Images are a vital piece of the content equation. After all, posts that feature images produce 6.5x higher engagement than text-only posts. That said, you can’t just write a post and slap whatever images you want into it if you want to make the greatest possible impact. So, how do you choose the right images to go along with the content you create? Check out these tips to up your content creation game.
Three Factors for Choosing the Right Images
- Does it fit your brand? Everything you put online needs to enhance your brand. Anything that links to your website or mentions your company name should tell a story about your company. If you’re in the health and wellness industry, focus on images that promote strength and vitality. If you’re in the education business, focus on images that speak to success and intelligence.
- Does it convey your message? Choose images that make sense to the content you’re producing. If you’re writing an article about how to make the best pizza crust, it makes sense to have an image of piping hot pizza. If you’re writing about dogs, skip the pizza – unless of course you can find an image of a dog stealing pizza. Then, you’re capitalizing on an image conveying emotion.
- Is it engaging? Any image you use should capture attention. This means you need vibrant, bright, colorful images, unless of course there’s some brand-related reason to avoid it.
- When possible, feature people. Data shows 60% of the best-selling images with people feature a single subject. 20% of them contained two or more subjects. Candid photos sold almost 2x as much as posed shots – and 85% of the images feature the subject looking away from the camera. Ultimately, the best marketing seeks to forge a personal connection between your brand and the customer, so including people in your visuals helps. And why do the candid shots do better than posed? It makes easier for your customers to visualize themselves as the person in the photo.
Narrowing Down Top Contenders
After you’ve located some images that could fit your project – whether it’s an ebook or a blog post, it’s time to do some homework. Make sure your competition isn’t using the exact same, or even a similar image – as you don’t want to look like a copycat. Aim for images that match your brand, as colors can help differentiate your brand from your competition.
Where You Can Source Images for All Your Marketing Efforts
Unless you’ve got a photographer or graphic designer on hand to help you create all your own images, you’ll be using stock imagery. The time and effort spent to create your own images can help set you apart from your competition and strengthen your brand – but stock photos do have their place. (It’s not for your product photography!)
Since original image creation takes time and money, many companies rely on stock imagery to take care of at least some of their needs. There is no shortage of websites that offer free or low-cost images you can use. These include:
No matter which source you use, pay attention to the usage rights, and include any required attribution to protect yourself from potential legal trouble down the line.
That said, you can also use tools like Canva or PicMonkey to create your own images for free or cheap, without keeping a graphic designer on retainer. (We made the one you see featured in this post using Canva – starting with one of their free images.)
Is There a Magic Number of Images You Should Use?
The number of images you use is highly dependent on the content you’re creating. Shorter blog posts can get away with just a single image, while longer ones may require multiple images to illustrate a point or break up the text for better readability. What matters is that each image serves to enhance your reader’s experience. Don’t just throw images in for the sake of adding images.
Pay Attention to Image Size and Quality
Just like there’s no magic number of images to use in any particular medium – the size and quality of your image will also depend on where it’s being used. You’ll need higher resolution images for your print materials than you will for your online materials. The higher the resolution, the better the quality, but the larger the file size – so it affects page load time, which we know can have a dramatic impact on not just your customer satisfaction, but your SEO as well. We’ll write a more in-depth post on image size and quality sometime in the new future, but in the meantime, you can take a look at these guidelines straight from the WordPress Codex.
Name Your Images with SEO in Mind
The images you use in your online content will be indexed in Google Images, just like the content itself is indexed in Google. That’s why using keywords in the image names, where it makes sense, can help boost your ranking and drive leads to your website.
Name your images in ways that fit your content but allow them to be specific. “Cute dog” may be enough to describe the photo. But, taking it one step further to “Cute dog eating healthy pet food” is much more likely to place your image up high for search results from people who are looking for healthy dog food options for their furry friend. Taking the time to name your images properly can do a great bit of work in helping interested people find your website. It’s also important that while you’re naming images, you take the time to add the necessary alt text to describe the images. This helps with SEO, but also allows people who are using screen readers to surf the web to get a better idea of what your page looks like.
Images bring your content to life – whether it’s a blog post on your website, or a brochure you hand clients when they physically visit your office. The right image selection can make or break you when it comes to reaching goals with your content. Make your image selection count – your profits, and your customers, will thank you.