Using Images in Your Blog Posts
Using images in your blog posts. We talked about it a little bit. At the beginning when we did our example post. But at the end of the day, if you're selling products, you should be focused on visual marketing. We're not trying to write our way to more product sales. That's not the name of this class. Write your way to selling more products. No, blogging, but blogging doesn't have to mean writing. When I started doing all of these outfit posts and really made a commitment to my blog, I didn't actually say that I was blogging. In my head I was like, well I'm just using my blog as a content creator for my Pinterest strategy. And then I was like, oh wait, I'm blogging. But you should be focused on visual marketing. We wanna focus on the visuals because at the end of the day, that's what people are buying. They're buying the aesthetic, they're buying the product, they're buying a thing that they can see. So images can be the cornerstone of your content strategy. Not only can they be the co...
rnerstone of your content strategy, they can make your life easier. When you start to think about this idea that a blog post can be an image and a little bit of text, doesn't that feel easier to everybody for the most part? Yeah, if you're scared of images, we gotta work on that one too. But you should all have a lot of images at your disposal because you're already creating the images you use to sell your products. This is a great place to start. So alright, images can become the cornerstone. Here is that post that I showed you that was five ways to style a statement necklace. So there's a little bit of description in each of those, but it's mainly a lot of images. That black jewelry post, man I have never seen this image blown up this much, this is a lot of fuzz on my sweater. Never seen this image this big! I always look at it on my phone or my tiny computer. Alright? So 13 pieces, sorry I got totally distracted by that. So 13 pieces of black jewelry, right, literally text, image, headline, image, link, that's it. So your images should be the cornerstone of your content strategy. Now, a couple of things to keep in mind when you're using images, do not use other people's images without permission. You cannot just go to Google, and be like, I wanna write a nature post about Yosemite, I'm picking on Annette just because your topic came to mind, I'm gonna write a nature post about Yosemite, so let's search for images of Yosemite, and stick that on my blog, nope. Totally not legal, and also not cool, right. So don't do that. I am putting an exception here, cause I have generally found that if you're using that image to tell someone to go buy that specific thing, no one's gonna get mad about that. So I technically use lots of other images on my blog. When I do these round ups. But I'm saying, go buy this thing, go buy this thing, go buy that thing. And I'm giving a link. So no one's gonna get mad at me for doing that. So that's the exception, is I have generally found that you can use them for things like that. Alright, so if we're not using other people's images, let's talk about where to find images for your blog. First and foremost, your existing product photography. I know it seems so obvious, but how many of us are actually doing it? And you can use things that are for sale, but don't you sometimes also make things that maybe you're not selling? But you photographed? So I created this piece, and then I photographed it in case I ever wanted to use the image, but I'm not selling it, because I just wear it. Well that should be a blog post, right, people should see that. So the post was literally, here's a product image, and here's another product image, but that wasn't going in my store, so why not just turn it into a blog post. But then of course, every other product image that you create can also turn into content for blog posts. So you can use it to direct people. You can use them in round ups, like the helpful things, five ways to style a statement necklace, I shot all of those images so I could show people on my website in my online store, how to wear that necklace. You could even use images of your own products, I should've put this in here, you can even use images of your own products to illustrate posts that are not about your own products. So I wrote a very lifestyley post, a little while ago, that was like, be somebody's Ann Perkins, and it was making a little Parks and Ref reference, and a little political reference, but the image I used was this series of images I created about my collection rings and they basically look like someone giving a fist bump. So I used that image to illustrate that post. So even if you're not specifically talking about your products, is there an image of your product, or your product in use, that you can use on that post? So those of you who are kind of struggling to think about those things, think about how can you use your images to even illustrate posts that aren't about your images. Or you'll notice that example I gave with the post about confidence, I didn't make that quote by itself, I overlaid it over an image of my necklace. It made sense, obviously if you post someone being like this about confidence, it's gonna make sense. But you can use your images even if it doesn't feel