Using a photo or graphic with an article or blog post can draw in a reader’s attention, increase your brand exposure through reposts, and accentuate your message. But what are the best practices, particularly in the A/E/C industry, when it comes to graphics and photos? Here are four tips to get you through some of the tough decisions.
1. Infographic or Photo
The graphic should relate to your message, tone and voice first and foremost. So determine what type of graphic will best suit your article topic, author, voice and channel. A blog about fun facilities to work within would call for a very different type of photo versus a state of the art, highly technical science research lab. Photos of people’s faces have proven time and again to be the biggest draw to readers and viewers, but if you’re post is technical and fact laden, an infographic may be in order.
2. Stock versus Custom Made
Whenever possible, a custom photo or infographic is clearly the way to go. You want your graphic to be yours and not appear on other sites or with another person’s article, unless they are referring back to your article of course. Your article, blog entry and photo should all build and support your brand.
3. Professional or Amateur
With the proliferation of mobile technology and social media, many times, depending on the topic, channel, author, voice, etc., an amateur shot with an Iphone or tablet can work great to support your message. But if visual appeal is particularly important, professional photography should be the norm.
The same holds true for infographics. Infographics offer an easily, digestible tool that can communicate multiple facts or stats in a quick format. There are some great sites that you can use with your data to create your own infographic, but depending on your message and the material you are trying to get across, it might be advisable to bring in a professional graphic designer and marketing consultant.
If financial constraints are a concern, look into Creative Commons licensed photos. There are some great photos to choose from on this searchable site (www.creativecommons.com), many free. Be sure to check details on required attribution and/or if you have the rights to alter the photo in any way. Be aware that in most cases you cannot use a photo that you find on the Internet, even if you give credit, without the risk of potential copyright infringement.
4. One, Two, Three, Six
Images should make reading easier, not harder. Be careful not to break the text too much, or the copy can lose its purpose. Unless of course, your blog or article is intended to be visual with minimal text.
You can also use a quote as a graphic. Just put it in large type and perhaps a different color, then set it off from the body text. This can be a direct quote from the article, a motivational quote, or a client featured quote.
Don’t stress out. Using photos and graphics is an opportunity to unleash your creativity. The trick is to add graphics to help make a point, to create visual interest, or to liven up an information-heavy post, all while staying true to your brand, voice and message.