Published: January 19 2016
This section may be last, but it certainly isn’t least. In fact, the photos that you use are often the most important part of your content marketing strategy in today’s highly visual world. If you are on social media, think about the number of images that you see in a day and how many of them you scroll right past. Photos can truly make or break a content marketing campaign.
For a start, not including a photo is simply not an option. Whether you are posting a quick update about your business’s holiday hours or a detailed blog post, photos help illustrate the story and catch your audience’s attention. You should even include images in your newsletters.
To that end, sourcing relevant images needs to become a part of your daily experience. When someone comes into your business with a cute dog, ask if you can take a photo for your Facebook page. If you go for a hike with the family on the weekend, be sure to take some photos of the view and of the family enjoying the sunshine. Take behind-the-scenes photos of things like staff birthdays and merchandise. As you begin to consider all of the possibilities, you will begin to amass your own photo library that you can draw on for years to come.
95%* of stock photography is created by evil gnomes who are out to take over and destroy the world. The lighting is too good, the models are too perfect, and everything looks fake and unrealistic. There’s a reason why people continue to buy brand-name products and not the grocery store brands; they want the REAL thing. Don’t believe me? Let’s see some typical stock photos…
The good news is that there are a number of free stock photo sites that supply MUCH better images that you can use free of charge and often without a photo credit. When you can’t use your very own photos, try finding a more natural looking photo from a website like Pexels.com, one of our personal favourites. Just make sure that you do have permission to use the photos or you could end up with a hefty copyright fine.
You can also find some great FREE photo packs that feature Okanagan and BC images on the Csek Creative Blog here and here.
Photos are going to play a tremendous role in your content marketing, so be sure that you invest in them, both with your time and financially. The cameras on most smartphones released in the past couple of years do a great job of taking basic photos, particularly when you are in a bright, well-lit area or outdoors. If you don’t have a newer phone, consider buying an inexpensive digital camera to capture photos when you are out and about. Having a higher-quality photo can make all the difference!
They say that practice makes perfect and that holds true for photography too. Whether you are using your iPhone or a $2,000 Canon, take the time to learn your tools and practice. How you frame a photo can make a big difference in the overall appeal of your photos. Try getting in close to your subject or crouching down for a different angle.
Pro-Tip: Don’t bother using the “zoom” on your smartphone camera. In reality, the camera is just cropping and enhancing the image, but reducing the quality. Where possible, try and get a bit closer to your subject. Alternatively, you can use a free, online program like PicMonkey.com to crop your photo afterwards and maintain your image quality.
Try and use your photos to tell a story. Rather than simply take a photo of the beach, get your friend to take a photo of you on the beach, staring out at the water and relaxing. If you own a retail business, don’t just take a photo of your product, take the time to merchandise it and put it together with other relevant products to set the scene for people.
When it comes to marketing your business, everything that you do should be purposeful. When you are using photos in your blog or social media, try to make sure that they enhance the story or information that you are trying to share. If you are posting your holiday hours, include a photo of decorations in your business; If you are posting an article about your upcoming sales, include a photo of one of the items with the biggest or best markdown.
The human brain is wired to identify faces and other people. While it may feel awkward at first, try to get comfortable with being in photos. Not only does this instinctively draw people to your content, it also helps personalize your brand. When your customers feel like they know you, they will have a greater desire to support you and see you succeed.
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