7 Reasons Content Marketing Needs Images (& Actionable Tips)
Photographs, images and graphics are eye-candy readers can’t resist. As visual beings, we’re hard-wired to pay attention to these bright shiny objects. When it comes to content marketing, each picture and illustration is worth a 1,000 words.
In content marketing, these visual representations act like magnets pulling prospective readers in. Marketers take advantage of this attribute by using images to make content easier to consume and more accessible to a broader audience.
Why content marketing needs photographs, images and graphics.
- Attracts attention. Images provide color, emotion and action in a concise format that gets prospects’ attention. As a content creator, it’s critical to use editorial selection to get the most appropriate graphic to complement the related text. After the headline, images are the biggest draw in getting readers to consume your information. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Take the time to find the best photograph or image possible for your time and budget.
- Provides non-verbal signals. Photographs and other illustrations convey the content’s mood and setting through the selection of the type of images (photographs, cartoons or graphics), colors and lighting. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Consider the emotion you’re looking to elicit in your reader. To this end, take care when using stock photography so that the images don’t look like they could be used by any business.
- Conveys information. Through the image’s subject matter and setting, you notify readers without the use of words. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Since readers process the image’s meaning quickly compared to text where they need to think about the words, ensure your image and graphics deliver a consistent message. If you’re not sure, ask others within your organization.
- Enhances brand. In addition to brand logo and icon graphics, branding can be integrated into your content’s overall color and design palette. Also, image format can be integral to your brand. For example, the Wall Street Journal is known for its black and white illustrations of well-known people that predate the newspaper’s use of photographs; while the New Yorker magazine is known for its black and white cartoons. (In fact, they now run a contest to get readers to write a caption.) Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Incorporate your brand into your graphic presentation and set standards to ensure consistency. Think in terms of subject, setting, presentation (photo or graphic), color use, borders and captions.
- Offers variety. The use of photographs and other types of graphics provide a design element while breaking up blocks of text. The way photographs are integrated into the body of information conveys its branding. Alternatively, the photographs and graphics may be the focus of the content with limited text. For example, The Satorialist’s blog uses this approach to show off his photography. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Give thought to how images are placed within your content marketing? Pay attention to the size and shape of images as related to the headings, blocks of text and other information.
- Supports search optimization. Since search robots can’t actually see pictures, the text associated with each image is critical to its find-ability. In addition to its filename, each image can have a title and an alternate description for search engines to index. Further, the content before and after the image are scanned for keywords to help identify the image. This is particularly important since people search specifically for images and images appear on every SERP (aka search engine results page). Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Create a checklist to ensure that all online photographs are searchable.
- Supplies sharable symbols. In digital and social media context, the featured image of a post or webpage may appear on social media networks when the content is shared often in a thumbnail or icon size. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Think in terms of the shorthand you want your graphic to convey. Since this indirect audience may be exposed to your graphic content out of its original context, take care that image summarizes the content and draws readers in.
To maximize your content marketing’s reach and understandability, integrate photographs, images and graphics into your presentation. Develop standards to ensure that your images support your brand and make your content findable and recognizable whether it’s on your own publishing platforms, social media or third party media entities.
Are there any other reasons photographs, images and graphics make irresistible eye candy for content marketing? Show me what you mean.
Here are some related articles of interest.
- 31 Design Mistakes & How to Fix Them (Focus is on blogs but applies to all content.)
- 21 Design Elements (Another article focused on blogs but generally applicable to content marketing.)
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephcarter/427648358/