1. Quality Control:
2. Use Real Photography Terms:
3. Aim for Originality:
4. Feature Your Target Audience:
5. Reinforce Your Brand:
6. Create Your Own:
It’s no secret that visuals boost the quality and success of any marketing content on the web. Whether it be a webpage, a blog post, a white paper or eBook, image choices can make the difference between someone clicking on a post or passing it up completely. But, all too often, content marketers make the mistake of relying too heavily on the same old boring stock images, without giving much thought to their content. It isn’t that stock images in themselves are bad. They are professionally shot and cover a wide variety of subjects. But even those subjects that lend themselves naturally to visual representation aren’t always easy to come up with, due to the sometimes competing priorities and multi-faceted nature of content marketing. You want your images to relate to your brand, while grabbing the audience’s attention, and be the embodiment of the topic all at once, and that takes a bit of research. In many ways, the images you pick are as important as the content itself, maybe more so.
Where you place your images is your first consideration and will depend largely on the type of content you are creating. For example, for a blog post, the best rule of thumb would be to try to have one image for every 3 paragraphs. This will successfully break up the text and keep readers engaged throughout. Note that the blog post you are reading now is the exception that proves the rule. This post is about the proper use of imagery. Therefore, it is appropriate to include so many images.
White papers and eBooks have a much different layout, with multiple pages and likely much more text. A good way to include images throughout is to use a third of the page for the image (whether that is a photograph or an illustration of some kind) and the rest for text. Pulling a good quote from the text and placing it over a picture that embodies the subject is another great way to incorporate images. This works well for every other page. For emails and newsletters, bright and bold images work to get your user to click right away. Close up images of a product detail, or a person using the product or service brings clicks because the reader can visualize the subject and sees it in action.
When choosing an image for a particular type of marketing content, the hunt is everything. Keep these things in mind when starting your image search:
The number one rule of thumb is to choose a high quality image with great resolution. Pixelated images will most likely annoy and drive away your readers no matter how compelling the headline is.
The best way to find high-quality and professional photos is to use terms that photographers use in your search. Terms like low angle, defocused, silhouette, depth of field, front view, head and shoulders, motion blur, long exposure, wide angle, and selective focus will all bring you to captivating images with unique angles.
People can often tell when a stock photo is a stock photo and, if your audience is anything like me, they cringe when they those that lack originality or are cliché. But, sometimes stock photos are all you have to choose from. In your quest for originality, use search words like authentic, candid, and focus on foreground to find what you need.
People respond to images they can relate to, so when they see people their age, in clothes that they would wear, doing things that they like doing, they are much more likely to engage. Keep in mind who your target demographic is in all of your content and use pictures that characterize their interests and lifestyle.
Whether your company is based in technology, fashion, sports, or health products, you most likely have a certain feeling that you want people to pick up on when they read your content. Reinforce that feeling by choosing images that strike an emotional chord. Along with the action you’re searching, add a particular emotion you want to convey as well. Choose images that compliment your brand’s colors, and use consistent filters in all of your images.
Possibly the best tip for making your images feel original and authentic is to take your own photographs. Depending on the subject, some of the best shots are candid photos of the team, a picture of the office, and closeups of your products. There’s no chance of anyone ever having the same images, and they are guaranteed to feel real and authentic along with the rest of your content.