It might seem like a daunting task, but there are a few tools you can use to help you upgrade your blog post to include visuals. As I mentioned in the previous post, you can use Tweetables, images, videos and infographics.
You can also embed images from social media within your posts. This is an easy way to break up a wall of text and make your post more engaging and informative for your readers.
How to do it
There are different assets you can include in your blogs, so you need to know how to do it, where to put them and how to make sure that the words in the post all still flow so the message is still understood.
To help you with this, I’ve added a blueprint below of how a blog post incorporating visual elements should look. For comparison, there’s also a post without images, so you can see the differences between the two.
These are just wireframes (outlines for where text and images will go), so you can experiment with where you’ll put things on your own blog, but it should give you some guidance and a starting point.
Using a Featured Image
If you want to use images, the first one to include every time is the featured image. A lot of people will use a stock photo for this, but a better idea is to make it branded with your logo, fonts and colours. Make something that people will instantly recognise as yours when the post is shared.
Create a template within a design application like Canva, which is a free tool for creating exactly these kinds of images – good if you don’t have a graphic designer on hand. Add all the appropriate branding elements to the template so that each blog has a similar featured image. The template uses a grid to drop images in to.
Once you’ve done this on several posts, you’ll soon see the consistency when you look back through your blog. This makes things more interesting and engaging for visitors.
Key Tip: Use a featured image. Stock photos are ok as a starting point, but you want to be on-brand and recognisable as soon as possible.
The Intro Video
I’ve done this several times myself, and seen other businesses also use intro videos successfully. Create a snippet video to summarise the blog post and include the key points. Allowing your visitors to watch the video means they can decide whether or not the blog is helpful to them.
A short video is also a great way to put your personality across, particularly if you’re a personal brand. However, even businesses can benefit if they have someone to represent them in videos, perhaps the person who wrote the post. And it adds another visual element too.
Break up the Text
People read online differently to on paper. They skim down the page, and if you want them to get to the end, you need to help them to do so. You’ll probably find natural breaks in your blog posts which are ideal for an image, such as just before a new heading.
If you’ve included quotes, these can be pulled out and incorporated in a graphic. Just as with Tweetables, you can highlight these within the post or have them shared on Twitter. Tweetables can also include graphics or different types of text.
A good idea is to use your own, branded images. Create graphics on Canva which use your quote in your brand font and colours, and add to the post. You might use dividers between sections of the post so it’s clear to people where you’re changing topic slightly.
You could also set up your post like a magazine article. Magazines have a way of guiding the reader through, with images, dividers, pull-out boxes and quotes in blog or italics. All of these typographical and design tricks make the post more interesting and encourages the reader to get to the end.
Other Elements to Embed
Infographics are great for blog posts which include a lot of statistics, facts and figures, as they are eye-catching and easier to digest than columns of numbers and percentages. They do take a bit of time and work to create, so use them only where it will really help the post.
Social media posts: Blogs inspired by Twitter chats or updates on LinkedIn can be enhanced by embedding the conversation or a screenshot of a useful comment or statistic. If they’re your tweets, that’s even better. It provides some context for your reader as well as adding the visual element.
Videos: Don’t forget, you can also include videos within the body of the blog if appropriate and it will add to or explain the story. This could be a demo or walkthrough, an animated video, sharing content you’ve seen elsewhere or telling people what you’ve been up to.
You’ll now have a beautiful blog post with text, branded graphics, images, videos, infographics and Tweetables, and everything looks beautiful and on-brand. Now, you can include a call to action (CTA) at the end of the post.
A CTA in graphic form is particularly effective. Some people have a line of text and the link they want readers to click, and others add a big button, so it’s obvious what the next step is.
Others use a graphic, either produced in Canva or by a graphic designer. For example, this might explain what’s in the lead magnet they’re offering, display the cover of it or highlighting some key points. The image then acts as a button, and it’s a nice way of finishing off the post.
Bonus Tip: If your company has a few people writing blogs, add a photo of them and a short bio – as well as being another way to have an image, it gives the post a more personal touch, because readers feel like they know the writer. It also adds credibility if visitors can see which member of the team has shared their knowledge. Of course, this will work for a personal brand too!