Image Power – the power of using images in your articles.
By Dave Cottrell
Image power is what your advertising campaign is sorely missing if you’re not putting it to use. Someone once said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Though the argument over who first said that continues unabated, the idea has been proven many times. Visual impact is what impacts your market first.
Human beings are visual creatures. Just look at signs! Put up a print sign that says, “Curve ahead,” and you might start seeing the number of accidents on that curve going up. Put up a sign with a bent arrow on it, and every normal person slows down.
What do you look for in an airport or on a ferry, when nature makes its urgent call? Right! A silhouette that matches your gender, not a printed sign.
What about classified advertising? When go to a classified ad site like Adlandpro.com to look for a blender, what catches your eye first thing when you get to that section? Is it a print ad that says, Blender for Sale, or is it a photo of the blender? That’s right. The photo got you, first.
The fact is, photo ads on classified ad sites are an excellent example of image power. People who go to classified ad sites with images often buy things they didn’t set out to buy because of image power. They go looking for a horse and see an image of a saddle. The next thing you know, they’re buying the saddle!
Billboards along the highways have long been a favoured way for companies to advertise. They are big, they are bright, they have large graphics on them and minimal print. Not only is it necessary to keep print to a minimum when cars are roaring along the highway at high speed; it is more likely that their attention will be grabbed and they will remember an image than a lot of print. That’s image power!
In this article by Jameel Khan, called “45 Extremely Clever Billboard Ads,” you can witness for yourself image power at work. What is the first thing you see on the page?
Scroll down. Did you even start to read the article, yet? What happened as soon as you scrolled down far enough to read the entire first paragraph? Bam! I would be you saw the top of an image and had to scroll down far enough to see the whole thing. It’s a great image, too, isn’t it? And just as the article says, it grabs your attention at the first look. That’s image power.
Now you’ll have to look at the rest…
Image power once again proved itself in the early days of the internet. Banner ads, featuring minimal text, lots of colour, and often a prominent “Click Here” button were very effective. Soon, most popular pages that appeared on the internet sported banner ads at the top, sides, and bottom of the page. Seated with a sea of print, they stood out and grabbed the attention of visitors.
While some now claim that banner advertising is dead, one only needs to visit some of the most popular sites on the internet to see that smart money doesn’t think so! Just look at Facebook and Yahoo!
A relatively new player on the block is Pinterest. This is where the power of using images in your articles can really pay off big. In fact, if you are blogging, today, you’re really missing out on a lot of potential visitors if you’re not including “Pinnable” images in your blog articles.
A recent example on the Adlandpro community was one image that had been “Re-pinned” more than fifty times, creating a link back to the site each time. That is image power!
The question I hear being asked is, how do I make image power work for me?
The number one answer is, use them! Make sure you use images everywhere you can.
If you’re advertising with classified ads, add a photo to your ad. If you’re posting on Facebook, include an image. If you’re posting a blog article, put an image with it.
Always use alt tags. If you’re not sure what they are or how they work, read about them on W3schools.
Always spend a little time looking for images that people will want to share with their friends on Pinterest. These are terrific links that get shared over and over again among friends. That’s real image power! Remember that the most powerful images are those that unexpectedly catch our attention, like the smiling “frog” with the dentures that was shared on Adlandpro.com and around the world!
Join sites like Slideshare, About.me, Tumblr, G+ and FB that encourage you to use large, eye-catching images. Again, care about the images you use. In order to really harness your image power, you need to cut through the clutter of what everybody else is doing.
Spend some hours on Pinterest. You can do the same thing on several other sites, but there’s no site quite like Pinterest for interest (they should pay me…). The thing about Pinterest is that you can scan hundreds and hundreds of boards and see what really stands out and catches your eye.
*Hint: Scan fast. Ignore everything that doesn’t pop and grab your attention. The ones that pop out are the ones you want to study, because if they got your attention in a split second, they will probably grab a lot of people’s attention. These are the kinds of images you will want to use in your own campaigns.
*Warning: If you’re going to use someone else’ images, make sure you have the right to use them. Check for copyright or a request for royalties. Either use your own images, ones that are marked as public domain, or ones you have paid the generally small royalty fees for.
*Tax Tip: Take your camera with you everywhere. If you capture your own images and use them in your articles and campaigns, you can probably write off your travel expenses! Ask your accountant about it. This can equate to a lot of money, depending on how far you go and how often.
Remember, if you find yourself having to really work to get your own striking and effective images; if you use your own, they are unique. They will have more value, more share-worthiness and more image power.
It’s not difficult to get fairly decent quality images anywhere you go. I usually use my Canon T1i DSLR, as photography is a passion of mine. But if you have a newer smartphone, like the Galaxy III or Iphone 4 with high megapixel cameras built in, you can get some excellent images.
Be creative! Look at your surroundings when you’re walking about. The big picture might not hold a lot of interest, but what about a doorway, or part of a sign, or a clock face, or a group of people having fun… The possibilities are endless.
Whatever you do to gather your images, always make it a priority, not a last minute “oh, yeah,” right before you post, to add images that are eye-catching, memorable, and probably most importantly, relevant to your blog or campaign.
Make yourself stand out from the crowd, get your message out, and connect with your target audience. That’s image power!