directly related to the post and it gives you a ton of content to pull from. And then of course your social media posts. So this coming soon post, was literally all just pulled from things I took on social media. Like I wanted to post a picture of this necklace on social media one day, but I didn't have a picture of it on a model, so I literally threw it on this wood tray that I bought at Ikea, took a picture, posted it on social media, and thought that's a nice picture I should put it on the blog. And then actually I continued this post down, by just sharing more images that I had shot for social media of the work at a trade show. So you're already shooting pictures for social media, use those as your blog. But you can also shoot specifically for blog content. So that's one of the reasons I want you guys to start keeping a list of blog post ideas. Because I don't want you guys to be like, I have this great idea, but I don't have a picture. So those are the ones that you're like, I have this great idea, I don't have a picture, you're gonna make a list, so you can photograph specifically for your blog content. So pretty much all winter long, I wore one of my long contra necklaces with this big fluffy white scarf. And I was like you know what would be a really great blog post? Five necklaces you can layer with a scarf. Because people don't realize you can wear a scarf and a necklace together, right. People don't know that. So I was like, that would be great, but I don't like pictures of myself. So I was like, fine, I'm gonna wait, I'm just gonna put it on my list, and the next time that I do a shoot with Kili, we're gonna shoot for this story. So keep a list of blog post ideas for your next shoot. And they don't have to be model specific. Maybe it's, I'm gonna do a flat lay, maybe it's I just need to photograph my product with something else, but start to keep a list of photography that you can take. And then the other thing is that you can create round up and compilation images, so you can take your image and you can put it together with other images. So, this is actually like a round up of a round up, or a compilation of a compilation right. Because every single one of these images was actually a blog post first, and then every so often I take a big group of those round up images and I make them into another post. It's not rocket science here, just keep putting things together, right. Like this is related to that, now I can do that with that. Reuse your content a lot. Or, maybe you do something again, like stick a quote on a picture. Boom, done. So those are places that you can start to think about getting images for your blog. Alright, so I know this question probably is in some of your heads, so let's just address it. So what dimensions and size should your images be? Well first of all, I personally use vertical images whenever possible. Why? Well they're best for Pinterest, first and foremost, which for me is the biggest part of my traffic strategy. Google doesn't care whether your images are vertical or horizontal. They're also best for mobile blog viewing. So more and more people are viewing your image on their phone, and this is not my phone, this is the clicker, but pretend it's my phone, and they're holding that phone vertically, and they're scrolling through your blog. And what happens if you have a horizontal image on I know my phone's not this small, but on a little screen? It's tiny. But on a vertical image, oh look, it fills the whole screen and it looks pretty. So I also use vertical images because of that. And thankfully now, Instagram lets you do vertical-ish images so you can use them there as well. The only place that's still really bad at vertical images is Facebook, which is why I don't actually use Facebook. Cause I'm like everyone else vertical works, so get on board guys. And even they, as more and more people jump to mobile, they're getting better at it, because that's where people are viewing is mobile and that's where it makes sense. So I prefer vertical images. Beyond that, I have a really really loose policy. Which is I don't sweat the dimensions too much. I know people who are like, what are the perfect dimensions I don't care, we're all about fast blogging. Is it taller than it is wide? Cool, we're good, that's always my attitude. Beyond that, I generally like to keep things, probably at least 1,000 pixels wide. I want it to be big enough so that if they're looking at it on a computer screen it doesn't look like crap. But beyond that, I don't really care, because my blogging platform is gonna help me resize it. When you upload it into anything, whether it's Word Press or whether it's your Shopify blog, it's gonna ask you how big do you want this to be. Do you want it to be large, do you want it to be ginormous, do you want it to be kind of medium, I usually click large cause it fills the screen without being giant, then I move on with my day. It's not that big of a deal. And if you're one of those people who gets really really worked up by it, you can Google. What's the best image size for my whatever theme. But otherwise, move on. So the other question is, how many images should you use per blog post? My rule of thumb is obviously at least one. And most of the time, one is fine. You don't need a ton. So