It’s like PB&J. Or a bagel and schmear. Or popcorn and butter.
My love affair with food aside, content and high-quality complementary photos and graphics are the perfect match.
There’s a reason you can’t have content without an image.
It’s the world we live in now: Thanks to the Interwebs, we can now all changed our learning style to “visual.”
Think about how you read news or stories online: You scan it for the juicy tidbits.
In fact, a lot of popular blogs “write” articles by simply posting a row of Twitter status updates from clever/disgusting/anger-inducing users (usually celebrities, amiright).
Your content is probably much more interesting – and helpful – than that.
But if you want to get eyeballs on it, you’ve got to get visual with it.
Social media sites almost exclusively cater to images, not words. Think about it: Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat.
Even sites that depend heavily on text such as Twitter and LinkedIn, good images prop up your content.
Don’t Get Slap Happy
You can’t just find a stock photo, stick it at the top of your content, and call it a day.
You’re better than that. And even if you’re not, your content deserves more.
After all, it’s going to be living on your website for-pretty-much-ever. People are (hopefully) going to link to it from other places.
Content + any old image = mediocre. Content + the best image = jaw-dropping.
There’s a bunch of free stock photo sites out there. If you don’t know them, Google will point you in the right direction.
Don’t use the first stock photo you see. And please don’t use the stock photos your competitors are using.
And please don’t use those stock photos of peoples’ stretched heads screaming or making odd faces. Those have made an appearance in my Feedly way too often lately.
My suggestion? Find a stock photo that makes sense when paired with your content. Your readers’ subconscious will say, “Ah-ha!”
You could even pay for it. Gasp, I know: Marketers and their meager budgets are almost never parted. But it’s almost always worth the quality and uniqueness.
Before You Hit Go
Don’t hit that alluring publish button yet. There are still some items to check off your list:
Add a filter: Guess why Instagram is the popular kid? Because of those filters, baby.
Add text: Go ahead, put the title of your post or a subtitle overtop of your image. Post it underneath your title. Share it on social media. Watch your engagement rate skyrocket.
Experiment with fonts: Apps such as Canva and WordSwag are free and have a bevy of amazing fonts to play with. Release your inner graphic designer! And if you’re not sure where to start, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Pull a Steve Jobs: Copy the designs, layouts, and fonts of your favorite brands, but make them better.
Add your logo: Remember, your content and this image will live forever. Anytime it’s shared or seen, don’t you want your brand there, too?
Size it correctly. YA’LL. Please stop posting images on Twitter where the person’s head is cut off. Or your image text is cut off on the righthand side. Or your Pinterest graphic is fuzzy. There’s too much technology availble today to have any excuses for not sizing images appropriately for each channel.
And they all lived happily ever after
In just a few words I’ve convinced you content and images can’t be parted. At least I’ve tried.
But sometimes even when we know something is true – like the fact that ice cream and beer isn’t a healthy dinner – we don’t change our ways. It’s just so…uncomfortable.
It’s hard to kick old, easy habits. I’ll admit it – sometimes it’s no fun to work hard picking out an image and figuring out what fonts are going to work.
But I promise, it will be worth it.
Just try it once. Write your next blog post and create that eye-catching image. And tell me how it goes.