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How to Tell a Visual Story (Even You, B2B): A Marketer's Guide

by Ann Handley, Nick Westergaard  |  
February 25, 2013

As storytelling becomes more and more part of marketing, another trend is coming into focus: Brands are becoming more visual. They're using emerging image-driven networks such as Pinterest and Instagram, and they're making compelling visual updates to venerable platforms such as Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

Businesses that aren't ready for this visual revolution will get left behind.

How can you prepare your brand to benefit from the power of visual content such as photos, slides, infographics, cartoons, and more? What kind of content works best for telling a visual story that packs a punch? And how can inherently boring organizations (we're looking at you, B2B!) create compelling visual content?

During our recent keynote at the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing World online program on content marketing, we (along with Mikes Hayes of Ben & Jerry's) offered our insights into the power of visual content marketing for brands. The slide deck from that event is embedded below. (You can also access the entire talk for the next 90 days.)


What follows are some highlights from that talk—including the visual opportunity for brands, and how they should embrace it.

Recent data from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute found that B2B marketers' chief concern is to produce enough content to attract customers. Brand-builders need to better understand how all newer forms of content, especially visual forms, can help them both produce enough content and differentiate themselves in a sea of sameness.

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Ann Handley is chief content officer of MarketingProfs, author of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Ridiculously Good Content, and co-author of the best-selling book on content marketing, Content Rules. Ann co-founded, one of the first sources of interactive marketing news and commentary.

Twitter: @MarketingProfs and @AnnHandley.

Nick Westergaard is chief brand strategist and founder of Brand Driven Digital and the author of Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small.

Twitter: @NickWestergaard

LinkedIn: Nick Wesergaard

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  • by lisa leslie henderson Mon Feb 25, 2013 via web

    great examples... thanks.

  • by Sergey Wed Feb 27, 2013 via web

    Of course sometimes it's hard or even impossible to use visuals for some types of content (especially for b2b), but whenever there's a chance to use a picture or a video - this chance should most definitely be used as visuals are guarantee of doubling content's reach. Great examples provided, thank you.

  • by Michael Cunningham Mon Mar 11, 2013 via web

    Wow. So much food for thought. One of your best pieces to date.

  • by Tim Sun Mar 24, 2013 via web

    I got all excited then realised that there were few B2B examples but plenty of examples of brands that were already visually rich; Ben and Jerry's, Nike, Ducati. How difficult is that? GE? One photo as an example and an overused one at that. It was telling also that 33% of content marketers had challenges with "Inability to measure content effectiveness". You can be sure it's more than that. Visually rich content has always been important but now it is easier to do.

  • by Beth Worthy Tue Apr 23, 2013 via web

    Well, I must say you have made a lot more effort in preparing this article, as we can see. The use of images has made this article more fascinating.I do appreciate the that you have put into this article.

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