Some say that an image is everything and it's true. Especially when you consider the internet - the shift to visual optimization plays a major role. Photography has a huge influence on a company's branding, social media efforts and even search. If I had to choose one single factor that attributes to the growth of a blog or business, it would definitely be photography. Photos are a surefire way to attract an audience and garner opportunities within the creative community. Especially in terms of content and business offers.
There are a lot of ways in which to use photography too. It's easy enough. But before we dive in, I wanted to discuss the why's as far as content marketing is concerned. Once you understand the basis behind it, the easier it is to choose the right photos and use them for your business or blog.
WHY YOU SHOULD USE PHOTOGRAPHY FOR CONTENT MARKETING
Images are powerful. They can incite emotion, garner attention and leave a huge impression on the viewer. And sometimes the use of photos have the ultimate power over words. Here's how:
- 94% more views of articles with relevant images vs those without
- 48% more views of press releases with a photo or video vs those without
- 60% of consumers are more likely to consider a business if they have an image shows up in local search results
- 67% of e-commerce customers prefer a product with a high quality photo. Actually customers value the quality of an image more than the reviews and descriptions.
- There's 37% more engagement on Facebook posts with a photo vs those without
Images give us a unique opportunity to both convey a message and build trust. And if you use photos to share your aesthetic and brand values, you're on the right track. In many ways, one incredible photo can easily replace thousands of words. Meaningful photography can be one of the game changing tools that your business uses in order to succeed. You just need to make sure that you do it right.
How To Choose the Perfect Photo
There are actually a few things to consider when it comes to using a photo. Let's assume that you already know that the photo should be of good quality, the right size, proper composition and the right exposure. Quality photos are key, and quality relies heavily on a variety of aspects. Such as resolution, the size of the image and it's orientation based on its intended use. Effective composition and cropping of the photo can also help you draw attention to certain aspects of any given photo. But what are the three factors to determine the intended use of the photo? Let's take a look...
- Is it useful? The photo really needs to be useful. I mean, there's nothing wrong with using a photo as a placeholder to add color or fill some space. But you need to consider the context of the use of that photo. Is it thought provoking? Is it helpful? This means that the photo needs to help the viewer understand something, teach something or show something.
- Is it effective? An effective photo prompts an action, influences and communicates clearly. For example, a good and effective product photo encourage users to buy said product.
- Is it emotive? An emotive photo results in an emotional response. It compels the viewer to take some sort of action. It can be funny, entertaining or calming. As long as the photo appeals to our emotions, it will have a greater impact compared to one that doesn't.
Whatever photo you choose, just make sure that it is effective. Aside from the three factors listed above you can also ask yourself the following questions to determine if a photo you intend to use in your website is suitable and purposeful:
- Are there any benefits to using this particular image? For example, does it show off my my niche?
- How does this image relate to my brand or blog? Does it speak to my target audience?
- What message does this image send? Is there a message being sent at all?
- How will my visitors respond to this image? Will it change their opinion? For example, will it help facilitate the buying process?
Alright, so you've chosen the perfect photo. Here are seven different ways on how to use photos to up your game...
#1 BLOG POST GRAPHICS
This is the most obvious way in which to use photos. It can help with Pinterest traffic, especially if you use good pin-able graphics on your blog posts. You can use photography in your post to attract browsers on a variety of visual content marketing platforms. But there are a few things you should consider...
- Use vertical images. Make sure to use a vertical image for the first image in your blog post. The proportion of vertical images work very well for Pinterest, mainly because it attracts the browser's eye within the grid. Also, take some time find out why Pinterest is the new Google.
- Add text to your photos. Go ahead and embed the title of your blog post or whatever eye-catching info in the photo. The tactic behind this is that you want it to stand out and speak to someone who is browsing on Pinterest. This also lets the reader know what the blog post is about. This makes a huge difference when your pin pops up in search results or when Pinterest suggests pins.