I like to think in terms of a focal image, so what's the image that's gonna happen at the top of my post, what's the thing that people are gonna see first? And then add additional images if it makes sense. So that example that I now feel like I've shown you a million times, of the matisse inspired earrings, this was my focal image, it was the one I pulled from social media, and then I thought, hey, I have a secondary image that makes sense, so I'm gonna add it in there. And then the other question that I know comes up, is where should you place images in your blog posts? Should they before, you know, should it start with an image should it start with text? I have heard people say, that Google does not like it when you start with images. But I don't think it looks pretty when I start with text. So I make an executive decision. So pretty much all of my posts look like this. If you're really really concerned, about how Google reads your post, you can throw a little bit of text above your main image. But I think it's important in an image focused blog, that your image certainly appears above the fold. Right, when they land on the blog post, it should appear there. So what I generally do, is a post title, my main image, body text, if I have a specific call to action, I put that in there. Sometimes I don't worry about that because there are links built into the text, but remember, my blog post always sends them somewhere else. And then if I've got it I put in additional images, and then at the bottom, if I have a lot of images, I will repeat the call to action. So if I'm doing a preview post, and I have an image, some body text, my call to action, and then like four more images, at the bottom of that I will again say, don't forget to join my mailing list. Because if they scroll to the bottom, they're not gonna scroll back up to get to the call to action again. And just a reminder, if you guys purchase this class you get this template as a pdf, so you can always look at it and be like how was I supposed to put my blog posts together? Here's the template. The other thing you may wanna think about, is if you should add text to your images. And you guys can see I've showed you a lot of examples that run the range, some of them have text, some of them don't. Without doubt, images with text, get higher click throughs on Pinterest. That said, adding text to every image is a step that takes a long time. So you guys will notice that I use it sparingly, right. I use it with selective posts where I know that this is something that I really think is gonna be potential Pinterest virality, that's a new term I invented there, potential Pinterest virality. Then it gets some text on it. But the other thing you wanna think about with text, is does it make sense with your blog's aesthetic? And also, how good are your graphic design skills? If your customers picky about design, and you cannot do it well, do not add text, cause it's just gonna look like crap, right. So thinking about does it make sense with your blog's aesthetic. A lot of the time, I don't want text. I don't want text on this, it's a pretty image on it's own. So I'm not gonna worry about it. Sometimes, I use text kind of subtley, particularly when I know an image is going on Pinterest. To help people know that there's something more. So in the case of these images, I don't add text to every individual outfit post, cause it's just too stressful, but I do add numbers to show people that there's a list associated. If you click through, I'm gonna give you more information. And then again, when I'm really going for things that have potential Pinterest virality I will add text to an image. Because I know that that image is much more likely to get click through. Now because I'm a mind reader, and it's not my first time here on Creative Live, I know that some of you are probably thinking should you watermark your images. Particularly our photographers in the group. So my general thought process with watermarking, is that I think it makes you look like you're scared of the internet. And so I tend towards no. That said, I do understand that those of you selling 2D art, may be more inclined to want to use it, than those of us selling products. If you're selling a product do not put a watermark on there. Because someone's not going to try to reuse it as it's own piece of art because it's a product shot, right. But if you're selling 2 Dimensional art, and you're posting these images to your blog, and you're trying to get people back there to then click on your product, I do understand the impulse to want to watermark. So this is actually Kal Barteski, and I heard her speak a few years ago, because she actually had an image, one of her text images, this was years ago now, ripped off by somebody big, I will not name names, because I don't remember the company, but it was somebody big, and it was crappy. So if you'll notice, she literally is all, like, watermarks everything now. I do not blame her. Of course that said, anyone with like a tiny bit of Photoshop skills can make that go away really quickly. So my general rule of thumb is not to worry about the watermark, but, if you are a painter, or a photographer and you're really concerned about people using your 2 Dimensional art, without your permission, and it