Why You Need to Use Images in Content Marketing
Facts and statistics about why visuals rock for your marketing strategy
It used to be so simple — write a blog post, publish it, and done. Those were the days — but they’re over. Now writing is part of content marketing, and content marketing needs more than just text. It needs images, too. So, if you’re still publishing text only content, you’re making a serious mistake. Here are several reasons why you need to use images in content marketing.
1. Grab the Gaze
When you visit a website, do you look at the content first, or the image that’s illustrating it? If you said the image, you’re right up there with most of humankind. As Jeff Bullas points out, articles with images get 94% more views than those without images.
Focusing on images is built into our DNA. We look at faces, and pay attention to where people on screen are looking. In fact, there’s a whole science around eye gaze, and it turns out using arrows to direct attention doesn’t hurt either.
How to use this info: if you’re using faces, make sure their eyes are looking in the direction you want readers to look. It’s a subtle way to get more attention for your core message. And don’t be afraid to edit an image and add arrows to direct their attention.
2. Boost Readers’ Memory
There’s a LOT of content out there — just take a look at what happens in a minute on the web. If you want people to remember your content instead of the next guy’s, images will help.
According to Dr John Medina, author of Brain Rules, adding a picture the content increases the likelihood of remembering it from 10% to 65%. With so much competition for attention, that kind of retention is priceless.
You know what else we remember? Faces. We’re hard wired to recognize them, and can do this in milliseconds (even if we can’t put a name to the face).
How to use this info: Use images to illustrate key points so more people will remember what you said. Bonus points if one of them includes a face.
3. Retain Attention
Content is getting longer. Research from Backlinko says the average length of content appearing on the first page of Google search results is 1,447 words. That’s a lot of text for people to wade through — and some won’t make the effort.
Subheadings help break up the text and guide readers, but if you really want to retain attention, you need images at intervals through the text. But not just any images, though. Images only retain attention if they’re meaningful, says Constant Contact.
How to use this info: When selecting images for content marketing, pick those that help illustrate your ideas or explain concepts. The more useful they are to readers, the more likely it is that you’ll keep their attention.
4. Encourage Sharing
Once people have seen your content, you want them to share it with others. It turns out that using images in your content marketing can help with that, too.
Revive Social found that converting one of their posts to an infographic resulted in 15x as many shares for what was essentially the same content. And Convince and Convert says that using images on social media significantly increases engagement, shares, and retweets.
How to use this info: BuzzSumo suggests including images at regular intervals, and considering picture list posts for even more content sharing.
5. Improve SEO
Did you know that almost a quarter of all web searches are image searches? That’s another great reason to use images in content marketing. Properly optimized images provide more opportunities for people to find your content. Getting them ready is all about SEO. That means:
- Using the right phrases to name image files
- Including the right phrases in image titles
- Making sure you include alt text for any image (it’s great for accessibility, too)
How to use this info: Know that relevant, optimized images have become more important to Google. So don’t ignore this opportunity to extend the reach of your content.
3 Ways to Improve Image Use in Content Marketing
Now that you know why images are so crucial, here are a few tips to improve the way you use them in your content.
1. Know the Norms For Each Platform
If you’re focusing on getting content visibility on particular social platforms, make sure your images are easy to share on those networks.
For example, image size and orientation are different for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Plus, each social network has different norms regarding brightness, color, and use of white space. This research from the Content Marketing Institute will help you decide what’s best for your content.
2. Mix Up Image Types
While you’re at it, don’t fall into the trap of using the same type of image for each piece of content. After a while, your readers will get bored. Instead, mix it up a bit. As well as regular title and featured images, consider including quotes and memes, too.
3. Do What Works For Your Audience
While most of the research shows that images of people get attention, it turns out that sometimes, you don’t need to show the whole person. Convince and Convert found that using images showing only some body parts resulted in 29% more Facebook likes for their content. And some images without people outperformed others with people.
The bottom line: yes, you need images in content marketing, but how you use them depends on what’s right for your audience. Pay attention to web and social media stats so you know for sure.
Ready to use more images in your content marketing? Read this guide to where to find free images so you can get started today.
Note: I’m a professional B2B writer, and this is the kind of content I usually write for clients, on aspects of digital marketing and business. If you’re looking for my anti-racist writing, please check out the following article on ILLUMINATION.