Images are important.
Sure, there was once a time many years ago that you could get away with gaining some serious traction without visuals when it comes to content marketing, but that period has long gone.
In this day and age, visual content – i.e. photos and videos – rules the roost.
So why is this standard convention? Well let me run through some of the main reasons why images should be an integral part to your content strategy, and you will soon find out:
If a reader is faced with a wall of text and little else, it can be hard to attain and then retain their interest.
It is, after all, human nature to respond to imagery more favorably than text-based content. In fact, a scientific study suggests that by our brains in comparison to text. Although it goes without saying that words are still massively important in content marketing, this larger impact of absorbing information through visuals cannot be overlooked.
With that said, the downside of using images is you can’t go into extensive detail with them for the most part. That’s why it is the best of both worlds by combining graphics with copy. The pictures draw in the interest, while the body of text conveys your point in an ample manner.
In tandem with helping to improve the readability of your content as a whole, using imagery is a simple yet effective way to develop the overall visual appeal to your work.
And even if your content is packed with substance and written perfectly, looks matter.
If you are producing an article, a picture below the headline is a great starting point. But one image, especially if the article is substantial in wordiness, is not going to be enough to fully illustrate the theme you’re going with. Think of images like subheadings and use them to break up the text every now and again, giving casual browsers something to refocus on rather than just scrolling directly to the bottom of the page.
Images help achieve better social engagement
If you are using social media as part of your content marketing strategy (and if you’re not, start now!), images are a fantastic way to increase your social engagement.
Again going back to the element about images being processed much faster than text, it goes hand in hand with the way people scroll through their social feeds. As they flick their way through their latest updates, they are less likely to stop and focus on a post you make if it’s entirely text-based.
Your content will be more successful
When you consider all of the above points, the outcome is simple: your content will be more effective.
As a result, this means your content will gain more shares and more traffic. And with an increase of eyes on your content, naturally conversion rates will improve. If you are selling products via an ecommerce store, it is stated that when it comes to selecting a product to purchase, which is more influential than product-specific information (63%) and ratings and reviews (53%).
Images may seem overly simple in theory and may even be overlooked, yet do not dismiss their impact.
Tips on How to Produce Professional Pictures
You may have heard all the talk about how pictures are the key to a successful content marketing campaign. But if you are a novice to the world of creating and editing pictures, the question you will want answering is: ‘where do I start?’
Well that is a tough question. There are plenty of things to ponder before you can get going with devising some eye-catching, kiss-ass imagery. Below we look at five of the biggest aspects you should be considering:
Source Free Images
Although it is entirely plausible to capture your own pictures, that takes time, money and effort. Sourcing your own free images eliminates all of those problems.
Well, that’s if you know where to find such free images.
With that said, here are some websites to bookmark for your free image needs:
All of these resources cover a wide spectrum of subjects, so finding a suitable image for your needs shouldn’t be a problem.
Just remember that, unless the images you are using are under a CC0 license or in the public domain, to give appropriate attribution for every picture used.
Use simple image editing software
Paint might be useful for crafting somewhat coherent doodles, but a sophisticated photo editor it is not.
And with the amount of time Photoshop is mentioned in modern culture, I wouldn’t be surprised if some felt it was the only software choice available that is worth its salt. Yes, Photoshop is superb – there’s no denying it.
It is also rather expensive.
Thankfully, there are many free alternatives out there that more than fit the needs of a content marketer. Such examples include:
Word Swag (c$4.99)
All vary in terms of accessibility and features, and it is down to your requirements and skillset as to which suits your needs best. Yet whichever one you choose, you can be assured that they are all capable of producing professional-standard images.
Send a clear message
A standard picture that hasn’t been enhanced will struggle to convey the message you’re trying to get across with your content. When you consider the impact a single image holds on a prominent website like Pinterest, it is vital that the would-be reader understands the message of your content straightaway.
To do this, a bit of typography might be in order. Depending on the program you are using (Canva is a good starting point), this is a simple case of overlaying your picture of choice with some eye-catching, bold text. If it’s a headline pic, this will typically be the title of the article. But other images, which support certain portions of the article, should also be made clear as to their purpose.
Make sure your pictures are the right dimensions and resolution
These two points are the definition of rookie mistakes, but mistakes that plenty make all the same.
When you are editing and then rendering your image, ensure it is has the right dimensions so that it doesn’t become skewed or distorted. To do this competently, get the correct measurements before you start producing anything. Whether it is your website or social media pages, each will have their own set of dimensions that you must adhere to for that crystal clear image quality.
In terms of resolution, you of course want all of your pictures to be high quality. But in the land of the Internet, some compromises have to be made. Because the bigger the image size (in bytes), the bigger the negative impact it will have on your website in terms of speed.
To counteract this, saving your files in JPEG format is a good start to compressing your images. There are also programs you can use that will help with this, with RIOT Image Optimizer being one such example. The effect of compression is minimal to the quality of the image, yet it is massive in comparison to how it will improve site speed and SEO performance.
Go with a style and stick with it
Just like your written content should maintain a distinct style that says, ‘yes, this is my work and no-one else’s’; your pictures should also follow a certain theme throughout.
Not only does this help you in gaining a greater familiarity with your image production – and thus, increases efficiency – but it also helps your imagery to stay in line with the brand philosophy you are going with. So instead of sticking out like a sore thumb in an amateurish manner, your pictures will blend in with the rest of your content in terms of style, giving your business that professional appearance.
How to transform your Private Label Rights Content (ready-made stock content) with Images
PLR is a fantastic resource when it comes to providing a substantial amount of content with very little effort needed.
However, if you want to maximize the effectiveness of your content, you need to put in some work to turn your PLR – which is generally delivered as simply a plain text document with possibly a cover – into a must-read for your target audience.
One of the main ways of going about this is by including images as part of your PLR content. They may seem like a trivial thing to include, but images can play a big part in enhancing your content to such a degree that it delivers many more shares, reads and conversions for your business.
Here I take a quick look at how you can use images to transform your PLR content for the better.
Create an image to match your headline
Visuals are processed so much faster than text by the brain, so it only makes sense to place an image in conjunction with the title of your content. This is especially important if you are hosting your content on an external website, where you are competing even more so against the competition.
If you are using Pinterest or a website in that picture-centric mold as part of your marketing strategy, using that ‘headline image’ is imperative. The only way you are going to stand out from the crowd and generate clicks is with a visual that grabs the attention, so an attractive picture that has an overlay of a bold font describing the content subject is highly recommended.
Supporting the text
A headline image is a fantastic starting point, but you do not want to stop there. Let’s face it: one picture at the top of the page isn’t going to help flesh out the rest of the content sufficiently. You want to place additional visuals throughout, helping to break up the text and further support the information provided by the PLR.
Examples of visuals that can be used when it comes to supporting the text include graphs, quotes and infographics. These are obviously fantastic to give further substance to the content, but in addition it helps stand out from the text and catches the eye of the casual browser.
Convert the content into an infographic
Infographics, if you didn’t know it already, are great marketing tools. Going back to the fact visual content is so effective, it only makes sense that infographics – a combination of information and graphics, hence the name – are popular with marketers.
If you have received a piece of PLR content that is particularly stat or info-heavy, going the infographic route with it could be a great choice. Not only does the content become more sharable on social channels, but it has a greater chance of being more of a success than if it remained in its original state because not only will it be tailored to your audience but it'll also be tailored towards many more social platforms.