Do people remember your blog posts? Does your content have staying power? If you evoke emotions in your readers, I can guarantee that your ideas will remain firmly planted in their brain.
How do you do that as a blogger? With the right photo, of course.
I’ll be writing a post soon to help you figure out exactly where to get good photos that won’t break the bank, but for now, just know that posts with engaging photos get read more and shared more—even on sites that you aren’t necessarily active on.
Why You Should Touch the Heart and the Head in Your Posts
One of the biggest factors in remembering something—an image, an experience— is how much emotion is attached to it. For all you science lovers, here is the reason: The amygdala, the center of emotion in the brain’s temporal lobe, lights up when emotional content is shown, which in turn boosts the activity in areas of the brain that form memory.
The non-geek explanation: The brain is hard-wired to remember things that evoke emotions. Either you want to remember something to avoid it (if anger, pain or sadness was felt) or you want to keep it as a memory to return to the experience (if you felt joy, happiness or fun).
5 Emotions That Pack a Punch in Photos
If the content that is most remembered appeals to readers’ emotions as well as their intellect, then our blog post photo becomes an important way to make that connection. There are endless emotions we can evoke, depending on our post’s topic. Here are five examples:
In What’s Under Your Bed: 10 Monster Blogging Fears Worth Chasing Down, I tackled the fears bloggers have that keep us up at night—all the what-ifs. What better picture than a child sitting up in bed, afraid to go to sleep?
I wrote Is Writing with Vulnerability a Sign of Low Self-Concept? to provoke a discussion about whether the best bloggers and writers take off their armor and allow themselves to be ‘hurt,’ whether being open and vulnerable enables them to connect with their readers on deeper levels. The photo? A cute baby expressing surprise and wonder.
In Social Media Fail: 5 Reasons I Will Unfollow You, I shared my frustrations with following someone on Twitter, only to find out that their tweets are divisive, or too ‘me-centered,’ or one-way broadcasts. The photo evokes emotions of unhappiness and disappointment.
In the lingering pain of 9-11, my post, September 11, 10 Years Later: Why Stories Still Matter, focused not on the anger and sadness surrounding the event, but on the acts of kindness and compassion, often between total strangers. The photo of the NYC firefighter holding the photo of the girl I mentored, the child who wanted an autograph from a firefighter, appeals to compassion and reconciliation.
And one to just make you laugh
They say that laughter is the shortest bridge between two people. In Why You Should Be a Copycat Blogger, I compared my crazy experiences as a nervous first-year teacher to the challenges of beginning bloggers as they make their way through those first months. The photo: a cat whose whole purpose is to make you smile.
Do you know what you want your readers to feel with each blog post?
Do you use photos to evoke emotions?
If you use photos to make your content more powerful, which types work best for you?