65% of us are visual learners, so including visual elements within your blog posts is a great way of increasing your readership and reach! It might seem like a daunting task, another think to think about, but there are a few ways you can you upgrade your blog post to include visuals, some are quick wins!
The overall idea is that you want to break up a wall of text and make your post more engaging and informative for your readers. This way your audience will engage more, get more value and potentially share it with their audience!
Introducing The Visual Blog Post Blueprint
There are many different visual elements you can include in your blogs. My Visual Blog Post Blueprint will help you understand what you can include, where to put them and how to make sure that content of the post is still consumable and the key messages still understood.
This blueprint is designed to give an overview of a visual blog post make up and isn’t the only way of incorporating visual elements. It is a wireframes, so you can experiment with where you’ll put things on your own blog depending on the length and the content, but it should give you some guidance and a starting point.
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!
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.
As a starting point, choose a template within a design app 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 your branding elements to the template. Re-use this template, updating the text and image when needed, so that going forward each blog has a similar featured image. This is where you can start to build memorability and you’ll soon see the consistency when you look back through your blog.
Key Tip: Stock photos are ok as a starting point, but you want to be on-brand and recognisable as soon as possible. When using stock imagery, have a theme in mind which can help with consistency and use text and overlays to make them your own. Mine for example are all focussed around a nautical and beach theme. Best still if you can, start building up a library of your own images or hire a photographer to help you build your brand photo library.
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. It builds that engagement and is another way for them to consume the content.
If you prefer to create video content over writing, you can always embed the full video into your blog post and create a transcription of the video below.
Video is also a great way to put your personality across, particularly if you’re a personal brand. However, every business can benefit if they have someone to represent them in videos, perhaps the person who wrote the post, and it’s classed as a visual element too.
Break up the Wall of Text with Visual Elements
People often read online text, differently than when reading on paper. Some readers will skim down the page, looking out for the key points they’re interested or looking for the answer to their question. If you want them to read through the post to the end, you need to help them to do so.
We often break up blog posts with key headings to let a reader know what the section is about. These are often natural breaks which are ideal for placing an image or a visual.
Here are some examples of visuals you can use and create to help guide the reader and breaking up the text whilst also adding value.
Embed social media posts: Blogs inspired by Twitter chats, updates on LinkedIn or even Instagram images can be enhanced by embedding the conversation or a screenshot of a useful comment or statistic.
It provides some context for your reader as well as adding the visual element without much work!
Tweetables / Click to Tweets: Tweetables are a great way of breaking up text and highlighting key points and text. You can use the standard styling provided or there are options to use your own graphic which can then be easily share on social by your own audience!
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 these are worth getting a graphic designer on board to help you. They can be used and repurposed in many ways so are a worthwhile investment.
Highlighted Quotes: If you’ve included quotes, these can be pulled out and incorporated in a graphic. Just as with Tweetables, you can highlight key points from within the post and have them set up for your audience easily share them on Social Media.
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.
It’s a good idea is to use your own, branded images where you can. Use tools like Canva where you can create your own brand toolkit and use templates consistently.
Bonus Tip: You might use dividers between sections of the post so it’s clear to people where you’re changing topic slightly. Think of 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.
Using Images to End the Blog
By the end of the post you’ll now have a visually stand out looking blog post with a mixture of text, branded graphics, images, videos, infographics and tweetables. The post should also look and on-brand too to add even more impact and engagement. If not, check out How to Build a Toolkit for Perfect On Brand Graphics.
Lastly, you can include a Call to Action (CTA) at the end of the post. A CTA in graphic form is particularly effective. Downloadables and lead magnets are a great way of giving more value to your audience. Instead of text saying ‘Click Here to Download’, think about using a graphic to show off what they can download to entice them even more!
If you don’t have a download, and you would like them to get in touch for example, make this obvious and use a graphic as a button to the contact page. Make it obvious what the next step is that you would like the reader to take.
What visuals do you incorporate into your blog posts? Let me know in the comments or get in touch