Designed to Build Authority

As a designer, I create images day in and day out. I can quickly rattle off the long list of reasons to create visuals for your thought leadership:

  • generate more content
  • repurpose existing content
  • promote an idea in more channels
  • craft more compelling stories
  • simplify complex ideas
  • grab attention
  • enhance audience’s memory retention
  • add a level of authority… wait, what?

If you’re skeptical by that last one, let me say I was initially a bit surprised myself.

After sharing a couple of pull quote images I designed for a colleague’s blog post, she admitted to struggling during the writing process.

Her reaction to the graphics was a boost in confidence. “When I saw the graphic you did with my quote,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wow. I wrote that and it’s not bad at all.’”

The Psychology Behind Visual Authority

Once upon a time before the digital revolution, producing visuals was a very expensive endeavor.

Publishers only commissioned photographs, graphics and video for information that was worthy of such space, time and resources.

For those alive before the internet, digital cameras, smart phones or free photo-editing software – GenX and Baby Boomers – the idea that graphics equal authority is deeply embedded.

Users with less experience online will give more authority to content with graphics, even poorer quality images. While it’s true that someone is still clicking on those spammy banner ads, ask yourself if that persona aligns with your targeted audience.

And then, there are the Millennials. Growing up in a world of quick and cheap graphics, they have come to expect all content to contain graphics.

For them, a lack of visuals raises a red flag. They will likely be savvier than other generations in spotting a better quality visual, and the level of confidence they assign to your visuals will directly relate to the level of skill that went into production.

With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

While polished graphics can add authority, make sure your visuals are backed by valid, sourced material to avoid compromising your reputation.

Increase Credibility in Your Thought Leadership with Visuals

Always follow these guidelines to ensure your credibility:

  • When visualizing quotes, confirm the exact statement and original source. Keep a record on hand for easy reference.
  • When incorporating facts or statistics, include your source(s) within the graphic and either include a URL or be ready to provide a link to it upon request.
  • When incorporating or curating external graphics, respect their copyright. Confirm that it can legally be published for your intended use and review sourcing requirements.

Today’s buyers demand more from brands’ content. Download The Buyer 2.0 Content Strategy Checklist to read more tips on enhancing your content marketing and visual storytelling strategy.

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