How to Pick Images for Your Content
Images are a vital piece of the content equation. After all, posts that feature images produce 6.5x higher engagement than text-only posts. That said, you can’t just write a post and slap whatever pictures you want into it if you’re going to make the most significant possible impact. So, how do you choose the right images to accompany your content? Check out these tips to up your content creation game.
Three Factors for Choosing the Right Images
- Does it fit your brand? Everything you put online needs to enhance your brand. Anything that links to your website or mentions your company name should tell a story about your company. If you’re in the health and wellness industry, focus on images that promote strength and vitality. If you’re in the education business, focus on ideas about success and intelligence.
- Does it convey your message? Choose images that make sense to the content you’re producing. If you’re writing an article about how to make the best pizza crust, it makes sense to have an image of piping hot pizza. If you’re writing about dogs, skip the pizza – unless you can find a picture of a dog stealing pizza. Then, you’re capitalizing on an image conveying emotion.
- Is it engaging? Any image you use should capture attention. This means you need vibrant, bright, colorful photos unless, of course, there’s some brand-related reason to avoid it.
- When possible, feature people. Data shows that 60% of the best-selling images with people feature a single subject. 20% of them contained two or more items. Candid photos sold almost 2x as much as posed shots – and 85% of the images feature the subject looking away from the camera. Ultimately, the best marketing seeks to forge a personal connection between your brand and the customer, so including people in your visuals helps. And why do the candid shots do better than possed? It makes it more comfortable for your customers to visualize themselves as the person in the photo.
Narrowing Down Top Contenders
After you’ve located some images that could fit your project – whether an ebook or a blog post, it’s time to do some homework to ensure your competition isn’t using the same or even a similar image – as you don’t want to look like a copycat. Aim for images that match your brand, as colors can help differentiate your brand from your competition.
Where You Can Source Images for All Your Marketing Efforts
Unless you have a photographer or graphic designer to help you create all your images, you’ll be using stock imagery. The time and effort spent to develop your images can help set you apart from your competition and strengthen your brand – but stock photos do have their place. (It’s not for your product photography!)
Since original image creation takes time and money, many companies rely on stock imagery for at least some of their needs. There is no shortage of websites offer free or low-cost images you can use. These include:
No matter which source you use, pay attention to the usage rights and include any required attribution to protect yourself from potential legal trouble down the line.
That said, you can also use tools like Canva or PicMonkey to create your images for free or cheap without keeping a graphic designer on a retainer. (We made the one you see featured in this post using Canva – starting with one of their free images.)
Is There a Magic Number of Images You Should Use?
The number of images you use is highly dependent on the content you’re creating. Shorter blog posts can get away with just a single image, while longer ones may require multiple images to illustrate a point or break up the text for better readability. What matters is that each image serves to enhance your reader’s experience. Don’t just throw pictures in for the sake of adding images.
Pay Attention to Image Size and Quality
Like there’s no magic number of images to use in any particular medium – the size and quality of your image will also depend on where it’s being used. You’ll need higher-resolution images for your print materials than you will for your online articles. The higher the resolution, the better the quality, but the larger the file size – so it affects page load time, which we know can have a dramatic impact on not just your customer satisfaction but your SEO as well. We’ll write a more in-depth post on image size and quality sometime in the near future, but in the meantime, you can take a look at these guidelines straight from the WordPress Codex.
Name Your Images with SEO in Mind
The images you use in your online content will be indexed in Google Images, just like the content itself is indexed in Google. That’s why using keywords in the image names where it makes sense, can help boost your ranking and drive leads to your website.
Name your images in ways that fit your content, but allow them to be specific. “Cute dog” may be enough to describe the photo. But, taking it one step further to “Cute dog eating healthy pet food” is much more likely to place your image up high for search results from people who are looking for healthy dog food options for their furry friend. Taking the time to name your images correctly can do a significant bit of work in helping interested people find your website. It’s also crucial that while you’re naming images, you take the time to add the necessary alt text to describe the images. This helps with SEO but also allows people who are using screen readers to surf the web to get a better idea of what your page looks like.
Images bring your content to life – whether a blog post on your website or a brochure you hand clients when they physically visit your office. The right image selection can make or break you when it comes to reaching goals with your content. Make your image selection count – your profits and customers will thank you.