Sharper Images

by Michelle McGinnis on Thursday, April 29, 2010 in Content Marketing

When we were brainstorming about our new blog, one of our top requests to the designers was that the site have a strong visual component. You don't have to be Edward Tufte to know that compelling imagery can enhance or even trump verbal communication.

Bloggers should take the time to choose fun/impactful/meaningful images to go with their posts. For many that’s a steep challenge: They feel competent to write perfect blog posts, but they have no idea where to find great illustrations or how to marry them to their words.

Finding Images is the Easy Part has many low-res, royalty-free images available for just a dollar or two. I really appreciate some of the service's granular search options (you can limit your search to horizontal- or vertically-oriented images, or to just those images that are silhouetted on white). The gurus at istockphoto have also spent a bunch of time thinking about how people search. So if you put in "score," it differentiates between results for "musical scores" and those for "sports scores."

I also like using Flickr where you can find a slew of images for commercial use available available at no cost under flexible license terms as long as you correctly attribute the photo to its creator.

Then there is the stewpot of Google Images which (unlike Bing) has an advanced search setting that lets you search for images for commercial reuse.

I get a lot of use from the site where you can add your own photos or headlines to a variety of fun/useful templates to create a compelling illustration.

Finally, I think bloggers should think about using their own photos and/or artwork. I see a lot of great images captured by friends and colleagues  in my Facebook stream that could be re-purposed.

Choosing the Right Image

Now there's the rub. With the format of "It's All About Revenue" the headline and the image have to work together to lure in the reader. I would suggest that bloggers START there--with headlines and images.

  • Do some brainstorming on headlines and images that play off or reinforce each other

  • Keep a notebook (or Google doc) to jot down ideas as they come to you

  • If you see a great image that might work for some future blog post, do a quick screen capture for future reference (SnagIt lets you tag captures for easy retrieval)

Now, when you sit down to write your blog post, you've got a handy stash of headline/visual concepts that can be put to use right away.

So, do you have any other great places to find images for blogging? We'd love some pointers! Also, what are the blogs that you think do a fantastic job at using images to enhance their posts?


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