Sure, “content is king”, but do you know what it really means? In a nutshell, it means if you produce worthy content, it will be “sticky” and readers will come back for more. Maybe. Readers are fickle, but you stand a fighting chance if you at least provide a visual with your written content.
It is crucial to spice up the posts you are creating across various social spaces, including your blog. Speaking from first hand experience, we seldom curate posts or updates that don’t contain some kind of supporting graphic. Why? People read enough of the same things lacking personality; we like our content to have some pizzazz and a bit of finish in the form of an image that captures the essence of the post. Bloggers and others who don’t take the time to include this little nugget, well, they might also be the ones with utterly boring Powerpoint slides full of bullets, text, no fun images, and a scary dose of Comic Sans thrown in for “punch”.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Think about that. In the case of blogging, that picture might be the ONLY thing that gets the attention of your readers, and if you chose right, they may not even have to read your entire post to click “share” or “retweet”. We live in a microwave society, and let’s face it; we’ve become a culture of skimmers when it comes to reading online. People very often share the same way. Admit it: you’ve retweeted or shared something at some point based solely on the image or title. We all have.
PICTURES! VISUALS! A LITTLE EXTRA SOMETHIN’ SOMETHIN’!
First and foremost, strike a balance between visual and text. Adding the right picture to your post has been proven to increase the likelihood that people will not not only be more willing to pause and read an entire update or post, but also most importantly, posts that feature photos typically out-perform those without. Betanews.com reports that with the addition of Timeline for Facebook brand pages, “photos are now tops when it comes to generating comments, outperforming the next-best post type by more than 8 percent.” This shouldn’t come as a surprise; it is human nature to be drawn to shiny objects, onscreen or off. One need only consider Pinterest, the virtual eye candy museum; its use of imagery creates an emotional connection, and it’s that connection that was evoked by a visual stimuli. The messaging in your posts, therefore, become that much more powerful with an effective, complementary image, compared to a text heavy post that may seem daunting or even sterile, potentially causing the reader to skip it entirely. If the initial reader skips the post, there’s no way they are going to then share it.
According to allthingsd.com, in December 2011 alone, Twitter users shared 58.4 million photos. Staggering. It’s clear that we prefer our pictures; we want to see rather than just simply read. When you think of how easy it is for people to use the retweet feature, a single user could end up sharing a single photo with people all over the world. Now think about how easily it is to use that to your business’ advantage.
As one final note: many social spaces won’t even pull and present an image unless it is actually there, and Facebook especially will not import anything, so it is important to include the actual picture in each new post across all social channels.
Take away: adding a picture to your post is like adding a little extra salt and pepper to your meal. The ingredients aren’t that fancy, but boy does it make a whole world of a difference ☺
Photo Credit: Paisley patches (coming and going)