Remember when you were a kid and you used to look at the pictures before trying to read the text?
Well, nothing much has changed! We might be educated now and able to read more easily, but a picture still paints a thousand words. We live in a visual culture, and research shows that regardless of the subject matter you cover in your blogs, using images in content marketing posts results in much higher levels of attention.
Here’s what pictures do for your traffic:
The Numbers Say It All
The statistics related to the use of imagery are dramatic:
- Online articles and blog posts containing images get 94% more total page views than those without.
- Adding both an image and a video boosts views by almost 50%.
- Consumers are 60% more likely to initiate contact with your company if their search turns up results containing images.
- Images beat out product information in online stores by 63%, detailed descriptions by 54%, ratings and reviews by 53%.
But as important as traffic is, it’s not the only reason to use images in your business blogging.
Frequently-quoted stats from the Nielsen Norman Group show that online users typically only read 20% to 28% of the content they access. The rest is scan-read with a view to deciding whether they actually want to read it thoroughly or not. That means your business blogging needs to use scanning-friendly formatting, such as subheadings, bulleted and numbered lists. This breaks the text up into smaller chunks.
The use of images serves to break it up even further. Really reader-friendly text has images every six to ten paragraphs. The reader can follow your train of thought, take short, five-second breaks to glance at the related image and then go back to where they left off. Granted, most business blog posts aren’t usually more than 600 to 800 words so one or two images is probably enough, although you can use up to five.
Better Message Delivery
Getting your message across is one of the main points of business blogging, but unless you’re an experienced writer you might not always get it right. Re-emphasize a particular point by highlighting it with a relevant image, and use the opportunity to reiterate the focal information in the caption. It’s as good as adding a banner, but has the added advantage of giving the reader a visual cue to look in the right direction!
SEO is the bane of the business blogger’s life. If you aren’t well-versed in the topic, it’s easy to fall behind on best practices and suffer reduced optimization as a result. Google doesn’t only index the text on your blog, so using images in content marketing gives you a “second chance” at search optimization—provided you know how to make the most of the opportunity. Including your keyword in the image name, caption and the alt tags gives you another primary reason to use it, without risking awkward readability or penalization for keyword stuffing.
Humans remember “snapshots” of information better than blocks of text, so if you want to improve the memorability of your posts then it’s essential to include images. But not just any images—recent eye-tracking studies show that users pay closer attention to images when they contain real people and relevant information than they do to “fluffy” pictures that are posted simply to jazz up the page.
Unfortunately, stock photo libraries haven’t yet caught up with this trend. Far too many posts are destined to failure in the image department because they carry so-called “clever” graphic elements to illustrate abstract concepts like content. If you’re in doubt, images of happy, smiling business people will generate a better response than a hand drawing little boxes with labels in them every time. Those might have worked a couple of years back, but they don’t anymore.
- We’re gradually moving closer to image-driven content, in which the use of pictures will be the primary vehicle for delivering your message. For now, as long as you have an image or two in each post you’re probably ok.
- Focus more on the quality than quantity when you’re using images in content marketing to ensure that you aren’t buying expensive pictures from your image library that are doing nothing for you.
- Learn how to optimize your images with alt tags, file names and captions, to get the best possible value from them.
For more information on using images in content marketing, please contact MediaWorld Global to request an estimate.