Content marketing without pictures is unthinkable. If content marketing content has at least one visual element, it is shared twice as often on social media as one without graphic elements. Experiments have shown that authentic, unique images that evoke emotions are particularly effective.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” – This metaphor, which was published in 1921 in a journal of the advertising industry , gets to the heart of it.
Even Martin Missfeldt, an expert in the field of image SEO, is convinced that images are essential for the success of a website – at least in 99% of all cases.
“They enliven the page rhythm, create trust and often offer add value in terms of content. An image simply appeals other areas of the brain – where there is much more emotion than in the areas of word processing. You can perceive images much faster than written text, which makes a ‘first impression’ when you open a (new) website.”
In short, the fascination with visual content is very clear in a nutshell. Images help us to convey messages in fractions of a second. As the infographic of Searchenginejournal.com shows, 55% of users actively spend less than 15 seconds reading content. Using expressive images or graphics, even complex relationships can be transported in a compact and entertaining way. Visual content stays in the memory longer than text. According to a BuzzSumo study, this form of content more quickly evokes emotions in the user and is therefore more often shared and liked in the social media.
Pictures and graphics relax the text
Text deserts are taboo in content marketing. By using visual elements, we create inviting content for reading and staying. Pictures loosen up the text and give the user the feeling that he can skim through and understand the text without much effort. In addition, beautiful and matching images evaluate a text visually.
We can consume pictures quickly and easily
In addition, images allow us to substantiate certain text passages and make them easier to understand. For example, if you read a DIY or construction manual, you will want next to the instruction text also pictures that show how the individual steps run and what the final result looks like. Thus, not only the text is visually appealing, but also the information from the text through the image content better and above all transported faster. Our brain processes and understands images immediately; reading and understanding a text or sentence takes much longer.
Text-image combinations allow even more complex relationships to be represented only by means of an image.
Pictures ensure more engagement
If a content marketing content has at least one visual element, it is shared twice as often on social media as one without graphic elements. According to another study, visual content – content marketing generates up to 94% more views and user engagement increases by 37%. So why give up the power of images?
Images address areas in the brain where there are many more emotions than in the areas of word processing.
Good pictures make your content unique
It’s not the quantity that counts, but the quality. Back in those days, we have to resort to a Content Marketer again and again. That is not reprehensible. However, we should make sure that users do not immediately identify them as standard Stock Photos. Nevertheless, good self-made or meaningful images of bloggers are of course always beautiful and, above all, more unique.
Also make sure that the images enhance your content, make it better or at least amusing. It is best if the pictures tell the same story as the text. Sometimes it is just not possible to find suitable pictures. Then it can be more effective to choose a funny, amusing or provocative image. Here, however, the caption or the surrounding text must lead to the picture and draw a line between the picture and the text.
Tip: If you conduct an interview or include expert opinion in your article, always ask your expert or interview partner for suitable footage. Someone, for example, who has already built a birdhouse and blogged about it, can come up with corresponding pictures. But also remember to get the consent, so you can then use it for your content marketing.
Relevant image formats for content marketing
Collages are a nice change from single pictures. The advantage of collages is that you can use several pictures at the same time and thus show different perspectives when needed, while also saving space. And you have the opportunity to make a unique picture from several already used pictures. There are many tools that make it easy for you to create collages, such as PicMonkey or Canva .
Tip: The tools can be used to create collage and image templates with your CI, which you can use for your pictures! This increases the recognition value!
The illustration is, to put it bluntly, the infographic’s little sister. Illustrations help to convey relevant contents and information in a memorable and descriptive way. As with the infographic, complex issues are simplified and made more accessible.
In addition to the standard images, there are of course other options with which you can make your text visual. A popular web phenomenon is memes, which are wonderful for small humorous deposits. But how does it look like? Is it allowed to simply distribute millions of split, edited images? Yes and no!
