When people start content marketing they typically start with a blog attached to their website, the idea being that if you blog often enough the search engines indexed your website and start to send an audience to you as you rank better and better within the search engines. This is how I started and it definitely works.
Content marketing is much, much more than that, its purpose is not only to attract an audience, it also needs to engage and build authority with the audience it does attract. Ultimately of course leading this audience to do something, subscribe to your newsletter, share something of yours or purchase from you.
This means that you need something more than simply content designed to be featured and liked by the search engines, you need something that engages your audience. This means that the content you create must tell a story that entertains, educates and solves a problem of your audience.
Images are often an afterthought when it comes to blogging and that’s a mistake of epic proportion. Every single blog post needs to have an image and the image you choose can have a big impact on the spreading your brands image. Someone is more likely to check out your content if their eye is drawn towards it by an engaging image.
This can easily be verified by anyone that uses Twitter, simply send one tweet out without and image and then the next day send the exact same tweet out with an appropriate image and then compare the engagement and shares of both tweets.
Guidelines for Choosing Images
The best images are colorful, they draw the visitor’s attention and offset the mild colors of your text. If the image you want to use isn’t colorful enough, it’s easy to enhance the colors with image editing software.
Images should be simple with a strong focal point, the focal point is the area to which your eyes are drawn first. You can determine this by showing your picture to someone and asking what they see first, if it’s the same as what you see, the image has a great focal point. Simplicity helps this and also makes your image more viewable on mobile devices.
Finally, an image must be relevant to the content, don’t simply select images that are merely colorful and eye catching. If the image isn’t relevant, it will clash with the message of your content and your brand.
Finding Images for your Blog
There are several ways to find images for free. One is to use Google to search for creative commons images, you do this simply by clicking the advanced search options within Googles image search and selecting the appropriate license. Creative commons images are free images that anyone can use, usually with some restrictions. For instance you might have to give credit the creator of the image and you can do this by simply writing ‘image by (name), licensed through creative commons.’
Another option is to use stock image sites, there are many good images offered for free through stock photo sites. If you don’t mind paying a little, there are even more available as most of the images on website-designs.com show, I believe 99.8% of these have been purchased for a dollar or two.
The best images to use however are your own original ones. Whenever possible, take your own photographs or create your own images and memes.
Images enhance any blog and are a valuable tool in anyone’s content marketing arsenal and now instead of thinking of them as afterthought perhaps you will give them the time they deserve, your audience engagement will improve as a result.