How To Create Consistency With Your Brand's Visual Content
Your marketing has been well thought through and you’re the queen of putting great content out there.
Despite all the work and planning, you’ve been doing there’s one essential element missing in your marketing, and you know what I’m talking about don’t you? Your visuals!
Yes, I'm talking: your images, about you, your blog posts, behind the scenes! Images with a purpose that will help you connect with your ideal audience!
How to create consistency with your brand's visual content
So where do we start with your images?
1. The Audit
Start by doing an audit, use a spreadsheet with three columns and write down where you have pictures, if they’re relevant to your content, and where they’re missing. Got it?
-List all pages where you still need visual content
-List all your brand touch points, i.e. social media profiles, posts etc.…
-List pages where you need to be updated visual content.
Calculate the number of images you need, now add the number of images you will need every month for content that often changes, i.e. images to illustrate your blogs posts, social media posts, to share on Pinterest, images for Instagram.
2. Your plan
Now set your pages locations where you'll need new photos.
Your about page or products & services are what I would call static visual content, and all your images for content that changes on a regular basis that I will call variable visual content.
Next to each images location, describe what you want in the image, i.e. if it’s your about page you want a portrait of yourself- Please, no selfie your brand deserves better!- The about page is the most read page when visitors hop on your website; you want to make sure, that portrait of you is engaging, welcoming and gives a glimpse of who you are. So think it through carefully, if you can’t invest in a professional photo shoot, ask someone you know or collaborate with a photographer just starting out.
Before you choose your photographer, judge their portfolio and their skills though, and prepare that portrait of the story you want to tell in that image!
Do the same for all your visual content. Choose your images filtered through your brand board, if you don’t have one. Look at your logo, your tone of voice, the colours of your website and use images that are in line with your branding. Your visual content is here to support your brand story so make it work for you.
Look at your logo, your tone of voice, the colors of your website, and use images that are in line with your branding.
For every image you use to illustrate your blog and social media posts, ask yourself is it relevant to what I am about to say, is it on brand.
i.e. your brand is all about being lively, fun, you don’t want images that are very static you want to imply that fun and movement into your pictures. Look at the colours in the images, try to stay on brand with the colours.
3. Creating the content & finding images
I am well aware that as creative entrepreneurs you already have a lot of on your plate, asking you to create your images might be a step too far and I get that.
What I am asking, is if you have the opportunity to create images (i.e. while on holidays, or traveling) do it! you might not use them straight away, but, you might in the future. Create a resource library for your visual content to reuse and remix the images. By adding quotes or graphics, you can change the purpose of the image.
Remix some of your existing images, look at your current visual content? Could you make the pictures work better for you by cropping them, adding graphics, a quote or using them for the different topic?
Buy stock images! There’s a lot of styled stock photography out there. Creative Market is a great place to start browsing for images. Don’t just choose any images. Apply your brand filter when you select your images. Does the style fit, what about the lighting? The colors, the mood? Ideally, you want to stick with the same photographer for your next posts, choose wisely.
Use some free stock don’t overdo it, but you might find some relevant images with free stock like Unsplash, but the downside is, that you might see the same image all over the web.
Whenever you use stock images, try to personalize them, use a different crop, add graphics, canva.com is a great tool to help you do that, and resize the photos to the right size for each of your social media.
4. Use videos
Video is going to be huge in 2018, use facebook live, Instagram stories, if you not comfortable going live yet, record yourself. Again when you do your videos, beware of the lighting, the surroundings. I am not saying it has to be perfect, but you can apply some of your brand features in the video as well to make a trade, i.e. Caitlin Bacher use lipstick as her trademark.
Use behind the scene videos. These are an excellent opportunity to invite your audience to your brand experience. Show them the process, entice them with a beautiful story.
Once last word advice, be consistent, everything you put out there needs consistency, and to achieve that you need to plan. Don’t just post images on Instagram when you take images on your phone, keep these for later, add them to your resources library.
Keep personal stuff to a minimum if it's not relevant to your brand. What you want to share is the brand experience, the client transformation it’s not about YOU!
If you have to remember two things about this blog post:
BRAND CONSISTENCY and PLANNING your visual content like the rest of the content you put out there will help you achieve that.
I've grown up watching a ton of movies (French ones obviously, foreign languages ones and lots of independent films), playing with a camera as often as I could with a dream of becoming a stewardess as I couldn't imagine my life any different than traveling a lot! For the short version story, the dream did not work out. After dabbling in a few business ventures, I realized that I've been missing the point all along!
What I wanted to do was telling stories with my camera (all this movie watching got me somewhere!). It explains why I specialize in branding photography. There's the whole process of creative direction angle in building a visual story from scratch, that I enjoy very much. It means so much more than just pressing a button at random and hoping to get one right picture in a flow of 1000's. Each image is created with a purpose!
Want to be featured on the LCC blog just like Rachel? Apply here!