Especially with memes, it is very difficult to understand who is actually the author. On Know Your Meme.com you can find information about the origin of the corresponding memes, but as “Origin” usually only Reddit, 4 Chan or 9 Gag is specified. Of course, that these are not the actual authors is evident. So if you use memes for your posts, it’s still not theoretically safe. Legal action may be taken against the Memes, but it is probably not. We love memes, like to use them for our blog posts (obviously), nobody cared for us yet.
GIFs are particularly popular on social media channels. But they can also be integrated into content marketing articles. GIFs are a relatively effective means of gaining attention. Since they are not as regular as “normal” images, you can stand out very well from others with GIFs. Probably the best-known platform for GIFs is GIPHY . But also on Reddit or Imgflip you will find it.
Sometimes abstract and complex relationships can be better visualized using images and graphics. Studies estimate that between 50-80% of the human brain is busy processing visual stimuli such as shapes, movements, patterns, spatial perception, and so on. It is in our nature to decode such visual patterns. We can recognize facts in an infographic within seconds and understand their relationship to each other. As Prof. Stoll put it in our interview, “the visualization of a difference in numbers is faster than you had to find it out of an Excel spreadsheet based on the numerical values.”
the same principle also applies here: If you use pictures within infographics, you must have the rights for it. Images under the Creative Commons license, memes, or images provided explicitly by bloggers are no problem. If you use pictures from picture agencies, make sure that you can easily use the images for infographics and their distribution. If you use only self-created graphic elements, then this is of course also completely harmless.
Incidentally, it does not always have to be a gigantic infographic. With the help of mini-graphics, it is often possible to better depict sections of text that are particularly heavy in numbers and, by the way, make the text framework wonderfully relaxing. By the way, a tool for creating infographics is Piktochart .
SEO in images for content marketing
Pictures are a critical element in online marketing and also a decisive factor for SEO – especially for success in organic search.
What do I have to look out for in content marketing, what must images be in order for them to work?
“A good picture is always ‘appropriate to the context’. Unfortunately, one can not formulate that more precisely because there are different ‘optimal images’ from keyword to keyword. In most cases, they should not be too small, they should have a good color saturation, sufficient contrast and not blurred or blurred look. Of course, here too: Exceptions confirm the rule in individual cases. ”
“The limits of content marketing between e-commerce and guidebook are fluid – and ideally not noticeable to the user. In this respect, suitable images in the context of e-commerce can perhaps appeal more to the emotional level and give you the feeling that you have always wanted this product.
In other contexts, explanatory (info) graphics may be more appropriate because they can be read much faster and more accurately than a 500-word paragraph.
The SEO approach is always the same: sufficient size (image dimensions), compressed as much as possible (file size). How to achieve good loading times. In addition, a clean on-page optimization (alt text, caption, embedding paragraph and the heading before this paragraph) ensures that Google can correctly assign the relevance of the image for a specific keyword. It is also very important to integrate the image where it belongs in the content. So not a picture carrousel with 10 product images at the beginning and then page by page text desert. The golden rule is that every 2nd paragraph needs a keyword-relevant image.”
What should one generally pay attention to in content marketing when using pictures?
“Not only in content marketing but in general: the multiple uses of an image is always good for the ranking. However, it is important to ensure that you always give the image the same (!) Keyword signals. There should never be any contradictions in terms of what’s on a picture and why it’s relevant to that keyword. ”
Is there an optimal image size for images in content marketing?
“No, the bigger, the better. Where a reasonable upper limit currently at approx. 3000 pixels on the longer edge. – Ten years ago, the limit was still 1024 pixels on the longer edge – this is considered as ‘medium-sized’ at best today.
Of course, the big images should not be scaled down (!) On the website using Width and Height. The image seen on one side should always be as small as possible and as large as necessary.