makes you feel more comfortable, if the hurdle to blogging and sharing your work is that I don't want people to steal things, and a watermark is gonna help you feel better about that, then go ahead and do it. Another thing to think about is if the images in your blog post should link to something. First of all, don't let them link to nothing, and by link to nothing I don't mean, don't make them not a link, what I mean is, this is what it looks like in Word Press, I don't know what it looks like in other sites, when I set up Word Press, it gives you options. You can link to nothing, you can link to a media file, or an attachment page, or a custom URL. And the default is usually media file. And what that means, is if someone clicks on your link from your blog post, it takes them to another web page, that is literally just the image.jpeg. So what happens then is if someone does that, and they click on your image, and they like it, and they pin it to Pinterest, is now someone comes back to your image, but not to your site or your blog post. So I never use this media file option. Now if I'm posting an image, let's say I was posting this product in a blog post, and now this product is on my website, and they can go buy it, I might turn this link into a custom URL, and put the link to where they can buy this in there, so when they click on this image it would take them to my product. But a lot of the time, I'm doing things like this round up post, or even these preview posts, where there's no product to buy yet. And in that case, I just make it link to nothing. So the image is no longer a clickable link. That make sense? So I say link to a product in your shop, or don't make the image link at all. The other thing and I did talk about this at the beginning but it's super important so we're gonna talk about it again which is that you also want to save your files, your image files, with keywords, to help improve your SEO. So Google does not just crawl the titles and your blog post content, it crawls the names of your images. Pinterest does the same thing. So if you were to go into my outfit post file on my computer you can see this is, casual edgy style jeans moto jacket outfit.jpeg, right. Or there's like eight ways to something something outfit ideas, all of my images have keywords. When I pull those images over to our social media post, I took them out of the generic thing, and I turned them into that. The other nice thing again about this, is even if you're totally lazy, and forget to change the alt text in your image, and then someone pins your image Pinterest, and the file name shows up as the description which sometimes happens, at least this has got some keywords in it, and it's not image 425.jpeg, as your Pinterest description. But doing this is actually, again, a really powerful tool for search. So if you search, what to wear to a summer picnic, and you pop over to Google images, this is the top of the search. One, two, three, of those images, go back to my blog. And when we actually look at the text search, on the first page I think there might be about two more results up here, but on the first page, A, you see my images, but B, there's my post results, on the first page. Look at who I'm competing with. This is who else is on this page, Glamor magazine, Style Caster, and Pinterest. And the reason that I am here, is because I titled my images and save my image files with these keywords. And that's why I have this post, that plays with sites that have way better reach than me. So if you are like I am too lazy to do this, this is why you should do it, right. Cause here I am hanging out with Glamor magazine. It's Glamor and then Megan Auman. That's not so bad. So take that minute and actually save your blog posts or save your images with your keywords. Alright, questions about images. Whooo, that was a lot. Everyone feel okay?
We have a question from Lolita who says, what if you don't sell products? It's a little bit harder to come up with images if you have a service industry, so any suggestions for people who maybe don't have products to take pictures of.
Yeah so what I would say, is if you have a service based business, first of all, make friends with photographers and have them follow you around for a day, right, get you in action. The other thing is that there are always things that you can think about in terms of the ephemera of your business so, if you guys follow me at all online, you know I am good friends with Bridget Lions, which is marketing and PR, totally service based, and the last time that I visited Briget, we played flat lay day, where we went shopping for like office supplies and we said okay, what are pretty things that fit your brand, and that you might use in your day? Little notebooks, magazines, tablets, your Ipad, and then laid them out, mostly I just kinda hung out and art directed Bridget did all the hard work I don't wanna take credit here. But we laid them out, and she took a ton of pictures. And so anytime now she's got a blog post, or she wants to do an Instagram post, she's got this whole bank of images that are just flat lays of like things hanging out in her office. You know you throw a coffee cup in there, so it's a really easy way for someone who's a service provider to create some images of their own.