I know as a busy blogger you probably are thinking ‘well, a picture is just a picture.‘ You might be thinking that as long as you put pictures with your blog post you are doing well. Well I’m sorry to break it to you but simply picking out random pictures and slapping them next to your blog post is not going to help you achieve your objectives. The digital world is becoming more and more visual by the minute so spending time adding the right types of photos to your blog posts is key.
Obviously, the main objective of any blog is to, at some point down the road, make money or you might be looking into becoming famous or becoming an authority in your field. Regardless of your specific objectives, your chances of reaching those objectives and turning them into reality are seriously jeopardized by your use of the wrong pictures. You have to understand that there are many different kinds of pictures that you can use for your blog post. Pictures are tools and just like with any tool in the offline or in the online world, you have to use the right tool for the right job.
Using the wrong picture can end up eroding your online brand. This is bad news because you worked hard to develop a solid and credible online brand. Don’t undo all that hard work and time you’ve invested by being sloppy with your picture selection. Here are some tips on how to use the right pictures with the right blog posts:
Every Element of your Blog Impacts your Brand
I can’t emphasize this enough. Every element of your blog impacts your visitors’ perception of your brand. There is no such thing as an empty detail: Everything from the design of your blog, the fonts that you use, the spacing between the words, and definitely the pictures that you use. Everything goes together. Every little bit counts. This is why you have to pay careful attention to every element on your blog. One of the most visible elements of course are the pictures that you choose for your blog post.
Picture Selection must Aid Content Consumption
What should be the primary focus of your blog? I know you’ll probably say to make money. While making money is extremely important, you cannot get to that objective if your blog visitors don’t consume your content. This is why I would argue that the primary focus of your blog should be the content consumption. Every element in your blog must focus on aiding content consumption. Pictures must be selected so that they help readers read your materials more thoroughly. Pictures should be selected so that your readers would find your content more trustworthy.
Pictures as Headers
One of the most common uses of pictures on blog posts is to use them as headers. In other words, they are the graphical element at the top of the blog post. They set the tone of the blog. They setup expectation regarding the post. When you’re using a picture as headers you cannot just use any random picture. You have to use a picture that summarizes the theme of the blog post. Most importantly, the header picture must set the emotional tone for the blog post.
You have to understand that every blog post is like a movie. And just as movie trailers either encourage you or discourage you from watching a movie, your headers should positively impact your blog visitors enough that they would read your content.
Pictures as Emotional Triggers
Within a blog post, your picture selection should emotionally draw in the reader. You have to understand that over 2 million pieces of online content are published every single day. I’m not talking about content that is shared on Facebook 2 million times. I’m talking about 2 million specific and separate pieces of content that are produced every single day. That’s how much competition there is on the internet. This is why your pictures should act as an emotional trigger so that you can draw in your readers enough that they would consume the whole blog post.
Graphics as Explanatory Devices
It’s very interesting to note that a lot of bloggers that think they write in a very clear way are actually writing to lose their audiences. Seriously. If you think your audiences are there to be wowed with your command of technical jargon or terms of art in your industry, you are just fooling yourself. They are looking for content that they can quickly consume and learn from. They’re looking for reader-friendly content. This is why it’s extremely important for you to select graphics that do a good job explaining the concepts in your blog post. The clearer a graphic is, the easier it would be to readers to consume your complete post.
From screenshots to info-graphics, they all help and count as graphics.
Graphics as Rest Stops
Another common use of graphics for blog posts is that they provide areas where the readers’ eyes can rest for a fraction of a second. This is a very powerful role especially if you’re blog post tend to be quite long. According to a fairly recent scientific study, the ideal length for a very effective blog post is 1500 words. That may seem like a fairly manageable amount of number to use since you are writing or publishing that content. However, you need to step in the shoes of your readers.
Readers have coped with the huge volume of content published on the internet with an artificial form of ADHD. In other words, they just scan the content and if they come across a specific word or a specific body of text that they’re not interested in, they bounce out. In other words, they are scanning content to filter our content instead to read that content. This is the reality of the internet in this day and age. This is why you need to select graphics that let the readers’ eyes rest as they consume your content. This would facilitate a complete read through of your content.
Pictures can Complete your Content’s Overall Idea
Another key factor that you should consider when selecting pictures for your blog post is their use as narrative devices. You have to understand that when you publish a blog post, you are essentially telling a story. This story doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s always competing with other narratives out there. Unfortunately, there’s so much content published on the internet and there’s so many pieces of content competing with each other in any particular niche that it’s very easy to get lost in the mix. When you select pictures that can graphically complete your content’s overall idea, you get a competitive advantage. Not all pictures can do this. You have to select wisely.
There’s no Such Thing as a Neutral Picture
The problem with most bloggers is that they think the pictures just as good as any other pictures. As long as they throw a picture into the mix, they are good to go. This is absolutely wrong. You have to understand since the picture is worth a thousand words it’s also worth a thousand emotions. They are not emotionally neutral elements. The right emotions can make your blog post a joy to read or it can make it a chore. It truly is your choice. As long as you understand that there is no such thing as a neutral picture, you are well on your way to selecting the right pictures with the right blog posts.