More than three in four B2B content marketers are using educational content to reach their audiences, according to the latest annual B2B report from the Content Marketing Institute. Given just how much Google's algorithm favors quality content that's useful to the reader, this comes as no surprise.
This falls in line with another trend: 90 percent of the most successful marketers "prioritize the audience's informational needs" over sales messaging, CMI reports. That means that sharing educational content is really working for those marketers who are doing it right, in part because it builds a relationship of trust with your customers.
But how do you create educational content that captures the attention of your audiences? A 3,000-word report can get pretty dull, and most won't take the time to read through to the end. Making your content visual, though, can yield huge improvements in sharing and engagement. After all, 91 percent of consumers prefer visual content over text-only options.
Not sure where to begin when it comes to creating quality educational content that's also visually engaging? Here are five types of visual content that will help.
E-books are highly visual ways to share the most exciting takeaways from a study or report. They're also great for explaining a concept or idea, or for introducing a product.
E-books are highly shareable in part because they make for quick reads, focusing instead on letting the visuals tell the story. No e-book should have more than 200 words per page. Instead, include data visualizations and illustrations, and let these drive the story you want to tell.
2. White papers
When you want to share the full results of a survey, study, or report, a white paper is a great option. But just because you have lots of information doesn't mean you have to fill every page with text. Take every opportunity to visualize your data -- it will make the biggest takeaways more immediately digestible and apparent to readers. These data visualizations will also be great to re-purpose later for use in blog posts or on your website.
Another plus with white papers (and e-books, for that matter) is that you can use them to build a list of qualified leads. Share small visual snippets from your e-book on social media as teasers. It'll encourage people to visit your site, where you can gate the content so that people need to share their email addresses with you before seeing the full e-book. Anyone that's truly interested in what you do will be happy to share their contact information.
A well-made infographic can be highly educational for any audience, while at the same time being broadly shareable across a wide range of platforms. Whether you're taking a broad view of a big topic or diving into one detail of the services that your company offers, an infographic can tell a complex story in minimal text.
The combination of visuals and text is sure to make your content more accessible. In his book E-Learning and the Science of Instruction, Dr. Richard E. Mayer confirms that, compared to text-only content, content with images improves comprehension by up to 89 percent.
4. Visual interactive content
Interactive content provides audiences with a chance to learn more about themselves. For instance, a series of interactive widgets that my company, Killer Infographics, created for Washington State credit union BECU helps readers calculate everything from whether they should lease or purchase a vehicle to how much is safe for them to borrow when they're buying a house. Visual interactive content brings all this information together into data visualizations or uses icons and illustrations as quick visual cues.
Your audiences will be grateful for the personalization that an interactive tool brings. It will be highly valuable to them, which makes them more likely to turn to you in the future for trustworthy insights.
5. Motion graphics
With the help of video, learning a new skill or deepening your knowledge on just about any subject has never been easier. That's why sharing your educational content in the form of a motion graphic will boost engagement and interest.
A motion graphic combines custom illustration with data visualizations to tell a story. Explain how your product works, offer up a history of your market niche, or share key scientific insights in the form of a motion graphic, and you'll see much more engagement across platforms.
These five types of visual content are a great place to start when you're looking to create great educational content. They will, in turn, help you build a trusting relationship with potential customers, and position your company as a thought leader in its field.