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Written by: Hassan Khan

August 10, 2015

The Psychology of Images and Infographics in Content Marketing

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Have you ever wondered why we usually look at the top image of a blog post?

Images communicate. They make us curious and stimulate our minds as we view them.

It’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Not only do they say a lot, but they also have a huge impact on how the text that accompanies them is interpreted. The right image supports the main points made in the content, which is why content marketers always use images.

Infographics are not a new part of the marketing arsenal. We have been looking and using the infographics for years. In fact, brands try different engagement strategies, and have seen that infographics are a form of communication which takes less time to consume and delivers more than the rest.

If you’re wondering why images have a psychological impact on readers, then you should know that the study  ‘Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche,‘ conducted by John Suler at Rider University, resulted in amazing findings on Images and Psychology. One of the interesting things was that our unconscious mind never forgets but intrigues us even when the conscious mind has already forgotten a piece of information.

Have you ever wondered why we see flyers, banners, and different advertising boards?

Because they’re there for us. They want our attention. What advertisers want is to create brand identity. So they keep on showing us products in the form of pictures and images to influence our buying decisions.

Brand Positioning is a marketing concept which has been adopted to create brand identity in the customer’s mind. This marketing concept is used to differentiate a product from competitors’ products.

“Images are deeply psychological and go way beyond just looking nice,” says Ann P Bennett, The Branding & Marketing Expert.  She talks about eight types of images that have a deep psychological impact.

In this article, you will learn how signs, logos, pictures, and images impact our decisions based on observations, subconscious thoughts, and intuitive feelings. Plus, you’ll learn how using images and infographics in your content marketing will give you an edge over the competition.

A Few Examples

Have you seen McDonald’s signature?

Even if the McDonald’s name and logo are not seen on a signboard, McDonald’s fans still recognize the ‘M’ sign.

mcdonalds

Who doesn’t know Mercedes-Benz?

Mercedes-Benz is a world popular German automobile manufacturer, which is known for its luxury automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks manufacturing.

Mercedes_logo-6

Are you an avid iPhone user?

Then you can easily recognize the logo sign of Apple Inc.

Captura de pantalla 2015-08-02 a las 10.18.09 a.m.

Why does this happen?

The power of visual content actually plays with the mind of the audience. Marketers utilize the psychology behind this power to attract and merchants/retailers use it to sell.

In content marketing, we use content to educate, entertain, and convince the audience. Brands find content marketing one of the most useful and sophisticated ways to reach out to prospects and clients. Not only does it help attract people who are already aware of the brand, but also those who don’t know about it at all.

If you’re wondering why we should consider content marketing as a part of our overall marketing campaign, then you might need to understand the concept of content marketing. Take a look at the goals which we should be targeting in our content marketing campaign:

5 Goals of any Content Marketing Campaign

To engage the specific audience

The content you create in various forms should be for helping, attracting, and engaging the audience. The specific audience means your target audience. It’s the audience that could be your potential customers.

To express concern for the customer and achieve brand coherence

A brand that regularly publishes content knows the value of giving something to customers and prospects. Brands write their blogs to express their concern for their prospects and customers.

To eliminate misconceptions

Help and engagement can be done in any way. Guiding the audience on the possible threats, speculations, trends, and to fight against the fear of rejection are important pathways to adopt in any content strategy.

To describe the significance of the product

A blog is a perfect platform for any company to describe its products or services to the audience. It gives you the liberty to engage, discuss, and solve the customer’s problems so that they get attracted and make a soft image of your brand that might lead to a buying decision.

To deliver the utility and awareness

One of the important goals of content marketing is to expand the awareness program and brand’s image in the customer’s mind. Many companies use their blog to create so much value for the audience. Buffer’s blog is famous for publishing useful content.

Psychological Factors of Images and Infographics

Psychological factors of images and infographics are the signals that transform the value of the message into an unconventional solution. A screenshot that was taken from a Chrome extension Nimbus or Awesome Screenshot could be extremely useful for a cause if it helps send the message.

Take a look at 4 Psychological factors of Images and Infographics:

The Powerful Expression of Views

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It’s a proven fact that images have been quite helpful in making any type of content successful. The visual realization, colorful appearance, and clarity of stance are the vital points that give a strength to images in blog posts and articles.

