Content marketing doesn’t always mean text-heavy articles and case studies. In fact, too much text can be a turnoff when prospects first find you, in the early stages of the buy cycle. Even when prospects are ready to learn more about your expertise and your services, they aren’t usually thrilled to read paragraph after paragraph after paragraph...
Quality images provide a visual break. They illustrate your point instead of forcing folks to take your word for it. They also lend character and color to your voice, which will make more people like you.
The basic rules for photo content are simple:
- DO use quality, high-resolution photos. There’s nothing more discrediting than a grainy, stretched-out image representing your company’s work.
- DON’T think so literally. A blog about IT services, for example, doesn’t necessarily have to feature photos of hard drives and monitors.
- DO be sure your images are optimized for web use, so they render well and don’t impact your page load times.
- DON’T copy images from other sites; it’s illegal. If you don’t have your own photo archive, invest in download credits from a royalty-free stock photo site, like Shutterstock.com.
- DO use images of people, especially on your landing pages and alongside calls to action. (They make your company more, well…personable.)
- DON’T use stock images of people. Everyone knows that generic-looking guy in the pinstripe suit is the same guy they’ve seen on six other websites. (With permission) use photos of actual people who you know and employ.
Here are some other tips to keep on mind for photo-based content marketing:
Marketing on Instagram
Think of Instagram as the more visual version of Twitter. When your working day brings you a thought-provoking (visual) moment, you can share it with your followers—in this case, your business contacts and prospective clients. As a marketer on Instagram, you have to be creative. (Unless you work in landscaping, home design, pet grooming, or some other field that’s fun to look at, most people won’t be excited to scroll through your professional pics.) So think about the themes you’re trying to cultivate, for example:
- Thought Leadership: Try posting images of business travel, which indirectly lets folks know you’re at a particular conference/training session, developing your skills.
- Dedication: You might share photos of employees working late, using teamwork, participating in charity events, or supporting the local community.
- Fun: If you’re okay with offbeat humor, you could even showcase office pranks.
Remember to promote your photos with relevant hashtags (e.g. #workinglate or #funatwork). You can also use Instagram as a market research tool, to see what your target audience is busy doing—right now and in general.
Marketing on Pinterest
If you don’t understand the point of Pinterest, you probably won’t be successful at sharing your content on the site. So the first rule for new users is to find something you’re personally excited to “pin.” Think of Pinterest as your company’s public bulletin board. Imagine you are required to hang it in the lobby of your building. Better yet, imagine each board is 10 stories high, on digital display in Times Square. What do you want your collective images to represent?
Here again, you can break your illustration goals down into themes. Each theme can have its own “board” under your Pinterest account. Check out your competitors’ boards and observe some major brands that you admire. By curating other people’s pins (re-pinning), you can build momentum and focus on the kinds of photos/images you want to sponsor.
Pinterest is also a great venue for running contests—a quick way to grow your Pinterest followers and even build up your email database. Ask prospects and clients to send you their images of something relevant to your brand, and reward winners with free services. Finally, remember to include the “Pin It” icon on any blogs or site pages that might lend well to sharing.
Content Marketing with Slideshows
Web audiences are busy and easily distracted. Sometimes even the most well-written copy won’t hold your readers’ attention—especially if you’re trying to explain a multi-step process or a complex service offering. But that doesn’t mean these subjects should be off-limits in your blogs and posts. Photo content can come to your rescue—in the form of slideshows.
There are dozens of tools you can integrate with your website or even your social media accounts to create a simple click-through reel or a more advanced video presentation with narration and music. Use slideshows to walk your leads through a series of screenshots, to share projects with visually interesting progress, or to illustrate a “10 Best” list that represents your recent work.
Content Strategy for “About Us” Pages
Was your website’s “About Us” page tacked on as an afterthought? Many of them are. “About Us” is typically one of the last pages written/designed, and that’s a mistake. Because if a visitor is curious enough to research your team and your story, he/she is probably more sales-ready than the average reader on your homepage. It’s time to start giving your “About Us” audience something to look at.
Get rid of your stock images and boilerplate copy, and invest in some real-life, professional photos. Depending on your company vibe and target audience, you can decide how fun or formal these images should be. Either way, think of “About Us” as an opportunity to introduce prospects to your team and your actual working environment. Invite them inside an area that looks welcoming, professional, and cutting edge.
Do you have questions about using photos/images in your content marketing? Send them our way! We’re always looking for new help topics.