What’s one of the first things you see when you read a blog post?
Images, along with the title of the blog post itself, are commonly what captivates initial interest. That’s why images are not to be left out of your content strategy. Not everything can be fully encapsulated in words alone. Images can elicit an emotional response that speaks to the core of our being. Unconscious beliefs, feelings, and sensations are embodied in the images we select, share and create.
Here are the top three benefits of complementing blog posts with images:
Whether we like it or not, first impressions matter. Because images are one of the first things online browsers see when they encounter content, the images we choose are critical in shaping the impression we leave.
It’s nearly impossible to effectively market your business without images. Research has shown that the human brain interprets images faster than text. Before someone has read a word that’s been written, they’ve already generated a plethora of assumptions based on the images they’ve seen.
Given the power of images, it’s important we don’t use them for aesthetic value alone. Littering content with cute pictures that offer no further insight detracts from the message. Images always need to be relevant for their inclusion to be worthwhile.
What images are best?
Humans are innately visual creatures. When someone says a word or phrase, a visual image is immediately triggered in our minds. When you’re deciding on the best image for your copy, brainstorm all the visual triggers that enter your mind when you think of the topic and subject matter.
Have a mind blank? Or need more clarity around what you see when you think of the content?
Mood boards are a great place to start in gathering inspiration. To start a mood board, type in the content keywords in the search bar of sites like Pinterest, Pixabay, and Pexels. If you want to take it to the next level, look at sites like Canva. Canva allows you to customise and create designs for every purpose. Canva lets you access free designs, add text to images, upload stock photos and original images and so much more! Canva is an excellent site to explore if you’re new to social media marketing. It’s very user-friendly and has templates for each social media platform.
Images help expand brand storytelling. They add depth and provide greater context to a description or story, offering a more involved experience than writing alone. The wrong image can taint a site, either by confusing or cheapening the content. This is off-putting for visitors.
When complementing your blog post with images, ask yourself – What is the main idea of the piece? Source images that reverberate key points. Images should also align with brand aesthetic. Images help visitors make connections and form associations with the brand. Using images that authentically reflect your organisation puts your website in good standing for online success.
Be mindful of copyright laws when using images that aren’t original photographs, graphics or illustrations. Here is a breakdown of common image classifications:
- Royalty free: Royalty free images can usually be used at the content creator’s discretion. These types of images can’t be edited or resold.
- Rights managed: You generally need to purchase a single user license for rights managed images. This requires the content creator to know how they intend to use the image before purchasing. For a rights managed image, you can’t use it for an Instagram post and then recycle it for a blog post. Content creators need to purchase an additional license to use this type of image more than once.
- Public domain: Public domain images don’t require content creators to ask permission for use. Content creators are also free to edit and customise these types of images.
- Creative commons: For creative commons images, the original creator of the image has enabled public access. Content creators don’t need permission to use creative commons images. They’re also free to edit and customise them.
You’re stunting your website’s SEO if you’re not optimising images. Google reads images when it crawls and indexes content. That’s why it’s important to utilise content keywords in alt text and in the naming of image files.
Optimised images generate better search rankings by making it easier for Google to read and discern what the content is about. This leads to increased organic search traffic and valuable backlinks. User experience is a central pillar of SEO. User experience should thus be at the forefront of the content creator’s mind. This calls us to understand that people are more likely to view articles with images. No matter the business, text type or purpose of the content, well-chosen images bring copy to life.
Complementing blog posts with images yield ample opportunities for furthering user engagement and website credibility. Not including images in blog posts is akin to wearing socks without shoes. Put yourself in the best standing by wearing a well-made pair of shoes that are well-suited for the activities you intend to do.
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