Have you ever been to a restaurant where you didn’t like the decor? Maybe it was boring, or too busy, or had creepy stuffed taxidermy experiments gone wrong (true story). Do you remember how you felt eating there? I know I had a hard time enjoying my meal with those beady eyes staring at me. Believe it or not, this same concept works for images in online marketing. When your website contains unappetizing imagery, it’s hard for someone to truly enjoy your written content – even if it sounds delicious.
If you haven’t noticed, the internet is aflame with images nowadays (I’m talking about you, Instagram). This is partly because humans are hardwired to pay attention to pictures. We take in images much faster than text and we remember them better. This is why getting creative with your website, blog, or social media pictures is so important! Simply put, if your online marketing is boring or unflattering, nobody will want to see what you’re serving.
If you’re looking to take advantage of the world of online marketing by adding creative and interesting graphics or pictures, check out these top 8 types of images to help you get started:
When you think of stock photos (see above), do you picture similar awkward, cheesy (no pun intended), and unnatural-looking photos?
I know when I look at them, my immediate response is, “This is ridiculous and tacky and I hate it.” But luckily for those of us who don’t like that type of stock photo, there are plenty of websites out there, such as iStockPhoto.com with a variety of classy images to snatch up for your marketing adventure.
Just make sure you check the licenses and contact or credit the photographer if necessary. Definitely don’t steal anyone’s work or you may find yourself in hot water later.
If you haven’t heard of these nifty images yet, allow me to welcome you into the wonderful world of infographics. They’re taking the world by storm!
What is an infographic, you may ask? Well, they’re exactly what they sound like; an informational graphic. Infographics present a plethora of information in an easy-to-understand, visual manner. They allow information to flow with graphs, charts, and pictures. Typically, they’re beautiful while simultaneously being engaging. Best of all, they can turn a boring subject into a fun one!
Graphs and Charts
Remember math in school? Graphs and charts out the wazoo! If you were like me as a kid, you probably hated math. But now that I’m older, I’ve found a fondness for graphs and charts, especially when I’m trying to educate someone on some data!
Data visualization can be an important and beneficial way of presenting information. Even though this sounds simple, creating graphs or charts can be tricky! Here’s a few easy tips to help you get started:
- If you’re using a pie chart, help the data flow by keeping it short and sweet. Try and keep the segments to a maximum of 5 to keep readers from getting overwhelmed. As a rule of thumb, allowing data to flow clockwise helps it be eye-catching.
- Keep those lines solid! Dotted lines are harder to follow.
- Don’t use too many colors or make your charts too busy. Keeping it simple is always better!
- Don’t make the reader do too much work. For example, make it easy to compare data by keeping charts the same (don’t use a pie chart for one set and a graph for the other, it makes it harder to visualize the difference).
For those of you who may be new to screenshots, they’re a picture of your computer screen. This allows viewers to see what you see. They’re pretty simple, actually. These are often a great way to show readers a step-by-step process. Need to show off your workflow? Opt for a screenshot. Don’t know how? Let me show you!
For Windows PC: Just push Alt and Print Screen at the same time! This will take a picture of whichever window you have open. Need to edit it? I use Microsoft Paint, it’s free and it comes with most Windows computers. If you have Windows 7 or higher, do a quick search for Snipping Tool, which will allow you to take a screenshot of a particular selection. Need some additional info? Maybe Microsoft Support can help.
For Mac: Press Command (⌘) + Shift + 3 at the same time to grab your whole screen. To select part of the screen, try Command (⌘) + Shift + 4. This one will also let you take a screenshot of a specific window. For more help, check out Apple Support.
Every Sunday growing up was the best because of the comic strips. They were funny and helped break up the newspaper, offering a fresh break from all the monotonous text. They can offer the same humorous interlude on your website or blog. Comics or cartoons are a fun way to appeal to the reader’s funny bone. Just make sure that you keep them relevant to your content, kind of like this Garfield comic strip:
Well, it’s that time guys. We’ve reached memes. Memes are taking over the internet as one of the most popular ways to transmit an idea. They’re funny. They’re bold. They’re ridiculous. They’re hot right now.
Let’s take a look at the real meaning of a meme (pronounced “meem”) according to this entry from Dictionary.com. A meme is “a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.”
Memes tend to quickly rise in internet popularity, a couple of examples include Doge, a Shina Ibu with a very judgemental facial expression, or #PizzaRat, a rat trying to drag a slice of pizza down some stairs (otherwise known as my spirit animal). There really is no rhyme or reason to how or why these memes become such a big deal, but if it’s trending you should take notice.
Here are some examples:
The best part about memes is that they’re easy to make! There are plenty of free online generators available to create your own memes. For example, check out this Doge Meme Generator. Another great website is Meme Generator. You can upload your own or browse through their library of user-created images.
Each meme has its own theme (hey that rhymes), so make sure you stick with the tone of the meme you’re using. They can be shared to social media pages, blogs, or websites and can easily go viral. But don’t forget, the point of a meme is to be funny, so get creative and have fun!
Raise your hand if you’ve used Microsoft PowerPoint! “Me! I have!” And you probably have too!
SlideShare by LinkedIn is super similar to PowerPoint. Presentations are loaded as a “deck” and can be shared with other individuals via link or by being embedded into a website or blog. They have a directory of shareable slide decks for all sorts of topics. They get hundreds of thousands of hits per day, so there is definitely more than one benefit to creating a presentation.
If you’re planning on creating an awesome SlideShare, make sure that you keep your slide presentations short and sweet. Too many slides can be cumbersome. To keep it interesting, throw some humor in there as well. Let your personality shine!
There’s no need for a boring high school-style presentation here.
Lastly, don’t forget your call-to-action! You want people to check out your website right? Maybe your blog? Be sure to tell them where to go next at the end of your slide deck.
For an example of a SlideShare presentation, check out this one on 10 Cringeworthy Stock Photos from our friends over at Hubspot:
If you think that photos will help you show off some personality in your content, wait until you take a look at videos. Using videos on your blog, website or social media pages allows you to build a very different kind of connection with your viewers. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of using videos:
- Videos have a wide reach: YouTube alone reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. according to their recent statistics. People spend hours each day watching videos, so why can’t yours be one of them?
- Video allows you to show rather than tell: Concepts might be easier to explain or demonstrate in a video rather than through text.
- Videos add a different personal touch: Sometimes people just want to see your face and hear your voice. This can help build trust and can be a much better way of interacting with customers.
- Videos require time. Creating your own video isn’t always a walk in the park. They take time and effort to create, edit, and upload.
- Videos don’t appeal to everyone. They take time to watch, and some people just prefer the old-fashioned text method.
- Videos can be pricey! Sometimes shooting your own video works, and other times you may want a more professional look and feel. If that’s the route you plan to take, it can be an expensive endeavor.
As you can see, videos may not be for everyone. The nice thing about them is that they really do add a great personal touch. They also can appeal to the viewer’s senses in a different way. To help inspire you, check out this video by Nike. Check out how well it allows viewers, especially of the female variety, to form a bond with each character. Sometimes that’s all it takes to help influence a viewer’s preference for a brand:
[youtube url=”https://youtu.be/zzbjEMaDjrk”] Now that you have a whole menu of imagery to choose from for your online marketing strategy, it’s time to get to work! Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more tips and tricks on optimizing your online presence (at the top of the page!)