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The importance of imagery in your content marketing strategy

Written by Martin Jones

photographer.2jpgThere’s a wide range of resources you can use for branding your business, but few are as effective as content marketing. Content marketing boosts brand visibility and enhances your company’s online presence to ensure that you can connect with a large consumer base.

In addition, content marketing is a diverse field, so you have almost complete autonomy to decide how your want to present your enterprise on the Internet. Whether you rely heavily on blogging or prefer to publish regular whitepapers, case studies, eBooks, etc … there’s one asset you should definitely include – pictures.

Images might seem like unnecessary fluff that do little beyond take up space on the screen. After all, why would you want to put waste room on a photo when educational text could take its place?

Read on for a look at why you need to incorporate pictures when using content for marketing your business.

Another brick in the wall

When consumers are searching for information online, few of them want to read a giant wall of text. In fact, some people will click away from a page if it’s fully loaded with writing. According to a recent whitepaper from PR Newswire, readership for press releases with images is 14 percent higher than their all-text counterparts.

Think about it from a consumer’s perspective – if you want to engage a business online, would you really want to read a lengthy blog post that doesn’t include a single graphic or picture? In most instances, the answer is likely a “no.”

From a visual standpoint, a large bunch of text isn’t appealing in the slightest. When you’re publishing content, images serve to break up massive chunks of writing, which ensures that your audience doesn’t get bored or frustrated and navigate to another site.

seo2Enhanced SEO value

Many businesses rely on content marketing to boost their SEO value and better their ranking in Google results pages. While companies can climb the search engine mountain by using keywords, building internal links and implementing other text-based strategies, pictures are almost secret weapons.

Social Media Today points out that pictures are a valuable tool for generating SEO value. Simply by associating some text with an image, you can increase the likelihood that Google and similar sites will place your page near the top of its links.

You don’t have to go above and beyond to optimize your graphics. Copying and pasting the title of a blog post or including a short phrase with a keyword is likely sufficient for getting Google’s attention for all the right reasons.

A reminder

It might be tough to hear, but customers aren’t going to remember everything they read on your website. Your copywriter might spend hours on a whitepaper or half a day on a 1,000-word blog post, but consumers aren’t going to retain every single word.

For one, it’s almost impossible to keep all of that information straight and not start confusing key points with one another. Second, some portions of your content won’t be relevant to specific members of your audience. As a result, these clients will likely gloss over that text and search for something that speaks directly to them. Even if a post is geared exactly toward your most loyal clients, they’ll likely struggle to remember every little bit about it.

A small picture can combat that problem by providing a tangible reminder about the content. The image doesn’t have to taken by Ansel Adams – there just has to be something on a page that catches a customer’s attention and stays with him or her for an extended period.

Perhaps the best way to achieve this objective is by being a bit creative. Instead of using generic graphics, try using photos to extend a metaphor from your content. For instance, if a blog post is about entrepreneurs acting on their own, you can compare them to lone wolves and then use the animals in the accompanying imagery.

This strategy can go a long way toward differentiating your content from what’s uploaded by your competitors. Unique photos give your brand a personality that will help your posts stand out in an increasingly crowded online marketplace.

To stock or not to stock?

Once you decide to start including pictures in your content, you have to find some. You can’t use Google to find images to post all over your site, and you also can’t steal anything from people who hold copyrights.

That’s why many small business owners turn to stock imagery. This is likely the quickest and easiest solution, as entrepreneurs can gain access to hundreds of thousands of photos that can be used in marketing collateral.

picturesPurchasing a subscription to a stock gallery is likely cheaper than buying images on a case-by-case basis and is definitely easier than going out with a camera. However, some critics find fault with these pictures because they’re generic and don’t have a great deal of personality.

There is a new solution available. Wired reports that Offset, a new service offered by Shutterstock, has a library of images from professional photographers. Scott Braut, the vice president of content for Shutterstock, explained that the key characteristic of photos from Offset is that they are natural.

“We have authentic imagery, images that were shot in natural light of real looking people. We have images that reflect a contemporary art direction and style, images that resonate with high-end brands. And we have storytelling images. Images that tell a story by themselves of work with other images to tell a story,” Braut said.

The editors who chose pictures for Offset used to work for the Associated Press and National Geographic. Much of the content is produced by photographers who were on assignments for other companies. As a result, the images are more varied than what’s traditionally distributed through Shutterstock.

Ultimately, pictures can make a world of difference for your content marketing strategy. There are nearly infinite ways you can capitalize on imagery to enhance your business’ SEO value. Do you incorporate photos into your content?

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About the author

Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Sr.Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he leads the social and content marketing strategy for Cox Business. He is also the editor of CoxBLUE.com and is a featured contributor for several business and marketing websites including Social Media Today, Steamfeed.com., Yahoo Small Business Advisor and more. He is a frequent and sought after guest speaker on the topic of social media, growth hacking and content marketing.

Recent Awards and Recognition Include:

Top 50 content Marketers - EContent Magazine

Top 100 Social Media Influencers - Peer Index

Top 100 Small Business Influencers - Small Business Influencer Awards

Top 50 Content Marketers - Onalytica Top 200

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