Having a company blog used to be a competitive advantage. Now – on WordPress alone there are 48.7 million new blog posts produced each month – so brands need to take the extra step to let readers know they’re getting a unique experience. Words can do that, but when a visitor’s comparing two pages side-by-side deciding which one to read, adding a visual element can be the key that differentiates your brand.
We offer clients pull quotes and in-line images, supported by our XML feed delivery, but we really advocate taking this a step further. We’re talking custom images, created through a collaborative process between our writers and designers.
Because of our one-team approach, we’re uniquely positioned for this new blog process. Our writers kickstart the process as they’re researching a blog, article or other copy. They’ll connect with the designers to decide how a graphic can have the most impact on the message. While the writer is drafting, our illustrators create a completely unique graphic in line with the client’s visual branding. From there, the writer sends the newly created article to our illustrator, who reads it and selects a facet that could be a portrayed well visually.
We know visuals increase a user’s willingness to read by 80 percent – but it’s more than just a pretty, branded image. Here are some of the reasons why we’re loving this new feature:
Visuals aid results
Looks matter – absolutely – and there’s more than what meets the eye.
Did you know visuals can provide an SEO boost? Hidden beneath website images is a wealth of SEO opportunity. Anchor tags, descriptions and alt. descriptions can be natural spots to include keywords, and image descriptions will be crawled by search engines.
Did you know visuals can bring readers deeper into your sales funnel? When using inline images as CTAs for additional resources like white papers, eBooks or other gated assets, you’re leading casual blog readers closer to your business. For one of our tech clients, the addition of visuals in blog posts resulted in an 14.3 percent lower bounce rate. This meant more users were clicking around to explore the site rather than exiting after they finished reading.
Visuals build brand awareness
Incorporating your company’s aesthetic throughout both your blog and social posts is a great way to take brand awareness to the next level. Custom images make your posts recognizable in a sea of status updates and Tweets.
Take a look at this travel client’s featured image within a blog post:
Our designers used this brand’s dark color palette, and enforced their brand guidelines with sharp illustrations that use simple shapes. The custom images compliment the website content, and they have made their way onto the brand’s Facebook and Twitter pages:
This imagery helps the travel audience recognize the brand. And for social media, this benefit is twofold:
The images stand out in a sea of fast-paced posts, building brand awareness
Visuals increase the chances people will engage with it. On Twitter, users are 35 percent more likely to Retweet a post that include visuals. Likewise on Facebook, 87 percent of the most shared posts on Facebook in 2014 included a photo.
You’re a pro. Custom feature images ensure your audience knows it
The earliest pilots of our feature images see measurable results in the way their audiences engage the content. Here are some highlight from just one success story:
11% drop in blog readers’ bounce rate
7% lift in pages per blog readers’ sessions
13% lift in average blog readers’ session duration
Studies have shown that blogs with original images get 2-3x as many shares as stock photos. While stock imagery doesn’t have a negative impact on SEO, custom images look more professional and are specifically designed to enhance the message of a written post. Consumers seek out information and overall experiences they can’t find anywhere else.
Simply put, people respond best to originality and creative content. Having proprietary images means you won’t see the same image from your blog post floating around on other brand’s websites and social networks. This is another huge step for brand awareness and ultimately customer loyalty.
Check out more before and after images of client websites integrating visuals here.