What is your image strategy?
Have you ever wondered, when you hear the expression “A picture is worth a thousand words,” what it actually means? A few weeks ago, I got the answer to that question during Krista Neher’s presentation at Mixwest.
Your brain can process images 60,000 times faster than it can process words. In an instant, an image can convey an idea or an emotion which will stick with you much longer than the words on a page. With that type of potential impact, it is no wonder the marketing community has been pushing clients to adopt a Visual Content Strategy.
Just a few years ago, embracing a visual content strategy meant simply putting an image in every blog post and status update. In those days almost any stock image would do. You were simply looking for a bit of eye candy to attract attention, so someone would stop and read your blog post. That strategy paid off. Status updates with images get more likes and shares than posts without an image. But looking pretty just isn’t enough anymore. Now your images need to work overtime. Not only must the image stop the casual browser, it must be compelling enough to get them to click, share or want to read more. Finally, since not everyone will click through, the image must be meaningful enough to stand on its own. That is a lot to ask from one image.
More Than a Supporting Role
Images shouldn’t be an afterthought. What will be displayed in the timeline on Facebook, LinkedIn or G+ when someone shares a link to your content will to a great extent determine who likes, shares or clicks your link. Your images will directly effect you web traffic. And even if you don’t envision your business being shared on Pinterest regularly, you eliminate any chance of that happening if your blog post does not have any image which can be pinned.
Add a Little Text
If you want your image to tell a story, a picture by itself may not be enough. Consider adding a caption or title text with the image. This picture is actually a slide from a Powerpoint presentation. The image is compelling, but it is the text which makes it meaningful.
I used this to promote a blog post on Linkedin. Within an hour of posting it was one of my top ten performing links, more views, more engagement, more attention.
So you are probably thinking you need to run out and get a subscription to a stock photography site or hire a professional photographer for every blog post. While professional images are helpful, the all too perfect lighting, and happy people ring less than true. Those perfect images are representative of real experience with your product and consumers are tired of being lied to. They know a Big Mac does not look like the image on the left. They want to see real images, of real things, taken by real people.
Don’t wait to kick off your visual content and image strategy. You have a camera in your pocket. Start taking pictures and adding them to your blog post. Look for free stock images and add your own captions. Make the pictures relevant to your audience. Make the pictures work as hard as your words.
You’ll need to make sure you’re blogging before jumping into the visual strategy. Check out all the reasons to blog for your business today. And if you want to know more about pictures, check out this webinar on how to build your image strategy using visual content.
Want to know more about how to use pictures effectively? Check out some of these other posts on related topics