Basquiat's Banana - How To Get Great Visual Content


Content Marketing Needs Great Visuals

This amazing and very atypical painting by the artist Jean Michel Basquiat is a great example of every web site's limitless need for original visual content. The content marketing tsunami is in full force. Recent surveys by the Content Marketing Institute and Internet marketing guru Brian Solis show 90% of B2B marketers doubling down on their content marketing.

Think you can make any money doing things online when and how everyone else is doing them? NO would be the answer to that question. Let's say you are riffing great 500 word blog posts daily. You want to get your thoughts in front of people who can help spread your message.

Advocacy is the only advertising left. The old "word-of-mouth" or WOM a misnomer. Social nets inject jet fuel into WOM. Google and other search engines have been water-boarded into accepting "social signals" as an important way to verify claims and index web pages.

Advocacy begins with your images. If you don't ARREST and STOP attention no one will read your stuff. If no one reads your content then a tree is falling in the woods and no one is there to hear it. You want the tree to fall in Times Square where thousands will hear it, video it and share it on their blogs, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

The tree falling in Times Square is an apt analogy as it demonstrates the need for surprise and a stark visual contrast. You could argue Basquiat's banana has nothing to do with Internet marketing. You would be correct up until reading my first sentence. Here are some guidelines for creating great arresting visuals to support your content marketing:

How To Get Great Visual Content

  • Create tension between your visual and your thesis. 

  • Explain the tension quickly. 

  • The more disparate the image greater need for immediate connection. 

  • Any image can work WITH explanation. 

  • Harvest images from Creative Commons (be sure to attribute).

  • Harvest images from internal resources. 

  • Harvest images by creating contests and games to ASK for them. 

This last bullet is critical. No matter WHAT you don't have enough cool images. I don't care if you are a law office and think you can get by with stock photography. You can't and shame on you (Mr. Lawyer) for even thinking that way.

Stock is notoriously NOT well defined in terms of who owns it and for what purpose. Legally purchased stock not only looks bland and stupid but you may end up having to take it down (bummer and BIG BUMMER). Better to OWN your images.

I'm a big believer in hiring a professional photographer for portraits. Portraits are boring too, but necessary. Portraits and bios are conventions you should NOT buck. Make sure your images are consistent with your brand image. Lawyers probably don't want to be in a torn tee and tennis shoes (unless that attire works for the clients).

I also like to "embed" photographers and videographers and let them shoot, shoot and shoot some more (photos and video). Great pictures happen when no one is thinking about having their picture taken and the photographers are so ever-present no one thinks about them anymore. At Atlantic BT we have so many great photographers it is not unusual to have 4 or 5 Nikons firing as fast as possible at an event.

When you have HUNDREDS of photographs it is easy to find the perfect fit for THIS or THAT content. When your visual library is limited your content is limited. Don't limit your content. Find ways to HARVEST great visual images (and don't forget to ask for graphics, drawings and paintings too since they create a nice break for photos and videos).

Found a great Australian company whose blogs is a great example of the power of great visuals with solid content:


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