Psychology is a study of mind and behaviors — and it means that infographics, banners, or any other type of images in the content reinforce the message of the content and give it a powerful way to be expressed. Although, it depends more on the content being written, but the value which is being transferred from the image content can’t be underestimated.

The Buffer is a popular social media sharing tool with an active blog and great writers. They are also extremely good at creating images and using them in their blog.

buffer-blog-images

This Forbes.com article supports my point and clearly states why images are important in Content Marketing — And more importantly images create an impact on our social media presence and site’s SEO.

Jayson DeMers explained the benefits of using images as part of content strategy.

“There are several good ways to use the images in your content strategy, each with unique strengths depending on the context of its use,” says Jayson DeMers.

jeffbullas

 Jeff Bullas has been pretty impressive with his Branding and Psychology of Images. I’m quite impressed with this guy. Besides his in-depth and useful content creation, he knows how to use his name and face for marketing. He has developed his unique position in the online marketing field with his unique blog name and his own avatar in the logo.

Your standpoint is what you believe in. When you use your picture in the content or anywhere else, make sure it shows confidence, reliability, and effectiveness. We can drill down the point into various sub-points to clarify the stance. The following are the expressive signals that images, pictures, screenshots, and infographics emit in order to assist the readers:

Authority

Whether you create images with a tool like Visme or hire a graphic designer to design your banners and images, when you get persistent with your image-adding strategy without compromising the quality (of images), it helps you build authority.

Clarity

Infographics are far better than regular images when it comes to the clarity. Images give a sneak peek of the topic or the point being discussed while an infographic takes you off the ground with its enriched resources, references, and information.

Conciseness

Both the images and infographics have the ability to comprehensively describe the point without expanding the size of written text. The graphic designing ability of the designer surely makes this happen.

To Emphasize

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Images give heavy support to the content. SEOs and Content Marketers always recommend using images in articles. As far as the psychological aspect is concerned, images drive attention to a point. Not only do they explain the standpoint, but also give support to the content creator.

It’s quite obvious that a reader who stumbles upon the article, reads the title, and sees the image which is placed right before the text content of the article.

Why wouldn’t he ignore that image?

He’s got no reason to bypass the image and directly start reading. In fact, almost every reader would look at the image in the first place in order to understand the story.

Ashley Zeckman of TopRank Online Marketing recently wrote an amazing post on Email Marketing. She used a beautifully designed featured image on her blog post which attracted me at once.

emphasis

If you look at another article related to Email Marketing, I’m sure you’re going to like the previous one. I found an article of IncomeDiary related to Email Marketing, no doubt you will find helpful and amazing content on IncomeDiary. I know this probably because I’ve been a regular reader of IncomeDiary, but if someone lands on an article without a featured image then he might not be interested so quickly.

See this:

incomediary

You can decide this.

The choice is all yours.

I’m sure you’ll pick the first one from Ashley Zechman because it is more interactive, appealing, and colorful.

Psychology has a huge connection with all those mechanisms. You might not feel that way if you don’t care about the minds and behaviors of the readers.

Things that grab the attention of the readers on a blog or website are:

Design and Theme

The web design might be the very basic thing which a visitor observes in order to make a decision. Theme and Web design involves body structure or web layout, theme or templates, and other designing effects.

Fonts

Fonts are a big psychological boost for the readers. You probably never thought about it, but you could have felt a little turned off when visiting blogs with unpleasant font styles. You can easily change your fonts in WordPress using your CSS.

Headlines

Headlines, of course, attract the readers. A reader likes to open the blog post that looks helpful to him/her. It is also believed by the experts that a blog post headline with 60 characters is a perfect headline as far as the length is concerned.

Colors

Colors are an essential part of the website design. From text color to body color and link colors to banner colors, wherever the coloring is involved, it has a connection with the psychology, because colors are connected to the choices (of people), and choices make us decisive on liking or disliking as well as on choosing or rejecting.

The Relevancy to the Cause

It’s necessary for all of your images to be coherent with the theme of the message. Whether you’re using stock photos or created your images/banners using the tool like Visme, its relevancy is going to depict the quality, maturity, and effectiveness of the message.

From featured post image to inside the post image —wherever you need to express the point with a graphical representation, images will be required to get this thing done.

