Visual content marketing has been on the rise for a few years now. In 2020, 88% of content marketers said that they prefer using visuals in their published content, and this trend is showing no signs of slowing.
But as content marketers, it’s important to always be on the lookout for new ways to make your content pop. This means staying on top of illustration and animation types that are working well in an environment where what’s popular is constantly changing.
Illustrations and animations grab attention, help people retain information better, and generate greater engagement in general.
They also allow you to create different kinds of content. From infographics to cute animated videos and even comics, illustrations and animations don’t face the same constraints that photography and live action videos do.
Illustrations and animations also have a positive emotional appeal. Looking at cute or beautiful illustrations can evoke positive emotions, and this helps your content leave a lasting impression on your customers.
There’s a lot of scope to create different kinds of content with illustrations and animations. Here’s just a few ways you can use them in your content marketing.
One of the more popular types of illustrations in content marketing, infographics saw a 65% increase in usage among B2B marketers in the last 5 years.
And that’s because we’re now dealing with a generation that doesn’t have the time or attention span for overly long or dense content, so infographics can be really useful.
Infographics summarise complex or dense information and deliver them in a more compact manner. This infographic about the World Economic Forum that we created is an example of how infographics can make information more digestible.
Plus, since the human brain processes visuals faster than text, having accompanying visuals in an infographic will make it easier for viewers to understand the given information.
Note that infographics have changed over time and you should avoid the classic long vertical infographic in favour of breaking it into slides to use as a carousel.
Creating illustrations or animations to accompany your blog posts or articles will help capture users’ attention and generate greater engagement. Take a look at the illustrations we create for our blogs, like this on content marketing buzzwords.
Aside from that, they also highlight your brand message and image. Headspace, a digital meditation platform and app, decorates every page on their website with illustrations and even animations of cute and relaxed characters.
These illustrations serve to instil not only a sense of calm — reinforcing Headspace’s mission — while also being dynamic and eye-catching.
A well-crafted and well-designed character mascot can really generate long-term customer engagement. As customers grow attached to the characters, they’ll be more likely to support future content from the brand.
Plus, having a brand mascot solidifies your brand image and identity. Your brand will become recognisable just from a character or a group of characters, and this in turn ensures brand consistency and visibility.
Messaging apps Line and Kakao are excellent examples of brand that have successfully created brand mascots. Their set of unique-looking characters are strongly tied to their brand identity, so much so that they’re nearly synonymous with the brands themselves.
These mascots have taken a life of their own, complete with their own back stories and personalities. They’ve become so popular that Line and Kakao have launched merchandise of these beloved characters.
There are a few reasons why brands may choose animation over live action video. For example, animation can be more cost-effective than many kinds of videos — you’ll no longer have to worry about expensive equipment and hiring actors when you’re using animation.
Some brands also turn to animation to simplify complex ideas and introduce them in a fun way, just like what we did in a three-episode cartoon animation for Cisco, using adorable prairie dogs to illustrate the best ways users could protect themselves from a cybersecurity attack.
Animation can also tell a brand’s story. This Pixar-inspired animation by Heinz Beans tells a touching tale of Geoff, a young boy who grew up to become the head of innovation at Heinz, and has garnered tens of thousands of views.
Now that you’ve gotten a taste of the vast potential of illustrations and animations, it’s time to get started on incorporating them into your content marketing strategies.
It’s important to find the style that best suits your brand. Take your brand values, brand message, and target audience into consideration. Then stick to it.
For example, if your content is more data-driven and targeted towards working professionals, then perhaps infographics might suit your brand better.
But if you’re looking to establish a more fun and casual brand image, then cute animations and illustrations might be the way to go.
Don’t confine yourself to a single type of illustration or animation. Use a variety! You can even use a mix of animation, illustration and live-action to make your content marketing strategy stand out.
For instance, this advertisement by Audible uses live action with an animated twist. The incorporation of 3D animation truly brings the different book genres to life and spruces up the video.
Who says that data-driven infographics have to be boring? Science illustration blog Tabletop Whales proves us wrong bycreatively combining animation and infographics in this piece about the Earth.
We’ve explored the benefits of using illustrations and animations, but if you’re not careful in incorporating them into your website, you could make the user experience unpleasant.
Compress your visuals and make sure that they’re properly sized. If not, they could take a while to load and even cause the website to lag.
In terms of the visual experience, be careful not to clutter your website with too many colourful and garish designs — you don’t want to have them competing with each other for your viewer’s attention. Leave adequate white space between each visual to make sure that they remain attractions, not distractions.
There are many ways to go about producing illustrations and animations. But if you’re just starting out, don’t be intimidated.
There are many free and affordable resources online to help you create your own illustrations, even if you’re new. There are websites that help you create infographics and even simple animations for free.
But of course, if you’re looking for high quality, custom illustrations and animations, you can always contact a digital content agency like us.
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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.