You can have the best-written blog post, but without one key element, it runs the risk of falling flat and not being read or shared by a wide audience.
What's that one thing that can make a piece of content marketing shine?
There's no denying the power of the image—in fact, research shows that articles with an image once every 75-100 words get double a number of shares of articles with fewer images. But all photos are not created equal. Here's how to ensure that the images you use stand out and serve to increase eyeballs on your content.
1. Use quality stock photos
There are paid stock photo sites and free ones, but realize that not all free stock photos offer the same quality.
In general, any image you use should be professional looking, not blurry, and simple in its layout. If you use a lot of images (i.e., write a lot of blogs or other content), it's probably worth the investment to subscribe to a stock photo site so that you have thousands of images to choose from.
2. Diversify your images
Photos aren't the only type of image you can use in your content. Mixing it up can keep your audience better engaged, so try out an assortment of the following:
- Custom graphics
- Charts and graphs
If you use infographics, for example, you can go light on the text outside of the image, which can give your readers a break, providing instead a visual interpretation of the data you're sharing.
3. Use several images per post
If you're writing a blog post longer than 600 words, you should have, at a minimum, two images. This breaks up the monotony and keeps people engaged as they scroll down to read your content.
Place images consistently in the copy. For example, place them after a subheader throughout. And try to illustrate the content that the image is situated near. If you're writing about how to take better photos, you could include an image of a photographer and camera. Or you could have a little more fun with it and find an old-timey camera (one with the cloth draped around the photographer to keep the light out).
4. Choose photos that will shine on social media
Typically when you share a link to content on social media, the first image in the post will appear in your social update. Make sure it's a good one. How do you know? Pay attention to metrics for that social share. You may find that whenever you include an image with people in it, shares and clicks go through the roof. Use this information to guide which images you select for future content.
In general, images with bold colors, simple backgrounds, and action will get more clicks.
5. Don't be so literal
Especially in the B2B world, it's easy to bombard content with images of laptop keyboards, people gathered around a table, or building blocks that spell whatever the subject is.
Look at what other blogs use for their images, and find ways to be more creative. Maybe you use an image of a dog with glasses on (always cute) or something that will surprise and delight your readers. Standing out is a good thing!
The images you use in your content will be the first thing people see of your blog post, so make sure they are bold and interesting.
Susan Payton is one of Media Shower’s content marketing experts. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.