If your blog headline is gold, the blog image is silver. The blog image runs a close second to your headline, supporting it and drawing eyeballs to your post. No matter how amazing your headline or blog content may be, a bad image (or a lack of an image) can kill it, not only wasting your time, but shunning the world from your awesome sauce.
There is hope, and it comes in the form of great images. Here are some tips to boost your blog visits, performance and shareability of your content with images.
Avoid the cliché
Traditional stock photos are a sight for sore eyes. We all know that everyday stock photo of perfectly dressed, beautiful people sitting around a pristine table in an office with a skyline view of a generic city. While it’s easy to pick such a photo, it doesn’t tell your story.
At the same time, stock photo sites are littered with light bulbs signifying an idea, people shaking hands to show agreement, or a businessman smiling at his computer. These are typical choices for blog images. While they are more specific than a group of people in a room, they are overused and cliché. Much like banner block on banner ads, readers are tuning out typical blog photos.
Using stock photos is often necessary for any blog editor, and whether you have a budget for them or not, find images that don’t resemble traditional stock photos. Choose photos that relate to your audience and help them establish a connection. The sharing will come from there.
For example, this photo was used on a post about prospecting calls. It strays from the typical shot of a person on the phone.
Find photos that inspire thought and get people to click. To start, I typically read the blog post searching for analogies or references. For example, this post about sales prospecting mentioned a trip to a construction site to sell tools. That made for the perfect image.
Images can also inspire. If your post is about growth or movement, consider photos that demonstrate that, such as:
One way to stand out and increase the likelihood of shares is to pull quotes, tips or takeaways from a blog post into your image. Lay the copy on top of the image of the author or over an interesting background. Include your company logo so your brand is prevalent as the piece is shared around the Internet.
The great news about this tactic is you don’t need to be a designer or have fancy design software. Free tools such as Canva, enable you to create visual pieces such as:
This is a great way to showcase your guest bloggers, or some super stats or tips. It’s very sharable as it can live beyond the blog post.
Tap into your inner photographer or the inner photographers of your organization to create original photos for your blog. Instagram and Flickr are perfect outlets for this. For example, if you’re at an event and blogging, take some pictures of the speaker, the room and the city outside. All of these make for great blog photos.
I was recently at an event in Boston and took this shot for this post.
Photo editing is easy with Instagram, Flickr and even your native smartphone features. Since a blog is web-based and mobile viewing is growing, you don’t need high-resolution photos.
Find the connections and coworkers who shine in the world of photography. I always tap into Jeff Cohen for his great Instagram pictures. Just remember to credit the photographer.
This is also perfect when you’re searching for a photo at the 11th hour. Grab your camera or phone and take a picture of what’s around you. Pencils on a desk, your scribbled notebook, and even your lunch can make for great photos metaphorically representing your topic.
Go beyond creativity to the world of humor and your audience will love you for it. Cat photos, antics at the office, and funny stock photos can make for a great, sharable post. Use this sparingly as it can get old fast. It’s perfect for a fun Friday read or to balance out a serious topic.
RingLead CEO, Donato Diorio, being hilarious.
This photo supports a post about not being sleazy on social media.
This photo is perfect for a post about not being productive.
No matter your blog topic, brand, tone, personality or theme, consider different photo options for your next post. Put time and effort into selecting your photos and you’ll be smarter than a cat in glasses.