Content is king. It’s touted loud and long, regularly, on blogs big and small. Better content means more connections. Better content garners greater conversion. Better content heals all wounds. Well, maybe not that last one, but you get my point. We’re regularly blogged to about becoming better bloggers. Yet one part of the content equation often gets overlooked, or, even worse, oversimplified.
The content that gets the best reaction? It’s still the image. Be it a photo, a simple graph or a detailed infographic. That visual is vital to building connections and shares.
But, while most of us had the benefit of learning two of the three “R”s that allow us to be better “word based” content creators, a much smaller number left school with graphic design abilities. We can take a step further and state that writing “tools” are also a little easier to get our hands on than those tools used for graphic design. Image editing programs tend to be more expensive in both dollars and cents and in the time it takes to master their use.
One of the best ways to ensure you get great graphic content involves hiring a graphic artist or designer to create them for you. While this makes a lot of sense, and will leave you with the most professional images possible, it doesn’t fit in every budget. Thus, the following tips are meant to assist you when you have to “play” your own graphic artist.
1. Think Themes: A sense of recognition and cohesion is key to repeat visitors. It’s as true for your images as it is for your written content. Simple things like using the same fonts, colors, background and textures can help you create a cohesive graphic theme. But the focal point of your images, when strong, can create a real connection. Visitors to my page know they are going to see coffee and they look forward to new graphics and repeats of old favorites.
2. Test, Tweak, & Test Again. Before you land on your go-to image type, you’re going to have to put in the time and effort to see what resonates with your following.
3. Color Care: Colors have connotations. Do the colors you use/choose have a negative connotation when applied to your business or business niche. Here’s an example, “in the red” isn’t a phrase you want to associate with your financial advisor or accountant. Here’s another example, which might seem silly, but you’d be surprised. Are you running your business in a certain professional or college team locale? It might not be a good idea to pepper your followers with images heavy with rival team hues.
4. Correct & Concise: Grammar matters no matter the type of content being shared. Typos, word choice errors and misspelling on graphics? Just as bad for your overall credibility as the same in your written content. Graphics should draw the eye to the key point that the image is trying to highlight. Too much verbiage can clutter up your color scheme and design diligence – rendering your hard work virtually useless.
5. Size Matters: Sizing your images properly is crucial. You have to factor in two sizes when it comes to images, digital or print. Actual size, or how much real estate the image takes on the page, and file size. File size will depend on the images’s intended use. Print images are quite large and are rendered at 300 dpi (dots per inch) or greater depending on the print application. Digital images are smaller, rendered at 72-96 dpi and file size can impact load time. Each social platform optimizes and renders images differently. What works on Facebook might not work on Google+ and vice versa. Each platform also has optimal sizes that best fill graphic areas.
If you can’t hire a graphic designer to create an image for every occasion, and we realize that could get expensive, consider getting one to design series of graphics you can reuse for themed posts. Or ask if they can create you template graphics with areas available for you to add/customize text.
A picture really can be worth 1,000 words, but you do want those 1,000 words to be a flattering reflection of your brand and expertise!
Invited contributor Mallie Hart, is the Media Principal, Owner at Go Creative Go and Creative Director at The Media Barista. After a long career as a graphic artist, web designer and ghost writer, Mallie found her true calling when personal social media embarked on the path leading to social business. While she still gets busy with graphics, most of her creative energy is now directed to unique social media content creation, curation and cultivation. Her dual love of graphic design and social media requires her to research, write about and promote a wide variety of topics while staying true to brand integrity. A research junkie – she majored in medieval history, Mallie enjoys the opportunity to find an interesting angle on just about any type of business or industry niche. When she’s not busy with Go Creative Go and The Media Barista, Mallie has been known to devour books (several per week), careen over rocks and roots on her bicycle and seek out the newest, edgiest music; all while drinking a lot of coffee.