A picture paints a thousand words

By on Oct 2, 2013 in Site

With the modern focus on content marketing as the most effective way to educate our clients into buying from us, it’s easy to overlook the value of effective graphics as a form of content. We tend to think of content being “all about the words” – and to a large extent it is.

However, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that people learn in all sorts of ways, and content comes in all sorts of packages. In terms of online marketing, “content” could encompass any or all of the following:

Any of these, used singly or in combination, serves as “content”. Each of these can be effective educators – more so if they’re used in partnership with one another.

Today we’re focusing on the use of visual aids to illustrate your content, or to serve as stand-alone content.

According to www.statisticbrain.com, our average attention span is growing smaller each year. While we averaged 12 seconds in 2000, now the average is an astonishingly low 8 seconds. Even goldfish have longer attention spans, at 9 seconds! Furthermore, the longer your online article the less of it your audience will read. On average, pages with around 111 words on them see less than half the content being read. Longer articles, averaging around 593 words, only see about 28% of their content read. 28%. That is not a lot. In fact, it means that if you’re reading this paragraph, you make up less than a third of the average internet using population.

On the other hand, an image allows us to deliver a huge amount of information all at once. A well-crafted infographic tells a whole story at a single glance. A beautifully illustrated quotation engages viewers and evokes emotions that words alone might never be able to do.

Images provide anchor points when they’re used as thumbnails in lists of articles. We shouldn’t judge books by their proverbial covers, but we do, and these thumbnails are just that: article covers that help us to decide quickly if the article is something we would benefit from reading.

Social media sites use images more and more to illustrate the content we share on them. Facebook and Google Plus are cleverly designed to find the images in your post (and even more so if you tell the post which image should be featured), and then use this image to highlight the content to your followers. Studies show that online social media followers are 30% more likely to engage in content that includes some kind of image.

SparkInsights.com's Cone of Learning simplifies how we learn

SparkInsights.com’s Cone of Learning simplifies how we learn

SparkInsights.com uses this cone of learning to demonstrate how we retain three times as much of what we SEE as we do of what we READ, and twice as much as what we HEAR. With that in mind, ought we not to include visual communication in more of our content marketing?

We think so. That is why one of the content marketing services offered by aXent is custom graphics: using pictures to tell stories, in much the same way as we use words to paint pictures. They’re integrated into all of our marketing strategies, and should be part of yours. Contact aXent today to find out how we can make the internet work for you.


Vanessa Davies is the illustrious Senior Designer and business owner at aXent Associates. Online marketing, home education, blogging, optimal nutrition and personal growth are high on her list of priorities. You can follow Vanessa on Twitter or .

Great content writing, combined with a marketing strategy based on decades of online marketing success form the foundation of a potent relationship marketing plan.