However, it is important and very useful to show an enlarged zoom version after clicking on a picture. This enlarged version is always the one that Google displays in the image search ranking. Therefore one should consider before the upload, to what extent one integrates a branding in the large zoom version (which can not be seen on the website itself) and tries to encourage the users to click. ”
One of the easiest ways to acquire licenses for pictures is to buy them from one of the numerous picture agencies. But even if you have already paid for the license, it does not automatically mean that you can use the image for any credible purpose. For example, some agencies prohibit sub-licensing, so you may not use the image on Facebook. Reputable picture agencies also prohibit the use in connection with erotic and pornographic content or political statements. So you always read exactly the terms and conditions of the picture agencies, otherwise, threaten in case of infringement expensive warnings or claims for compensation and injunctive relief.
A small overview of the most popular picture agencies, which we have already used:
Offer: over 80 million images, illustrations, and videos
Price: Depending on the package and image size from $150 up to $499
Offer: over 185 million photos, vector graphics, videos and music
Price: image packages as needed, license and downloads between $29 to over $199
Images under Creative Commons licenses
A free alternative to photo agencies are images that are licensed under Creative Commons licenses. These can be found at Wikimedia Commons and often at Flickr.com. However, to be sure that you can really edit and distribute the image you are looking for, it’s best to use Google Image Search. Put the tick next to “For reuse and change marked”.
If images are subject to the “CC BY” license, it means that you may use and duplicate the work as long as the author of the image is named.
However, the CC BY is not the only license found among the images on Wikimedia Commons or Flickr. Equally common is CC BY-SA, which states that you can only use the image as long as you make it available under the same license and name the author (from whom you obtained it). In total, six standard licenses allow you to use the images under certain conditions.
If you would like to use images from the internet that are not subject to any of the six CC licenses, you must obtain permission from the author of the picture to use it.
Note: It is also possible for someone to put a picture under a CC license, even though he does not have the rights to do so. One hundred percent security you do not have.
Pictures of foreign blogs and websites
Before you include images from blogs or other websites, you must obtain a copyright consent. Because only if you have permission from the author of the image, you may also use the image wholly legally. Always clarify in advance, in what kind and to what extent you may use the image and how the reference should be set. In the best case, you will find additional multipliers for your content. Of course, the creators of the pictures are also happy that you want to use their ideas and images, and if they like the article well, they may share the content article either on their website or on their social media channels.
Create your own, unique pictures
With your own photos, you are always on the safe side, as long as you stick to the copyrights and does not violate any personal rights. Best of all, you can make the image the way you need it for your content marketing content. We often use our own pictures for craft instructions and recipe ideas. Although this is time-consuming and requires a lot of effort, the result is worth it – unique pictures that perfectly match the text content.
YouTube, YouTube, and YouTube again!
Although YouTube videos are not images, they can also be integrated. According to YouTube Terms , users of YouTube agree that the contents of the videos, of which they are the authors must be shared.
Especially for instructions, DIYs and topics requiring explanation videos are of great advantage. Of course, you can also create videos yourself and include them in your articles. On YouTube, however, you’ll find a good video on almost every topic that enhances your content. Use it for your content marketing! But regularly check if the video is still available and exchange it in case of doubt.
Images from social media platforms
On Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram,… pictures or videos can be shared with other users within the network. As tempting as it may be to simply use the images on your website: Again, you always need a copyright to include images on your website. Otherwise, it is the copying of foreign content and can be cautioned.
An alternative is the embedding function, which allows sharing through integration and is 100% safe from warnings.
Nevertheless, we like to use this function because it is an excellent alternative to integrate unique and above all authentic pictures, especially for topics that are difficult to find suitable visual material.
No matter if stock photos, Instagram or homemade. Image and text must blend homogeneously. Images should be as far as possible across the full width or be included so that it flows around the text and no white spaces are created. Only in this way is the reading experience much more attractive to the reader and more professional. And as Martin Missfeldt so beautifully says, “… the revive the page rhythm, create trust and often offer a value-added content.”