3 Reasons Images Just Became a Lot More Important to Your Content Strategy

Back in December, my friend Ann Marie van den Hurk was writing an article about communication trends for 2013 and posed the question to an online group we're in together: what do you think the biggest communication trend for 2013 will be? I answered "images as content." Excerpted from her article, here's my rationale:

People are growing weary of traditional content, said Maggie McGary, a digital content manager in Washington, D.C., who works with non-profits. The sheer amount of written content, or "information pollution," is overwhelming in terms of time and attention, she said. That's why, she said, image-sharing sites such as Pinterest and Instagram will continue to grow in 2013. McGary likens the phenomenon to paging through a magazine or coffee-table book as opposed to reading Moby Dick. Those platforms are easier for users to digest and fit into their lifestyles.

I admit, I'm feeling very psychic lately, as several recent big events in the digital space have confirmed the importance of images as part of a strong content strategy. 

  1. New look for Facebook news feed. Facebook recently announced that the news feed is about to get yet another new look. The new version of news feed will feature a heavy focus on photos and images. Not surprising, given that posts with photos get the highest level of engagement from users, In the new version of news feed, there is also increased emphasis on high-quality images, since they'll be highlighted more in the new, more visually-appealing layout and a page's cover photo will be displayed in a person's feed when that person likes or interacts with a page. So if you've been getting away with sub-par quality images or just not many images at all on Facebook so far, now would be a good time to start re-thinking that part of your Facebook strategy.
  2. Pinterest analytics. I already mentioned this in last week's Pins of the Week post, but Pinterest just rolled out analytics for business accounts. To activate analytics, you need to have a business account that's tied to a verified website...and, for right now, at least, Pinterest only provides analytics for content pinned from the verified website associated with the account. So where you used to be able to have an effective Pinterest strategy based mostly on re-pinning content that wasn't yours, now, at least in terms of content you'll have metrics on, you might want to rethink that strategy. You'll also probably want to beef up the number and quality of images on your website to encourage more sharing now that you'll be able to track those shares more easily.
  3. Instagram's web feed. About a month ago, Instagram announced a new, enhanced web feed. Now that there are 100 million people using Instagram, if your business isn't already using it, you might want to rethink that, especially if your target audience is teens or millennials. 

What do you think--has your company begun to focus more on images as part of an overall content strategy?