Images are becoming increasingly important for online marketing. On social media, content that includes interesting and attractive images gets 94% more views than content without images. And with sites like Pinterest and Slideshare popping up, images are king.
But there’s more. When people are searching on Google, 37% say they are more likely to click on a link when there’s an image associated with the link.
When you sell online, images are even more important. According to a study by The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, almost half of the participants said that a website’s design is the number one indicator of credibility. In other words, if your website is visually appealing visitors will find your business to be more credible.
But what can you do if you are a small business and don’t have a big budget for marketing? How do you get quality images for your marketing?
You can pay for them. Google “clip art” and you’ll find a number of sites where you can purchase images for use in your marketing.
Flickr is a image-sharing social media site. Many of the images are licensed through Creative Commons and are available for you to use for free or for a small fee. There are some great photographers on Flickr but understanding which images you can and cannot use can sometimes be a challenge.
The cheapest and easiest way to get images for your marketing is to take them yourself. Just about every cell phone now has a good quality camera. Get in the habit of taking photos on a regular basis. I now have a stockpile of nature photos that I can crop and edit for my marketing. They are great for inspirational quotes.
I also will take targeted images. When I write a blog post I often put together some objects from my house and take a photo to accompany the article. Sometimes I use them as-is, other times a little Photoshop goes a long way.
In any case, if you haven’t been using images in your online and social media marketing, now is the time to start.
Andrea J. Stenberg
Where do you find quality images for your marketing? Leave a comment and share your sources.
Much of social media and online marketing can be described as “content marketing”. This is the process of creating informative, helpful, entertaining or engaging “content” as a means to attract prospects to your business, getting those prospects to know, like and trust you, then staying in front of these people until they are ready to buy from you.
A blog post (like this one), a video, an audio, photographs, infographics – anything that communicates.
The idea of a social media bomb (a concept created by Dreamgrow Digital) is that you take one great idea and turn it into a variety of media that you spread over a wide range of social tools. This way you reach more people without majorly increasing your workload.
They are also fabulous for SEO (search engine optimization). If you’re blogging regularly, you have new content for Google to index. By automating sharing your posts with your social media profiles, you can really expand your reach. And if you’re content is great, other people will help spread the word by sharing what you write.
But what happens when the well runs dry? What do you do when you run out of ideas?
I know that was the one idea that held me back from blogging initially. And I’m a writer! So I can easily understand why you worry about the dreaded writer’s block. That’s what this post is for –
Doesn’t matter what your business, you have certain questions that you answer over and over again. Whether it’s from a new client, a prospect or someone you meet at a networking event, people want to know certain things about what you do and how you do it.
Each of those “frequently asked questions” can and should become a blog post. If you write the answers well, and perhaps include them in an FAQ section on your website, you may find prospects have fewer questions when they talk to you.
Just like this article, having a post called “X ways to do Y” almost writes itself. And people love “how-to” articles. They’re quick to read and often useful.
No, I don’t mean plagiarize them. But by reading other blogs in your industry, you will get ideas.
Sometimes you might strongly disagree with the writer. Or you might agree with them but want to go deeper into the topic. In that case, refer to the original article with a link, and then write your own thoughts. It will add interest and authority to your own blog – people will see you’re not just making it all up. Additionally, you may get traffic from the original blog. If they like what they wrote, they may share a link to your article.
I use Google Reader to subscribe to blogs. Then I use the Feedly plugin for my web browers to peruse the blogs I subscribe to. I use Feedly because it makes things look “pretty” so it’s more fun reading article using it.
Are there tools you use that your audience might find useful? For example, I have written a number of articles about various tools for automating posts to social media or plugins for a WordPress blog. You could create a list of your favourite blogs or podcasts from your industry. Include the name of the resource, a paragraph about why you like this resource and where your readers can get the resource.
Do you have a stack of books related to your field sitting in your office? Read one of them and write a review of the book.
Post to Facebook or LinkedIn, asking what people want to know about your industry. You may get enough topics to keep you going for months.
Sometimes things going on in your own life will resonate with your readers. Are you getting married, expecting a child, going to a graduation or winning an award. Share it. It allows your reader to get to know you as a person, not just the business.
Post a white board next to your desk or keep a notepad on it. Get in the habit of recording your blog post ideas on it. At first you won’t have many ideas on the board, but when you get used to writing them down as they occur, you’ll find you’ll never run out of ideas again.
Do you blog as a marketing tool? Leave a comment and share a link to your blog or share one of your tips for keeping the ideas coming.
Many entrepreneurs who are publishing online have questions about copyright. In particular they are often worried about their material being stolen. From a marketing point of view, having your blog posts, videos and slide shows reused by others is useful, as long as you get credit (and a link back to your own site).
That’s where Creative Commons comes in. It allows you, as a content creator, to specify who can use your content, when they can use it and how they can use it.
This past weekend I was at Podcamp London and attended a session about Creative Commons. Rodd Lucier, the presenter, has created this slide show about Creative Commons and how it can be used. While Rodd is presenting from the point of view of an educator, for anyone new to the ideas of copyright and Creative Commons, this slide show (complete with audio) is a useful introduction.
I hope you enjoy this presentation, and more importantly, learn how Creative Commons can be used in your business.