve done and all of the graphics that we’ve done over time. We’ve done easily thousands because we do at least two for every episode. Even on our own podcast, that would be a thousand right there practically. We’ve looked at that over time and we know that the ones that have sameness, in other words, you have the same format on your graphic header or on the square that you create as your featured image, the ones that have the same exact stylistic sameness to it, same color background to it. The title might change, the words might change but the visual way that it looks with the layout of it and the color placement of it and the type face, all look the same from one to another, those rank much lower than ones that are different.
When you think about it, it really makes sense. If you’re scrolling through LinkedIn and you’re going through the Pulse and you’re seeing all these different articles people putting up there. Different people look at different things. People that are more visually oriented are looking at the images going by. People that are a little more, I guess analytical might be reading the titles that are going by. Let’s just talk about the visual impact. As you go through and you’re looking at all those, if people use that same format image from post to post and only change the title or change an ingredient image within it, it really looks the same. People scroll by there and they think they’ve read it before. It doesn’t grab their attention. It doesn’t say, “I’m different. Look at me. Pay attention to me.”
It also doesn’t provide that visual cue to the title, which is really what we strive to do, is have a visual cue that matches the title of whatever that might be. Maybe it’s about money and we want to have money in the background so we want to have a visual cue to financial management. It’s a difference and we try to mix it up all the time. There’s a couple of really important things also I want to point out, is that another issue is when somebody comes to your Facebook page, so for instance it’s your page. Not everybody does that because usually they’re looking in their own feed. Let’s say they just found you and they go to your page and they scroll down your page. If every single post looks the same, they’re highly unlikely to like your page because they think you’re spamming them with constantly sending out the same message again and again and again, the repeat message, which always feels like push sales. If they look the same as they’re scrolling through that quickly through your feed, and they’re like, “I definitely don’t want to like this page. I’m just going to get stuck with the same message pushed at me.”
I want to just got go into little more detail as to where some of these comes from or what we don’t like, where we see it coming from. Some graphic designer or marketing person lays out a style guide for your business. If you have a podcast and you’re going to create this graphic image for every episode. Usually, the ones that are problematic are where they have the host headshot is there and the guest headshot, so side by side. Graphically, everything else is identical; same background, same pattern, same colors, same fonts, the title changes. But think about that every single week, the host is just one person. The host headshot never changes. The only thing visually as you see image from week to week that changes is the guest headshot.
A lot of times, it’s just not enough within that image to make a visual impact, to be a difference. It comes from this idea of, “This is my podcast and I’m promoting my brand and I need to really present my brand. That’s got to be in a consistent certain format, certain style.” I understand that argument, but in this modern world of social media, which is what we’re all competing for to get attention on social media, that kind of image is not going to do you a lot of credit. It’s just not going to be very effective. We’d rather have effectiveness.
Constant and consistent is one of our biggest importance but we want you to have constant and consistent growth as well. If you’re defeating that purpose by people not clicking on you, by people not choosing to listen, by people not responding to when it’s in their feed, then we have an issue. When we talk about constancy and consistency, we’re talking about in creation of new content, of creating original material in your voice that’s getting put out there on a consistent and constant basis. That means original, visual impact graphics as well.
I’m going to give you an example. This is a client of ours who we have been working with. He had a podcast already. He was already a podcaster. His name is John Livesay. He has his podcast called The Successful Pitch. It’s a great podcast. If you’re at all interested in learning about what it takes to present to investors, to pitch to investors properly, this is a podcast you may want to listen to. It’s from the investor’s point of view, which is really unique so you can learn what they’re looking for, what they want to see in a pitch. It’s a great show.
I encourage you to go to his blog and look at it because you will see that in his first 80 or so episodes that he ever did, he had this format of image. It was the same week to week. The only thing that changed was the guest headshot and the title, but it was in the same color, same fonts. Even if you just scroll through his own blog, you will see how visually, it’s just the same, the same, the same. You have to really read those titles to really know what’s different and to learn what you might want to click on and learn more about and listen to an old podcast. Then get to episode 90 or so is where he started working with us, and you will see every single thumbnail image in the blog feed is unique. Every header image at the top of every blog post is unique. Those same assets are what he uses to push it out on social media. Now, when you see any post that John will make on Facebook or LinkedIn about his posts to spread his message to the world, you will see that no two posts look alike anymore because every single image is unique.
There is a small ingredient of that image, which we highly recommend for everyone, to brand it as The Successful Pitch podcast. It’s a small, square image in usually the lower left or lower right corner, it depends on the image that week where it would fit best. There’s occasionally some podcasters who like a whole band across the bottom, which is up to them. It doesn’t matter how you want to do it, you can have that ingredient somewhere, but you basically want to make them the majority of the image look different.
One of the things that we strive, and I go back and audit our team on occasion and make sure they’re really doing it, is we also don’t want to have sameness in any kind of color from week to week. I try to get them to mix up the font colors, the background colors, the images that they choose. If we end up with too many in a row the same, I give them a hard time and say, “You got to mix this up better. You got to be thinking about what you did for them last time. Pull it up and look at it because we don’t want to see that especially in a course of a month.” If they’re doing four episodes or eight episodes in a month, we want to see differences between them all so that there really is a variety that happens in their own blog post, on their own blog page and the feed in their social media.
