What is a Visual Strategy?
A Visual Strategy is the way that your blog, website, or business is portrayed through the eyes of your readers and clients. You cannot have one without the other and they are infinitely complementary.
Your branding is your logo, color scheme, font scheme, mission, mood and goals - all set up together to create the entity of your brand. Your branding encompasses everything from what your brand is and offers, to the way your site and products look.
Your Visual Strategy uses your branding as a launching pad to extend your reach on Social Media, Newsletters, Videos, Business cards and even public speaking or presentations.
Now that you know how important it is - here are the 5 most important tips to follow to achieve an awesome Visual Strategy.
1. Rock your Brand
Your Visual Strategy and Brand are tied together, so it is safe to say that tip #1 is to tackle, sort out and perfect your branding. In practical terms, your brand includes the creation of a mood board, color scheme, font scheme and the design of a logo. The story of your brand should play into the creation of these visual elements.
Think of your Visual Strategy as the illustration that accompanies the narrative of your brand story. For example; your bio photo must at the same time fit your brand and express who you are as a professional. The photography that you choose for your blog posts and social media graphics must be chosen carefully and then edited with an editing software to have unified look so that they will help tell your story.
Your story and your branding assets make up your Brand, the backbone of your entire Visual Strategy.
2. Link your Site to Social Media
Once your site or blog has gone through the creative process of telling your story and practical branding, it is time to make the jump to Social Media.
Imagine your site or blog as your Brand’s home and Social Media is the rest of the world outside the front door.
When your brand leaves home, it must keep its personality in order for whoever it meets along the way to want to know more and come over for a visit.
Your Brand’s face on Social Media consists of headers and profile photos. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin all give you the possibility of uploading customized headers that not only follow your brand but can promote it through a periodic updating according to what is happening inside your site. Some people prefer to keep their Headers static while others use it as a billboard of sorts to promote new blog posts, products or freebies.
The profile photo is a constant topic of discussion between Social Media Marketers - should it be your photo or should it be your logo? Some say that a logo looks more professional and others say that a photo makes your business more relatable.
Which you use depends on you and your story. For example; any kind of coach would be better off using their portrait (one that fits the brand of course, not just a laptop camera shot in their pj's). A service-based brand might want to use their logo because they are not a “one person” brand but rather a team. The choice really depends on what your mission is.
For both Headers and Profile photos, they should follow the brand and create a very obvious visual link to your site. Meaning when someone clicks from Social Media to your site and vice versa, they have a seamless user experience.
Bonus: On Pinterest, you can customize your board covers to match your brand!
3. Brand your Social Media shares
Now your Brand’s uniform has been selected and it’s ready to accessorize! Social Media needs constant attention, meaning you have to post things consistently to keep your readers entertained and coming back for more. The things you post, be them your own content or reposts (with credit always!) need to fit the style of your brand, no matter what.
If your Instagram is a beautiful feed of desaturated food photos, a bright colorful photo of your kids in the playground will stick out like a sore thumb no matter how cute your kids are.
What are your Brand’s Social Media accessories? They are your Blog Post Title graphics and Featured Images, your Pinterest graphics, Instagram posts, and any other social media platform you might use for your business.
Every single time you promote your blog, site or brand on Social Media your readers and followers should be able to recognize you at first glance.
When you create graphics to promote your Blog Posts, they should include the following things; The Title of your Blog Post, the URL of your site, your logo, and the use of your fonts and color scheme. When you post a photo taken by you that is part of a blog post you should include a watermarked logo or even create a graphic with a little quote from the post. Think of your graphics as digital business cards, brochures and pamphlets. Would you give out subpar and unbranded printed material to promote your brand?
4. Brand your Freebies, Opt-ins and E-Books
One of the best marketing tips for bloggers and brands is to “grow your email list”. An effective way of growing your email list is to offer your readers things in exchange for their email - it can be ebooks, printables, checklists, toolkits, etc.
No matter what you chose to create as an opt-in for your email list, you need to design it following your Brand and Visual Strategy.
When your readers download a free product in exchange for their email, you don’t want it to get lost in the realm of messy files and folders in their computer. You want them to remember your product, so as soon as they see it they will feel connected to you and what you are about. The design of the pdf or whatever format it’s in should be reminiscent of your blog and website visually.
Use your logo on each page in the corner or as a watermark, use your fonts and colors and choose your photographs wisely, just like you would do for your site, your blog posts and your social media shares.
5. Get on Video
The last tip might actually be THE most important due to the popularity and proven success that it brings to any blog or business. Yes, I am talking about video in all its forms. From the classic edited video uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo to the recent addition of Instagram Stories and FB Live.
I'm not exaggerating - video is the thing to do if you want to really pump up your Visual Strategy. Try out different ways of doing video, maybe you can record yourself talking about something, or go Live on Facebook. Both are great for exposure and your readers will feel connected to you.
If you are creating videos to post on YouTube or Vimeo you should be branding it just like your other Social Media posts. Video is just one more type of social media content.
Give your video a branded thumbnail, use a logo watermark on your video that doesn’t go away during the duration of the content.
If you are a bit scared of video, like a lot of us are; start small with Instagram stories or Instagram Live (it disappears after you’re done talking). There are lots of options to choose from so why not try?
Over to You
What are you going to optimize on your site to reach your ideal Visual Strategy? Tell us in the comments!
**Thank you so much to Orana Creative for this guest post!!