If you are like me, your blog posts take some time.
Sometimes lots of time.
I’ll toss a topic around, let it marinate. Even start writing and abandon it because I’m not feeling particularly passionate about it.
So by the time I’m finished, I want to be finished. I want to get it out of my brain so those guys Stephen King calls The Boys in the Basement can come out. You know, the ones with more bright, shiny ideas?
But wait. Now I have to think about a photo?
Why you need an amazing photo for your blog post
Because words alone are boring.
Your reader wants a reason to read your post. If she sees too many words squeezed together all bunched up, like they’re in a hot room and they can’t breathe, well, she’ll feel the same way.
Because, let’s face it, we’re all attention-disordered.
A photo (or the right one) will pull us by the shoulders and make us stop long enough to read the post.
Because at least 60 percent of your readers are visual learners.
Cave men knew it. A picture just makes us sit up, makes us remember a story. And yes, 60 percent of us are engaged more by the visual than other ways of taking in information.
Because photos work beautifully with analogies and metaphors.
The photo is the powerful partner of metaphor. Something is like something else and here, this photo helps you see that.
Because photos pull your reader into the post.
We are all curious creatures. We are hard-wired to want to know why. Photos can make your reader wonder, “Why is this here? And they’ll have to read your post to find out.
Because photos evoke emotions and give your business a personality.
Photos set the tone. Love. Fear. Laugh-out-loud images. At Cat’s Eye, we don’t take ourselves too seriously and our photos reflect that.
5 ways the right photo can increase your blog posts views
The right photo can increase reader engagement and blog post views by:
- Conveying the overall feeling or emotion of your post. My post on why negative headlines work is one of my most-read ones. The photo: a sort of mean-looking rock star guy sticking his tongue out.
- Illustrating an analogy or metaphor that was part of your main idea. We wanted a way to explain why we gave up our 10-month-old baby, marketingyoursmallbiz.com and went back to a sole focus on our 16-year-old company, Cat’s Eye Marketing. What better way than to show how contentious and needy the baby was and how jealous the teenager was because she had lost our love and attention? The photo: A very cute baby staring out from the page, focused, looking like he wants all your attention.
- Evoking surprise and/or curiosity. I did a blog post on finding your niche that also later became an article on Biznik.com that happened to get 1,700 page views and 81 comments. Using a little humor in the article, I talked about Swedish cowboys who collect Star Wars memorabilia as being, perhaps too limiting of a niche. The photo: A Marlboro Man-type cowboy with his horse.
- Complementing your headline. This is a good way to engage the reader more. But don’t look for a photo that, in a boring way, is exactly what your headline says, I mean, literally. In one post in a series on marketing with e-newsletters, the one on building your list carefully and ethically (“Rule # 1: Get Permission First”), the photo was a little boy in a classroom holding up his hand, waiting to be called on by the teacher.
- Simply making your reader smile. Okay, some photos I choose just because of the smile factor. I wrote a post called “The Crazy Cat Edition: Does the Real You Show Up Online?” and
started with the story of my cat, who is a ventriloquist. He imitates lots of different sounds and I never know which cat is showing up until he starts talking. The photo: the craziest-looking cat I could find.
You know, these strategies can apply to your other online communication tools, too. We use a sharp, interesting and unique photo every week in our weekly marketing e-tip. Check this one out for the issue, “The James Brown Guide to Copywriting: 5 Tips for Putting a Little ‘Soul’ in Your Marketing Copy.”
In a future post, I’ll share some of the free and low-cost sources I’ve found for incredible, fun photos
What about you?
If you use photos in your posts, what kinds are you attracted to?
Any tips to share?