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Remember how much you would have rather read a book with lots of pictures versus one with only text when you were a kid? The same applies, even now.
A picture speaks a thousand words, and when it comes to your content, that cannot be truer if your image is relevant. Images add richness to your content, and make readers more willing to read a long article. And they have great SEO value too!
The following are the types of images you can use to add an extra bit of pizazz to any blog post, article, or other piece of online content.
That photo grabbed your attention, right? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lured into reading a post simply because it had an eye-catching photo attached to it. The key is to find something that either relates to your content or proves your point. In this case, my point was to catch your eye. Some examples include:
Relevant photos can help the audience really feel the point you are trying to make with your content as well as breaking up the text making the story seem like less of a daunting read.
Have you ever noticed that you tend to trust a Twitter user or Facebook friend more if they have a photo of themselves as opposed to a cartoon, logo, or other non-personal bio image?
The same goes with content. Readers love to see the face behind whatever topic is being covered in a piece of content. This includes:
Including people photos will increase the reader’s engagement and trust with your content as it lets them know that there is a real person on the other side of the screen creating the content.
Screenshots, in my opinion, are essential when it comes to two particular types of content – how to articles and lists.
You can write the greatest tutorial on how to use a piece of software, but if it doesn’t include screenshots, it will make the reader still feel that the software may be to complicated for them to understand. For example, I could say that, when editing photos in Gimp, you should scale the image to the appropriate size to fit the article, such as I did with the above photo in this post to make it 570px wide. Or I could say that and then include the following:
Including the screenshot directs readers to the right menu option to correspond with my instructions, helping readers get to know the software before they get to it and give them a reference point if they get stuck.
Have you ever seen a piece of content such as the top 25 ___ websites? Have you noticed that some lists go viral while others are just blah. The difference is generally in whether the post has included screenshots of the websites in question.
A good example of this is how Dainis listed 33 blogs to make you a social media and marketing guru with screenshots of each site.
So the next time you do a list of your favorite people on Twitter, include a screenshot of their Twitter profile. Or if you do a list of your favorite brand’s Facebook pages, include a screenshot of their fan pages. This will make readers love your list even more and share it with their audience!
So now that you have some good ideas of what kind of images to include in your content, here are some tools and resources to get those images.
The following are great sources for eye-catching photography.
There are tons of other resources – simply search for creative commons images or stock photography on Google to find them, but the above are a great place to start. Also, if you find a photo you want to use but it isn’t creative commons licensed, all hope is not lost. Just email the owner of the photo / photographer and let them know what you had in mind. You might get a great response!
Whenever I need to grab a photo of a person, I tend to go with their Twitter profile photo as it is one they have chosen to represent themselves online. Other places to grab a photo include:
Or, if you prefer, you can contact the person and ask them to send you a photo of their choosing for an upcoming piece of content you are working on. Generally, if you let them know you are including them on a list or a positive review, they will be happy to oblige!
If you don’t have a program like Snagit or similar to get screen captures, then you have some free options to work with.
Windows 7 also has a Snipping Tool that allows you to grab screenshots easily, but I have found those captures are very low quality, so depending on your needs, you might want to use one of the above options instead.
Now it’s your turn. How do you use images in your content? Please share your strategies and resources with us in the comments!
Photo Credit: Ground Squirrel of the Desert
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Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast who also enjoys photography, tennis, and salsa dancing.