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Free stock image sites like FreeImages, FreeDigitalPhotos, and FreePhotoBank help content marketers to use the free stock images and photos in their content. Most of the free stock image sites require users to make a free account in order to download and use the images.

Nicole Dieker recently wrote a guest post on Leaving Work Behind blog. She used a quite interesting featured image in her article related to freelance writing. Not only does it represent the writing opportunities, but it also fits with the color scheme of the blog.

leavingworkbehind

Get free stock photos from Unsplash and PicJumbo.

Better User-Experience

There is no doubt that images and infographics help readers to understand the point fantastically—better than simple blog posts with no images.

It has been seen that blog posts without images result in low click-through rate, engagement, and shareability as compared to the blog posts with images.

Images of all type bring versatility in the content. The addition of images brings value to the content. It creates a perception of research and hard work, which is ultimately a right thing to assume.

In order to explain the phenomenon, I would like you to take a look at these screenshots taken from two different articles. First one is without a featured image and the second one is with a featured image:

#1

socia-sharing-1

#2

socia-sharing-2

Images do make a difference in the popularity, social sharing, and engagement of the readers, which is why top bloggers like Neil Patel, Brian Dean, Brian Clarke, and Darren Rowse use images in their blog posts.

3 Reasons Why Images and Infographics are Important in Content Marketing

The strategic way of using content begins with the creation of helpful content for the target audience. A blogger or content marketer tries his best to create a useful blog post for the audience. Similarly, images (and all forms of images such as infographics, screenshots, featured images etc) are one of the pillars of the content which make content successful.

There are three reasons of using the images in content marketing:

To Draw the Attention of the Visitors

Images surely play a big role in setting up everything in place. The written content alone won’t do much if it doesn’t have any kind of attraction in it – images come in at this point. Images give the content a fascinating look. Heatmap and CrazyEgg are the heat map tools that record the page areas where visitors click a lot and stay longer.

To Help Content Get Ranked

It’s been observed that the content which ranks higher in the search engines is always in-depth and have images inside it. Social Media experts believe that high-quality and in-depth content perform well on the social as well as in the search engines. Social media sharing may not be directly associated with search engine ranking, however, it is believed that social media sharing makes content credible and improves its ranking in the searches. Pablo and Share as Image are interesting social media sharing tools to share images on the twitter and facebook.

To Increase the Reader’s Engagement

One of the major reasons of using the images in the content is to engage the readers. Content marketers always try to use relevant images or screenshots in the content — Why? — because they want a pause, they want to attract the readers with their content to engage them. For instance, this online tutoring website has an official blog where they publish content related to online tutoring and school assignments, they always use a featured image on their blog posts to make sure that the readers open up the post and look little deeper in the blog posts.

Your Turn

Infographics and images are incredibly important, however, their use and optimization process ensure that they continue to be useful for the whole system.

Imagine, all the graphically written text on any beautifully designed infographic turns into the text-only form…

Would it be that effective anymore?

I’m afraid it won’t be.

Because the graphics give that piece of information a pleasant appearance and sophisticated look. So, it’s basically the graphic designing that appeals to the reader, which is why most of infographics are rich in colors.

Would you try using the psychology of images in your content to engage readers?

90% of all information transmitted to our brains is visual.
People remember...
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About the Author

Hassaan Khan is a Blogger and Content Creator. He helps Brands, Ecommerce, SAAS and Web Services firms in Content Marketing to reach their audience. He has been featured on Zemanta and SEMRush.

5 responses to “The Psychology of Images and Infographics in Content Marketing”

  1. Owain says:

    Hi Hassan. Feel free to take a look at our customer experience analytics SaaS product, Decibel Insight. It helps you to visualise how website visitors are engaging with content.

  2. Kevin says:

    Hassaan.

    Love the detailed analysis here! We live for images as well and are trying to help companies personalize their images with user data. Works with any ESP using their basic merge fields. Here are some quick examples Hassaan. Would love your feedback.

    https://www.niftyimages.com/ex/7/nrr/xir?name=Hassaan
    https://www.niftyimages.com/ex/7/02d/k2d?name=Hassaan

  3. […] The Psychology of Images and Infographics in Content Marketing […]

  4. sony says:

    wow great article thank you very much but what i really want t know is a list of website that i can sell profesional pictures

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