Visual content has been on incredible rise for a few years now: Content without images is hardly ever able to attract people, links and social media signals.
If you are not making the most of images for your content marketing, it's a good time to start doing that now. Here's an easy to-implement guide for you.
Related Article: The Rise of Visual Marketing
1. Image Optimization Basics
Images make a solid part of your content improving your search engine rankings (by making your content stand out and thus attracting links, increasing engagement and improving social media signals) but only if you take care of the basics. Here's a quick image optimization checklist for you:
• Hosting: Media content increase server load, so make sure to select the most reliable host. I use Site Geek to discover affordable and reliable hosting companies to try. Their hosting comparison tool is just awesome.
• Page load time: To analyze your images, run your page past this free tool. It will show if any of your page elements slows down the page
• Filename: Make the file name keyword enriched, as well as the description when you upload it. When you make the file name, try to include both keywords involving what it is about, and the brand name you want it associated with.
• Alt text should be used to describe the image to search engines. Using your keywords there (where appropriate) will help your images to earn additional visibility in visual search engines. Refer to this article if you want to use image title as well to find out how to use both.
• Finally, make sure you are using images responsibly. Here's a great guide to help you understand image copyrights and Creative Commons.
Related Article: How to Optimize Your Images for Pinterest
2. Images and Text – Like PB&J
Like peanut butter and jelly, text and images just go together. You can annotate, overlay, and otherwise combine the two for the best possible social media results.
Combining text and images is your best bet. You can do that through annotating your images, exploiting meta-data, and properly captioning everything you post so it is optimized for social media's unique search forms.
Here are some tools to add text to images and screenshots.
I am part of a Google Plus group that promotes coffee. Every morning, they post a photo with a caption about how great the drink is. Sometimes, they use text overlay on the image, but the idea is the same. Every time, the photo is humorous and easy to relate to. Here's a good example:
This group has gained almost 10 million views, and has nearly 7,000 followers in their circle. For a Google Plus account, that is quite impressive.
Text and images used together create a great opportunity to put a smile on your social follower's faces. They are also very likely to both share that content, and come back to you for more of it. You should be regularly posting humorous images, because they work. Plain and simple.
3. Images That Explain Your Content
A good picture is always going to catch the eye. When you are working with a social media platform like Facebook or Google Plus, the majority of your link is going to be dedicated to a header image people will see on their feed.But don't neglect microblogging sites like Twitter; you can easily upload a photo, while providing a link.
When you do provide a photo, whatever the platform, you should make sure it has something to do with the content it is attached to. One great way is to actually make it a text picture, with either the title of the content, or a snippet from it, set on a nice background.
Select images that match the tone, message, and overall point of the post. A caption tying it in is also a good idea. Further reading: Optimize your images for Pinterest
4. Infographics Galore
Back in 2010, WordStream posted a case study about their use of infographics. Not only had they significantly boosted engagement, but they had managed to score a link from CNN that was a huge traffic boost.
Over the years, these kinds of stories have become well known for numerous brands. Infographics are an effective way of catching attention, increasing your chances at scoring a viral hit, and improving engagement with customers, readers, or any target audience.
The great thing about infographics is that by their very nature, they are annotated. They combine text and visuals in a direct way that imparts information quickly. People like infographics in the same way they like text based list posts. Only they have more of an impact, because humans are visual creatures who will always be more drawn on an instinctual level to bright colors and flashy pictures.
A rule of thumb to follow is to take all of your most popular content, and start planning infographics as a means of repackaging them. That way, you are using information you already know your audience wants. But you are giving it a fresh spin they are likely to both look at and share. It also gives you prime content to post on sites like Pinterest, where infographics rule.