Choosing suitable imagery is a pivotal - and sometimes painful - point in the B2B marketing blog process. But there are valid reasons why marketers spend so much valuable time and effort selecting the right visual content for their posts.
Stunning visuals capture attention, improve the memorability of your post, provide variety and inspire emotion.
Marketing campaigns can sink or swim on the back of images. They reinforce your message and provide readers with context. In addition to this, they vastly improve website traffic: studies on visual content marketing have shown that articles with images get 94 per cent more total views.
Image libraries like Shutterstock are the most popular starting place on the quest to find images for a B2B marketing blog. In the right hands, stock photography can be an excellent resource. In the wrong hands, it can cheapen your aesthetic and diminish brand integrity.
It’s important to curate your images carefully. Is the image clear? Is it complementary to your website design? Does the photograph support your writing - or detract from it?
Don’t be afraid to crop an image to suit your needs, and always check that you have permission to use an image before posting it on your blog.
Even if you don’t stumble upon the best image for your content, stock photography websites can be a good place to find inspiration and conduct market research. You’ll get a strong feeling for visual trends and word association.
Hand-drawn or animated images
If you have access to the work of a talented artist, bespoke graphics can be a unique asset to your blog. There is a variety of evidence that underlines the power of images, yet only 30 per cent of marketers create their own visual content.
Animated GIFs are a good way to make your blog stand out from the crowd.
The downside to GIFs is that - compared to still images - they have significantly larger file sizes. This may affect your website page load time. For this reason, perhaps you should limit GIF use to your leading blog posts.
Alternatively, you could create an animation specifically for use on social media platforms and then use a still frame as the feature image on your original blog post.
Infographics combine pictures and text to present information in an appealing and digestible manner.
Infographics are shared three times more than any other visual content on social media.
Best practices for infographics ask that you check all of the text on the graphic can be read with ease.
Including short copy that summarises the context, value and reason behind your infographic will make it more compelling. Sensible editing is important too - don’t make your readers scroll for aeons just to find a few small facts.
To facilitate shares linking to your original post, remember to include an embed code alongside the B2B infographic.
Sometimes it’s important to use data-based evidence to prove the point you’re trying to make. When it comes to research data, you can use pictures to make your findings easier to process and understand.
Statistics, diagrams, charts and graphs are all examples of visual content used for persuasive purposes in B2B marketing blogs. They can be featured instead of - or alongside - infographics.
Data-driven visuals are highly shareable. They take the mathematical proof of your argument and throw it centre stage.
Another strong appeal is that they draw inbound links. Niche blogs are quick to link to a post when it includes reliable data that has been presented in a simple, attractive and clear fashion.
How can you help readers to visualise your data?
- Charts and graphs show contrast and work well when making comparisons
- Concept maps help readers to visualise relationships
- Organisational charts/wireframes etc. are structural and show steps or hierarchy
- Mind maps can help you group and clarify different trains of thought
- Flowcharts are ideal for outlining processes
Video is a staple in the inbound marketing mix. And it can work in the context of your blog too.
If your buyer personas are searching for a specific question that is answered by your B2B blog, including a relevant video is exactly how you can improve the chances they find it.
Treat your video as sister content: your blog copy should inspire the script. You can either expand on points mentioned in your post or use it to recap the highlights.
For more information on how read this post about turning written content into vlogs.
Slideshare is a popular way to share business presentations online.
Treat presentations in the same way you would a short blog video. You can either illustrate a crucial point or use it as an opportunity to give a visual overview of your post.
Your presentation should provide a sensory break from reading, so keep text to a minimum and try to illustrate your point using images and relevant data.
Sometimes, it's just easier to show readers what you mean.
Screenshots can be particularly useful if you work with software, like SaaS companies. Pictures are sometimes necessary to guide new (or confused!) users through an interface. Screenshots can highlight functions and provide clear answers.
When it comes to framing your shot, make sure that you have captured enough of what’s on the screen to provide context. You can use basic editing programs to highlight areas of interest and annotate them for clarity.
Too many screenshots can be overwhelming. You don’t want advice to get lost in a sea of UI. Used sparingly, with explanation, they can teach readers fast, and vastly improve overall user experience.
Pull quotes are popular with publishers because they are bold, scannable and they strike a chord. They are also highly shareable.
A creative way to include them in your blog post is to do a text overlay across an image. Choose a large font and a colour that has strong contrast to the background. Where appropriate, blur the background image slightly.
If you don’t want to combine your text with an image, ask a designer for typography ideas that will make your message pop.
Promoting your blog
Social media marketers rely on visual content. Images transcend language barriers and create strong emotional responses. Think about the content you encounter on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and Snapchat - all of the leading platforms revolve heavily around images.
And this is supported by marketing metrics: social media posts with visuals deliver greatly heightened engagement rates. On Twitter, posts with images receive 150 per cent more retweets. And images comprise 93 per cent of the most engaging Facebook posts.
When you are choosing an image for your blog, give careful consideration to the promotional material that you pair with it. Remember that you may have to crop it and adjust the dimensions.
Spend more time sourcing or producing the perfect image for your blog and enjoy the many benefits.