Before we wade into the pool of using images in content marketing strategy, let’s first chat about what content is. Basically, content is everything that shows up on your digital platforms. That includes images, copy, reviews, comments, testimonials videos and more. It’s the stuff that fills your pages and feeds—and it’s super important.
Now that we have that brief, and oh so scientific definition out of the way, we’ll get to the good stuff: Images.
The way things look on your website, social, and elsewhere matters. They are a visual representation of your brand, just as copy is the written representation of your brand.
So, why should you care so much about how things look? We’ll tell you why…
People are Visual
There’s no way around it—we humans are visual. Even the writerly types. The success of Instagram is a testament to the power of images and creating user engagement. And these days, video is leading the charge of visual branding.
This is why just writing a bunch of copy won’t do the job. Yes, information is good, but you have to get people hooked first.
Images in a content marketing strategy are the hook.
They not only give people something to look at, they’re like signposts that help direct users where they need to go. Whether it’s a transition in a blog, or a scroll of images on social media—images give direction.
They also induce action.
Consider a business, or nonprofit, like ASPCA. Of course, we’re all familiar with the infamous commercial where Sarah McLachlin sings her heart wrenching song, “Angel.” But, do you know why that commercial was so impactful? Those images.
The dogs, the cats, the big eyes, the cages. Ack. Gonna tear up just thinking about it. But, the images work. They appeal to our emotions and we can’t look away. We must do something for the animals, right?
Furthermore, images induce memory. We associate those puppy-dog eyes with ASPCA. When we think of donating to a because or adopting a pet, we remember that ad. And maybe even head on over to the ASPCA website to take a look. Because we are visual.
Consistency = Credibility
When it comes to building your brand and marketing, consistency is key. The more consistent you are with images in your content marketing strategy, the more credible you seem. Those images also help to establish a tone for your brand, which helps your audience feel like they know you better.
They want that connection—they want to identify with something that seems cool, or important, or fun, depending on your brand’s vibe.
Here a few ways to establish consistency:
- Decide what emotions you want to evoke: excited, playful, joyous, serious, professional?
- What makes you different than competitors? Highlight that in the visuals.
- Use the same font. Whether on social, website, or email, what font do you want associated with your business?
- Choose a color palette/filter. Once you know your brand colors/filters, you can apply them across all digital platforms to make your brand more cohesive. Basically, it looks like you care.
(Image courtesy of Canva)
One way to gather all this important information for images in your content marketing strategy is to create a brand style guide. A style guide will tell anyone working on your marketing how to use your brand elements, from wording to images. That way, consistency remains and your brand is identified the way you want it to be. Here’s a great example of branded imagery from our friends at Four Fin Creative:
Tell a Story
Ultimately, your images should tell the story of your brand. That doesn’t mean that every photo has to have the exact same color or content. But they should contain elements that point back to your brand’s core values and services.
If you own an accounting business, money will obviously be a topic of conversation, and probably show up in images in your content marketing strategy. But you don’t need every photo to have dollar signs and papers in it.
Consider what you love about your business, what makes you different, what your brand voice is, and what your value. If you’re marketing to other small businesses, perhaps include images that somehow represent that. Or, if integrity is a core value, use images that communicate honesty and trust.
Remember, this is just as much about connecting with your audience as it is about developing and nurturing leads. Try shifting your perspective from just selling, to telling. People are far more interested in hearing and seeing who you are before they commit to your service or product.