You’ve really got to put yourself in the shoes of a viewer on social media. Anybody who will be out on Facebook or LinkedIn scrolling through their feed, they’re looking for things that catch their attention. They’re not looking for ho-hum boring stuff. They’re waiting for something to jump off of the screen and grab their attention. If they think they’ve seen it before, they’re just going to keep on going.
Another analogy, you’re in the supermarket and you’re walking down the aisle of food, maybe the cereal aisle or something. You aren’t going to pay attention to Cheerios because you’ve seen the Cheerios box a thousand times, walking through that aisle in the store, or the Rice Krispies. There’s certainly brand consistency there, but what are you going to notice? You’re going to notice something walking down that aisle that’s different; a different color, a different image, it jumps out and grabs your attention. Which is why those cereals boxes and all those mix it up on occasion, change up the outside of their boxes. That’s why Wheaties was doing so well with putting different sports figures on the cover of their box, “Who is going to be on my box of Wheaties this week?” That’s really where they did something unique and caught the attention of moms and the kids going down the aisle. That’s how they managed to differentiate themselves and that visual impact in graphic form is huge.
We were talking a while back, almost six months ago at least, with the PR agent who is one of our Brandcasters. When we were discussing why hers wasn’t gaining traction, why she wasn’t gaining a lot of traction in the early days. I did an audit of her podcast and her blog post page. I discovered that her assistant was changing the images. We were providing these graphic images for them to use and they were changing them out to the same old image. We were giving them the good new graphics but they weren’t being used by her assistant and she was like, “I didn’t realize that.” She felt that they needed to go back to the brand synergy of what we wanted, the visual impact we were going for was keeping her brand streamlined. I said, “This explains the whole thing of what we just discussed about how this is when you’re flipping through the feed and when you’re looking through it,” and she’s like, “I can’t believe that I didn’t really think this through. I tell my clients the same thing.”
She would coach them on doing press interviews. Don’t wear the same thing in every video, in every interview every time you do this because what happens is that it looks like you did them all in one sitting. Especially if you’re doing a series of videos for either webinars or maybe it’s a different chapters of a book that you’re presenting that are being put out in different things. If you’re going to record a series of videos in one day, that is always the number one rule. You’ve got to change your shirt, your blouse, your jacket, whatever, for each one. Even if you’re recording four in one afternoon, you’ve got to have four different outfits. Even if your hair is the same, your clothing color is enough. You got to change it up, and the backdrop and your background. It is the same principle. That’s another thing. You don’t want to start each video with the exact same backdrop.
She was like, “Of course, that makes such sense. I tell them the same thing,” because people think they’ve seen it before and then they don’t watch it. You always have lower viewership, lower listenership, lower click through, lower conversion. Consistency and constancy is about putting out original but we want to also give it visual impact graphics to make sure that it looks original.
This is one of my pet peeves. When we get a new customer who says, “No, all of our graphics have to be this particular way.” Those are the ones who have style guides all planned out by their graphic team. This is where you really have to fight for this because this is your authority. This is your brand. This is where you want to gain more power. You need to use every single tool in the toolbox that we’re giving you. You need to use them all because you are struggling to be seen above 1.2 billion websites on Google and you are struggling to get heard and read from hundreds of thousands of feed that’s going through your phone in any given minute and your mobile feed on any social media platform. Too many things to not to have enough visual impact.
Eventually, it becomes a conversation with a client or somebody who’s interviewing us about this subject. “You can have consistency in your visual image and have everything look the same from post to post or you can have more people find your stuff. You can have a greater impact out there on people and build an audience and build a bigger following. Which one of those would you rather have?” Most of them become convinced.
The numbers don’t lie. With thousands and thousands of podcast that we’ve done and blog posts that we put through and graphic images that we’ve created. When there is this mix, it works every time compared to the ones that do not. There is a high percentage difference in the click through rates. As a company, we wouldn’t have a staff of graphic designers who are full-time employees doing nothing but creating these images every single day if we didn’t need to. We’re not going to spend money on something that doesn’t provide a significant return for us and for our clients.
We hope this has helped you. We invite you to send us some feedback. We’d love to hear from you, make a comment, send us a message on social media, @FeedYourBrand, and let us know what you are up to. We’re always happy to have a healthy discussion and even a little debate about some of these things, as long as it’s all civil and professional.
We’d love to invite you to check out BrandcastingYou.com/app and check out our new app. We’re testing out something really cool and new and we’re really excited about it. You could basically have Feed Your Brand right in your phone with its own app button and you could get the podcast, the blog post, messages all in one place. You don’t have to search through your feed anywhere else to find all that you need about Feed Your Brand. You don’t even have to go into iTunes, so it’s cumbersome to go in to subscribe to a podcast. You could just have the app, it’s free and you’ll always have it right through your phone as soon as it comes out. Check that out. Thanks for listening. This has been Tom and Tracy on the Feed Your Brand podcast.