The Visual Advantage: How Imagery Can Take Your Content to the Next Level (Series)

The Visual Advantage: How Imagery Can Take Your Content to the Next Level (Series)

A stock image to show that even stock images can have a significant impact on engagement

In today’s age, getting your news to stand out in the digital ocean is becoming increasingly challenging. You already know your audience and your team is excellent at creating compelling content… So why do your articles keep getting overlooked? For the next several weeks I will begin taking a deep dive into best practices and techniques to optimize the exposure and reach of your content. There are dozens of technologies and just as many specialties to master. I’m hoping to provide your team with some practical tools and knowledge to help jump-start your campaign towards maximizing your audience engagement!

Images improve website engagement

This week we are focusing on the importance of imagery in your content creation. We all love the idea of pairing artwork with our news stories, however, that’s often easier said than done! With tightening budgets and staff already stretched too thin, many in our industry have adopted the practice of only applying images to featured and high profile stories. This, however, is akin to shooting yourself in the foot! Let’s let the data talk!

According to a study by Skyword, simply adding an image to your article can increase engagement by as much as 180%. Connect that with a 2015 study by Patrick Merle, which found that using stock images “did not have a significant negative impact on perceived credibility” over custom images, and the impact of including relevant images, even stock images, becomes very clear!

Studies have shown that adding images to your content will increase engagement by 180%

One visual for every 75-100 words

Top marketers, including one study by BuzzSumo, have found that including one visual for every 75-100 words is the most effective ratio for engagement. This, however, is likely impractical for both the type of content as well as the audience we are trying to reach. The real goal is to allow your artwork to help tell a narrative and keep the readers engaged. 

Looking at the analytics from several Business Journals, I am seeing that average readers are only engaging for 45 seconds! This means, using only text, you are engaging your reader for just 200-300 words! Following that metric, I have already lost 80% of people reading this post! 

The Nielsen Norman Group found, using eyetracking studies, that users pay more attention to images than the actual written content, especially when those images are relevant to the content.

Increase in mental recall

Images create a 65 percent increase in recall over text

By leveraging images that are relative to your content and engaging, the science has proven that users will not only stay on your site longer and share your content further, but their mental recall is 65% more effective up to 3 days later! This means, days after leaving your site, the visuals you present will still be in the mind for your readers.

Where should I start?

The first step is always the hardest! If your team is not already including a featured image with every post, you need to start there! This will get your team in swing of finding or creating relevant artwork. Remember, the key is relevant and engaging!

Stay tuned for the next post in this series: How Imagery Can Take Your Social Engagement to the Next Level

If you are interested in a bit more than just my written words, feel free to reach out, I would love to offer a free 30 minute consult on this or any other digital publishing topic!