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How to Beat Your Competition Online by Trying this One Thing

This is a guest contribution.

You look around you, and there’s competition everywhere. Companies are mushrooming day and night. You wonder how many of these are there really.

145,000 businesses each year – that’s your number. 

Competition online is fierce. Only a few years ago, marketing gurus would have suggested you try social media to beat your competitors. Now, the whole world is on social media, along with your competition, so you don’t know what else you can do.

Being on every social media platform out there is no longer enough (or necessary). It’s smarter to evaluate what you do with those accounts. 

My point? Content is no longer king. Epic content is. 

So, although it’s good that you’re utilizing social media to share more content, I’d look at how you’re sharing – is it truly epic content?

Smart marketers and entrepreneurs have shifted focus from content strategy to visual content strategy. They are sharing engaging and exciting stuff online that’s far better plain text.

Why? Because visual content rocks. It simply works better than normal text. 

A whopping 40% of people will respond better to your visual content. 

Facebook, one of the biggest online-based companies, was smart enough to understand and utilize this stat by launching Timeline a few years ago. 

Timeline saw a 65% increase in engagement for Facebook.

What does it mean for you? 

If you want to beat your competition, create great and “snackable” content with visual marketing online. 

Don’t get me wrong – you still do need text. 

But when combined the right way with visual elements, your content’s shareability and engagement can go through the roof.

How to Use Visual Content Marketing on Your Social Media

On social media, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube are the four big players. But did you know there are some new cool kids on the block that you can use?

Vine is a video-sharing app launched by Twitter. Use Vine to create 6-second looping videos and promote your message. 

Lowe’s uses Vine to share quick home-improvement how-to tips – here’s one that teaches you how to keep squirrels away from your plants.

Lowes Vine Channel

Lowes on Vine

If you’re in the business of complex data and statistics, you can create cool infographics that deliver the point across in a much more entertaining and quicker manner. 

Visme is a great tool to create beautiful infographics (and a lot more like presentations, CTAs, banners) for free. Canva is another favourite design tool to create customized images for your blog or website.

There are tons of other tools that won’t cost you a fortune to create easy-to-digest or snackable visual data. 

The Shift from Social to Visual-Social in 3 Ways

#1 Create Your Own

Remarkably, 80% of the pins on Pinterest are repins. 

That means if you become one of those 20% original creators of good content, your followers will do the heavy-lifting for you happily. 

So focus on creating awesome, mind-blowing visual content. Like I shared earlier, there are a lot of tools at your disposal and they won’t cost you a thing.

It’s very easy to create original and traffic-driving content with a smartphone. 

Get creative and think outside the box by capturing pictures and running them through a few filters by using apps like Instagram or Phonto among others.

Or you can also invest a small fee in a professional photo-editing program like PicMonkey. 

#2 Mix Up Text and Images

Images with text descriptions and overlays are even more effective. Sometimes, an image alone may not convey a point you want to share. 

Text works like a charm in this case.

You can also add purposeful copy like a call-to-action to your image. And you don’t even have to use a lot of words. Like this one by Dropbox:

dropbox-cta

Or this one. BirchBox uses contrasting colors and rich imagery with call-to-action text that tells a viewer what to do next.

Discover your next everything   Birchbox

#3 Optimize Your Images for SEO

We don’t really know what goes inside the head of Google. The Google ranking recipe has about 200 different ingredients that make it so smart. 

Some of these are having strong blog titles, keyword density and optimizing image filename, captions and alt tags for keywords.

It’s not enough to have amazing visual content – you must be found by people before they share your content at all.

Google loves images and is happy to send you a ton of image-based traffic.

Make sure all your visual content is optimized for keywords you’re aiming. Otherwise, it’s a lot of effort gone down the drain!

All you have to do is change your code like this if your keyword is “Soccer Player”.

<img src=”soccer-player.jpg” alt=”Soccer Player”/>

Another cool tip is to optimize the size of your image for faster load times (without compromising on the quality of course). The faster your site loads, the more points Google gives you.

Don’t forget the good ol’ caption for your images. They are pretty widely read (due to the real-estate they acquire), only next to your blog titles.

In conclusion, don’t just have visual content but create a visual content strategy to humanize interactions.

Are you creating visual content to beat your competition? If not, what’s stopping you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Pooja has been featured on Problogger, Firepole, JeffBullas, MarketingProfs, Hongkiat and more. She teaches aspiring writers how to become self-employed, create wealth and live better lives by launching their online writing biz. Steal her free mini-course to make your first $1000 (and more) writing at home

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Comments

  1. decoslim says:

    It’s getting to that point were normal contents won’t be valuable again.

