We talked last month about how to get photos for your blog, but maybe you’re not yet convinced that’s even something you need. So let’s back up a bit.
You know the feeling when you arrive at a web page and see a wall of text, right? Your reaction is probably the psychological equivalent of backing away slowly before turning & running, but with much less energy expenditure — you simply click away.
Three Reasons Your Blog Posts Need Photos
We live in a visual age, so including images in your blog posts is important. Here are three reasons why.
Photos Catch Your Audience’s Attention
You can help avoid “tl;dr” syndrome by breaking up your post with an eye-catching image. Our eyes are drawn to images, and when you’re fighting for attention on the internet (which you are), a striking image can be the difference between a click in or a click away.
Photos Give You Another SEO Tool
Another benefit of including images in your blog posts is that they give search engines another opportunity to find you — if you’re incorporating SEO. And you can optimize your images in two easy steps:
- Use a meaningful file name.
- Include alt-text.
Photos Make Your Posts More Appealing to Share
If you’ve ever shared an article on facebook, you’ve probably noticed that you have the option to select an image from the page to appear with your link. And thinking about your own habits on facebook, aren’t you more likely to a) actually see the link with a photo and b) click it?
Need More Proof?
The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, and MDG Advertising has done a wonderful, statistic-pudding-filled infographic.Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words, right?
Blog Writing and Pinterest-Ready Graphics at Sarah Writes Stories
If you’re ready to take your blog to the next level but need help doing so, let’s chat! I’d love to work with you to create a blog that engages your readers and brings in the new customers you’re looking for.
Are you using photos on your blog? You should be! But you can’t just pull photos from anywhere on the web. We’ll talk more next week on what makes a good blog image, but let’s start with the basics — where to find photos.
Google Image Search is not a Photo Library
If you’re using Google Image to gather images for your blog, you’re probably infringing on someone else’s copyright. And in short, that’s stealing. Which is bad. It’s unethical at best and illegal at worst.
I’ve seen online marketing companies tell clients to use Google Image Search, so don’t feel bad if you didn’t realize this was a problem. But now that you do know, let’s take a look at the right way to find images.
When to Pay for Stock Photos
If you’re looking for photos or artwork for company materials — like a static website, brochures, etc. — paying for stock photographs is probably the best way to go. Places like istockphoto or shutterstock offer decent prices for high quality images.
When to Use Free Stock Photos
It’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to shell out a ton of money for images for your blog posts, but they’re an important part of Search Engine Optimization and — just as important — making your posts visually appealing for the humans who visit your blog. (They’re also a great starting point for getting traffic from Pinterest.)
Luckily, there are great sources for free photo art on the web, and one of the best places to start is the Creative Commons section of Flickr. Just make sure you’re grabbing photos with a license appropriate for your business and that you’re giving the artist proper attribution in the photo caption and the photo’s description.
The Right Creative Commons Licenses for Blog Photos
The best license for blog photos is the Attribution License, which allows you to use the photo and modify it as long as you attribute the original art to the artist. Simple enough. This is great for posting original photography as creating Pinterest-ready images for your blog.
The No Derivatives License means you can’t alter the image. So, while this works just fine for a blog image, you can’t tag it with your logo, web address or post title.
Which license can’t you use? The NonCommercial License. If you’re selling anything — products or services — then steer clear of photos or artwork with this type of license.
Blog Writing at Sarah Writes Stories
If you need help writing compelling, informative and entertaining blog posts that engage your readers with text and images, I can help. Let’s chat about how we can work together to create a blog that fits your company’s brand, voice and vision.
If all goes according to plan, I should be having a baby this week (or I’ve already had one & am reveling/drowning in baby bliss/delirium). So, as you might imagine, I’ve got a major case of baby on the brain. But I’m going to try to make that work to my advantage here today. And so, I present to you:
#1: Schedules are super important.
Or at least that’s one school of thought on babies, especially as they get older. When it comes to your blog, choosing a schedule and sticking to it is also super important.
If you post sporadically, you’ll have a hard time catching regular readers. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, choose a frequency and stick to it.
#2: You have to arrange for care.
You can’t just up and head out to work without making arrangements for your baby to be taken care of. Similarly, if you head out on vacation or are swamped with work, you shouldn’t just leave your blog unattended.
There will be times when you won’t be able to keep up with a typical blogging schedule. You’ve got three options: a) work ahead, b) schedule guest posts, or c) at least announce your time away ahead of time — and when you’ll be back — so your readers know what to expect.
#3: You have to be responsive.
When your baby cries, you can’t just ignore the poor thing. And similarly, you’re really missing out if your baby is smiling, cooing & laughing but you’re too busy to respond.
The same goes for your blog and other social media. When someone takes the time to comment or ask a question, you should make it a priority to respond.
Blogging Services at Sarah Writes Stories
Like a baby, a blog is a commitment. The good news is you can outsource a lot more of the blog work than the baby work. If you need someone to run your blog, I’d love to chat about how we can work together.
So, now that you know you need a blog, you maybe wondering what the heck you need to blog about. It’s not as hard as you might think. There are three sure-fire ways to provide solid blog content to your current and potential customers.
Three Paths to Great Blog Content
All good blog posts should do at least one of these three things:
And the secret to creating a great blog post is to combine them. Here are three topics that do just that.
Tell People How To Do Something
If you have a special skill set, use your blog to share some of that knowledge with your customers. This not only builds credibility and positions you as an expert, but it also helps build trust with your customers. Don’t worry about giving away trade secrets. For instance, even though I understand what happens during an HVAC tune-up and have even written about it for clients, I’m still going to turn to the pros when I need the job done.
Tell People Why To Do Something
Along with telling people how to do something, you should also tell them why they should do something. For instance, if you’re in the gutter-cleaning or chimney-sweeping business, tell people WHY these tasks are so important. If you’re in the cupcake business, give people a list of occasions for which they should send cupcakes to friends, family or coworkers. These posts are especially great for including a call to action to turn your past customers into repeat customers and your potential customers into new ones.
Tell People About Your Business
If you’ve got something special going on at your business, like a sale or promotion, a new product or service, or a special event you want people to be aware of, then blog about it! Your blog is a great place to showcase new and time-sensitive information — and a blog post is easy to share with your other social networks, like twitter and facebook.
Make Your Blog a Priority
Remember, you don’t have to be a great writer to ensure your blog has great content. Writing a blog takes time and effort you may want to devote to the parts of your business you’re passionate about. Working with an experienced SEO copywriter who can take your ideas, style and voice and turn them into Great Blog Content is one of the best ways to take your business to the next level.
Blog Writing at Sarah Writes Stories
I’d love to work with you to come up with Great Blog Content that will inform, entertain and persuade past, current and potential customers. Having worked with more than 40 clients in the past year alone, I know how to adapt to each client’s personal needs and goals. If you’re ready to get your blog started or make your current one more effective, let’s chat about how we can work together to make that happen!