#2 LANDING PAGES
A landing page is any page where you have an opt-in-opportunity. This can be a sales page, webinar registration page or a newsletter opt-in. Leadpages conducted a split test to find out the impact of background images and conversion rates. This is what they found: A page with an image in the background converts around 409% times more than a page with a plain background. Therefore it makes sense to use photography in your landing pages. Especially as the background - because who doesn't want to attract more users? Besides it adds more interest to your page. Just make sure to use a high resolution image for your landing pages. Simply because if the photo has a lower resolution, they tend to look blurry on larger screens.
#3 WEBSITE DESIGN
Photos that flow cohesively are key when it comes to using photography in website design. The goal is to instantly catch someone's attention. However, you need to make sure that it flows perfectly with your brand identity. You can use images as backgrounds in your parallax sections, thumbnail images for categories or images for your portfolio. You can even use images as category thumbnails for your about page, contact page, etc.
#4 E-BOOK COVERS
If you offer ebooks, using an image for that is crucial. So, if you write or offer free ebooks you can use beautiful photos as your book covers. The key is to choose photos that are guaranteed to captivate your audience. Because honestly, people have a tendency to judge a book by it's cover. So it's best to use eye-catching images.
#5 PRODUCT MOCKUPS
A mockup is a great way to showcase any product. They are an excellent way to demonstrate the different scenarios and use of any given product. It also allows the viewer to see the product in action. And as result, they are more likely to see it in their life.
It's in your best interest to create your own mockups from scratch. Yes, it takes time, but no one really wants to use the same mockup as everyone else. You can even use mockups to showcase products such as website templates, prints, wallpapers, stationery, etc. Mockups lend themselves well when it comes to demonstrations of different scenarios and uses of a physical or digital product.
#6 SOCIAL MEDIA GRAPHICS
In order to increase trust and brand awareness, you need to extend your brand to social media. You can use photos that reflect your brand for cover photos on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. You can also use photos to create social media graphics where you can share your content, special announcements and news about your business. There are several different tools out there that you can use to create your own social media graphics. The two below are pretty awesome:
Canva When it comes to graphics tools for social media, you can’t go wrong with Canva. This is a free tool, with some premium items. It's a web-based program that is perfect for people with limited to no design skills. All you need to do is upload your logo and create amazing branded graphics. You can use your own photos, upload stock photos or even choose from their library of free and paid photos.
There are also a lot of text layouts to choose from that will instantly elevate a photo or background into a Pinterest-worthy graphic. You can even create original designs using Canva’s Elements, such as grids, shapes and lines. Infographics work especially well on Pinterest and Instagram, where you’re meant to add visual, not textual content.
Pablo Pablo is an extension of Buffer, the social media management tool. Pablo's purpose is to help you jazz up quotes, tips and other short texts on social media.There are basically two steps in Pablo: First, you select one of the thousands of background photo options (or upload your own); second, you add text over it. It includes three simple photo effects: contrast, blur and black and white.
#7 E-LETTER DESIGN
Photos are great to use in email marketing. You can use photos to create banners, headers and call-to-actions in the emails that you send your audience. Images help to break down long sections of text and make the content more reader-friendly. Let's say that only 50% of those subscribers actually read your e-letter. The other 50% will glance at your e-letter and not really read the articles. However, they will look at the photos. And if the photos are good, they might even read the captions.
That makes the photos you choose very important. Therefore it's a good idea to use good quality images and close-ups. Don't use pictures with too many items in them or with the subject matter too far away.
Now don't forget to optimize your photos. The average web page is about 1.28 MB with about 61% attributed to photos. If you aren't careful, your site's dependence on images could actually lessen the user's experience. Simply because it slows the page down. Which means it can slow down their ability to use the site. Luckily, there are a variety of free apps that allow you to optimize the file size of your images....
Now I'm sure that you are already use photos in one of these ways for your blog and business. And you can get really creative in terms of the various forms and different purposes. The options are endless! Just remember to not use images for the sake of using images. The photos should be used for a greater purpose. Far behind filling space or making a site for visually interesting. With some forethought and consideration, images are a powerful tool when it comes to both your business and blog. A tool that can really up your game for good. And if you're looking for secrets of bloggers that every business owner should know, head over here.
What are some ways in which you use photos for your brand or blog? Have you used any of the tactics above? Did they work? Did you use a tactic that we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments below so we can discuss.