    I have published a few visual contents on my blog, actually they are info-graphics by others and so far i have got more views on it than normal contents.

    You are absolutely right. Content is not the king, But visual content is.

    Have a great day!

    • Pooja says:

      Hi Decoslim,

      For sure. Although text isn’t dead, if you combine it with visuals you make a stronger case. And infographics are an amazing example to combine visuals and disintegrate complex data in to something visually appealing. It’s a win win!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Pooja

  2. Allan Wilson says:

    I’ve been using the same strategy from day one and it works wonders, 95% of my traffic comes from Google etc. however, I’ve been working more on video recently and am not sure if it will bring the same results. First, the videos are hosted on YouTube and I’m guessing create a link out? Also there is no title or alt tags to beef up keywords. Is there a video strategy you would use without hosting them directly on the website? I want to gain traffic on both my website and my YouTube channel.

  3. Johan says:

    I was recently put in charge of the social media channels at the hostel I work in. Before, the channels existed but weren’t being updated at all. With the “reboot” we’re now focusing on Facebook and Instagram only. Because visuals are so important, we opted out on Twitter and decided on Instagram instead.

    So far, on the Facebook page as well, the visual pages are definitely the most successful ones!

    Thanks for sharing a great article :)

  4. Hi Pooja.

    I dig your approach. I’m more of a co-creator instead of a competition guy, in an abundant Universe, but I hear you on taking steps to stand out, to become more visible.

    People dig eye candy. People really dig eye candy. My blog is about blogging from paradise so the blog is full of pictures of me, traveling all over the world, while sharing blogging tips that have helped me do so. Of course, most if not all of my tweets, Facebook status updates and G Plus updates contain some visual elements of my travels.

    The Pinterest stat is telling. That, and the fact that commenting, and real engagement, is so infrequent on the network moves me away from Pinterest. I appreciate the traffic potential, especially with my travel images, but I can’t find 25 hours in a day. If anything I pop on over to Instagram, share an image and like a few more to work the network a bit.

    People love visuals. I include 4 travel pictures with each post, and a ton all over my sales, about me, and as seen on pages…..eye candy is never going out of style.

    Smart note too on SEO. More than one of my images have draw in traffic on a Google image search, for relevant, and fairly high traffic keywords. Use names, alt tags and captions to be as accurate and explicit as possible.

    Pooja, thanks so much for the helpful post.

    I’ll tweet it in a bit.

    Ryan

    • Pooja says:

      Hey Ryan,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I checked out your blog and love how you’ve added tons of pictures. I think it ties very well with your idea of blogging from paradise, doesn’t it?

      Like the old saying goes, show, don’t tell. If you just tell people “hey, paradise is such and such” they won’t get the point as effectively as they would if you just showed them what you’re upto. :-)

      Thanks for writing and tweeting!

      Pooja

  5. Sunday says:

    Creating visual content to beat your competition is ideal for successful online marketers. Yes, this is the new strategy that should be employed for success.

    The best takeaway for me here is the examples shared on how to shift from social to visual social content. It is practical that every marketer can simply employ it!

    However, for a visual content to beat the competition, it must be exciting, entertaining and valuable to the readers/visitors/ customers!

    I upvoted this post in kingged where it was shared for online marketers and bloggers.
    http://kingged.com/beat-competition-online/

    • Pooja says:

      Hi Sunday,

      I totally agree. You want to be exciting, entertaining + value-adding.

      Thanks for stopping by and for the upvote. :-)

      Pooja

  6. Maya says:

    Great article and excellent tips. Content marketing is shifting to being more visual. I think it’s just because there’s so much information that’s at people’s fingertips that the message needs to be conveyed quickly. Visuals do that very well.

  7. Katheena says:

    Thanks for an interesting blog that I would have to agree with what you have said. I am in the driver training industry which is a dime a dozen industry and to set us apart from the competition, I started this from the beginning. I included this in the creation of my branding. I however started learning over time about the seo side of it also. I have started doing videos as well, as I find they are excellent in both getting content out there and converting leads.

    • Pooja says:

      Hey Katheena,

      That’s a neat little strategy to use in a highly competitive industry such as yours. You’re right, a lot of study has proved video to be highly engaging with a good ROI.

      Glad you found the post useful and thanks for commenting!

      Pooja

  8. I agree that epic content is king, but…
    I see so many very popular sites with epic traffic without epic content.
    It seems to me that sites that have been around for years can get away with vanilla content.

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