There is a long web history of sticking just any photo on the top of a blog post and hitting publish. But, blog post photos deserve more credit and attention. Here’s why, and how to use the photo for your blog post that commands attention.
If you’ve ever looked at an old newspaper, I mean a very old newspaper, like from back in the 1800s, you won’t see images. Headlines and text, but no images. That made pages terribly gray and boring, but using pictures was quite a challenge because many printing presses were just set up for text.
Blog Post Photos Chase Boring Away
Today, it’s just as easy to create a gray boring page in a blog by not using images or photos. I’ve done it when time was short and I had convinced myself that the text was so interesting by itself, that images couldn’t possibly help. But, I knew better then, and I know better now. Here’s why.
Blog post photos have multiple uses these days. The primary use is to grab reader attention and entice them to read.
Researchers compared presentations using a variety of visual support (color vs. black and white; plain textual visuals vs. those enhanced with “clip art” and graphs; and visuals on overhead transparencies vs. on 35mm slides) to a presentation with no visual support. Overall, the presentations using visual support were 43% more persuasive.
Researchers also studied the effects of pictures on memory.
A striking characteristic of human memory is that people remember pictures better than words.
Uses Go Beyond Just the Post
So, blog post photos can get reader attention, and help them remember. Remember what? Well, whatever was in the photo, but also any related information, like your company’s name, or the type of work you do.
The same photo has other uses beyond just for the blog post. It serves you in your social media promotions of the blog post. You might also use it in case studies, white papers and all manner of communications once it is in your asset library.
But, there is a more subtle benefit to using the right blog post photos. It makes a statement. The statement is that you put some thought and attention into the blog post. Perhaps more than many others do.
You all have clicked a search result only to land on a page where you get information you already know. Or, you get information that is so simplified that it’s of no value. Worse, you get information that’s totally wrong and just a repeat of incorrect information you’ve seen on countless pages.
The internet allows us to repeat mistakes over and over at high speed.
Blog Post Photos Style
One of the hallmarks of web pages with poor information is carelessness about visual quality (image quality and relevance) and the technical quality (punctuation, spelling etc). The right blog post photo has these characteristics:
- It is relevant. If the post is about a goose, it doesn’t show a duck. If the post is about the anguish of mental illness, the photo doesn’t show a person with a beaming smile.
- It is not a web mannequin. Yes, you know what they are. They are those smiling, people with the know it all, reassuring look staring right at you. Because they have been overused so much, people don’t even see them anymore. Not only that, but the same image will show up on thousands of sites. There are other overused images you should also avoid.
- It has technical quality. It’s not out of focus or blurry and it is sized and positioned right for the blog post. A 300-word blog post doesn’t need a photo that covers half the page.
- The photo should stir emotion. People might feel surprised when they look at it because it shows the unusual. They might feel amused, because it is funny. Or, they might feel curious because it challenges their ideas. In short, the right blog post photo is noticeable and memorable.
One way to get memorable photos is to create them yourself. You might set up a photo and record it with your camera. Or maybe you take a stock photo and change it by altering the color, or making it a composite using a photo editing program.
In the end, you post your blog article for the benefit of your reader. Give them a thrill along with some valuable information.