20 Photography Tips for Content Marketers

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20tipsUsing visual aides to improve content is how marketers have increased the connection between the words on the page and the meaning of the words for readers, for ages. Like all marketing, online marketing with content also needs added visual interest. This is especially true as the Internet becomes more visual in nature. Interesting pictures increase views, shares and engagement exponentially.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take, find and use appropriate images for your content.

#1 Know Your Audience

That’s right; everything you do starts with knowing your audience. Understanding what kind of images will evoke the type of emotion you want them to, and what sort of images will get the reaction you are seeking is imperative.

#2 Photograph Your Products

People like to see images of products along with product descriptions. Hire a photographer to take great photos. If you have a small budget check out your local colleges and universities for students who need to fill out their portfolio.

#3 Finding Images for Service Based Businesses

If you have a services business you might think it will be hard to find the right type of images. You can hire a professional photographer too, but the images will be more abstract than direct in many cases. A professional or student might be able to come up with innovative ideas. You can also use actual examples of your work with permission from clients.

#4 How to Discover Reputable Sources for Images

There are a lot of websites, memberships and individuals selling images. To ensure that they are credible, ask for references, and always read the terms of service completely for rules of use. Ask friends and colleagues online about image clubs and services that you can join. One of my favorite is ImagesMonthly.com.

#5 Consider Using Stock Photography

Sites like istockphoto.com and stockfresh.com are abundant, but not all are of the same quality. Be sure to read the terms of service for these sites too, and before downloading pictures ensure that you get the right size because you’ll have to pay again for a larger size. It’s easy to make them smaller but the image quality will be poor if you buy a smaller size and want to increase it for certain themes.

#6 Ask for Model Release Signatures

If you take pictures yourself, be sure to get people in the photographs to sign model release forms. If you are taking pictures in a public place you don’t always have to ask, but it’s a good practice. People will often be happy to agree for their images to be used for a good reason. Ensure that sites you use to get photographs with people in them follow the right legal procedures too.

#7 Don’t Forget the “alt” Tags for SEO

One thing that is often over looked are “alt” tags for images. In WordPress you can easily add an alt tag for each image as you upload it, or as you add it to a particular page or blog post. Be creative when adding the “alt” tag using keywords in the first word or two but provide a real description of what the photo is so that if for some reason your viewer cannot load the picture they know what it is.

#8 Ask Your Readers & Customers to Help

Nothing quite gets the conversation going as user generated content. That type of content isn’t relegated to only text based content. You can have a contest, or a request that they share images of them using your product or service, collect them and make fun collages, or social media updates using these images.

#9 Use Free Online Editors to Make Your Visuals Stand Out

You don’t have to purchase expensive photo editing software; instead you can use online editing software like Pixlr.com and Canva.com to edit photos to use on social media and on your website in blog posts. Adding some kind of special effects to photos and text can make the imagery more effective.

#10 Understand Which Size is Best for Each Purpose

Each social media site, and even each theme used on your website requires different sizes and resolutions of photography to make it look right. For instance, if you have a theme set to show thumbnail images on blog posts in shares, and on the front page of your site, before clicking through it’s important to know how those effect the size and layout of the images used.

#11 Create Visuals from Data You Already Have

Believe it or not images don’t have to be photographs exactly. You can use visuals and infographics for your social media and blog posts. Images can be used as backgrounds to create interesting infographics and other data loaded imagery.

#12 Learn about Framing & Composition

In composition there is something called the “rule of thirds”, this rule basically means that to make any composition whether a painting or a photograph look most interesting, the main subject should be to the left or right of the entire composition rather than front and center. This will work great for blog post images, Facebook covers and other uses. However, the “rule of thirds” won’t work for profile photos or many square images due to how it’s laid out, in those cases, center your main subject.

#13 Study Up on Proper Lighting

When taking your own photos learn to use the lighting settings on your camera. Read up on white balance and ISO settings to find out more information about improving how your images look as you take the photos. It’s amazing what the right light can do for your photography.

#14 Don’t Forget to Check the Background

When taking pictures to use with your content marketing consider how the background looks. Everything in the picture matters and can either add to or distract from the emotions you’re trying to evoke.

#15 Use New Angles and Settings on Your Camera

Taking pictures front and center isn’t your only option, try different angels, from below, at eye level, and from above.. Also play with the different settings on your camera that control how the picture looks such as wide angle, portrait, and focal lengths. These settings can change how your photography looks. Read about digital photography, this Kindle book offers tips that can help your pictures stand out.

#16 Buy the Highest Resolution Camera You Can Afford

You really don’t have to spend a lot of money buying a super expensive camera to get great results taking your own photographs to use to enhance your online content marketing. PC MAG has a great comparison chart of the 10 best digital cameras to buy. As you can see you can get a great camera for a good price.

#17 Clean the Lens of Your Smartphone Camera

You can use your Smartphone for some social media shares if you have a high resolution camera. But one of the problems is they are often fuzzy due to dirty camera lenses. Keep your phone in a case and purchase some lens cleaner to clean it before taking pictures that you’ll use with your online content.

#18 Screen Shots Work Too

Don’t forget that photography used with content marketing doesn’t always have to be a picture taken with your camera or smartphone. Instead, it can also be screen shots taken as examples of the work you do, or part of a how to article.

#19 Create a Style Guide for Your Online Property

Even if you’re the only one publishing to your blog, website and social media accounts it’s important to be consistent. If you write a style guide for all your online real-estate and keep it updated when each social media network changes, then you can just look at that to remind you what size you need for each property.

#20 Be Unique

The most important tip I can give you when it comes to photography used for content marketing is for you to be yourself. No one can do you the way you can do you. So, the most important thing you can do for yourself and your audience is to do you.

If Only More People Taught Like This…

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http://contentrix.com/business-cafe

I don’t know about you, but I’m not always big fan of podcasts, lengthy videos, longer-than-necessary ebooks and well, any FLUFF, when it comes to learning. I want people to give it to me straight and give it to me quickly, so I can go apply what I’ve learned.

Well, somebody I know completely understands that…and she’s found a way to deliver this education, at no charge. Yep, it’s free. All you have to do is complete a quick and painless registration.

I’m talking about Cathy Demers (who very coincidentally lives in the same city as me, but I had to travel to Atlanta, Georgia to meet her!)…and her wildly popular Business Success Cafe. She delivers extremely high-information sessions in just 20 minutes each week.

And guess what? I’ll be at the Business Success Cafe in July!

My presentation is called, “How to Get More Satisfied Email Subscribers – Ones That Love to Buy Your Stuff,” which is great in itself (if I do say so myself), but if you register now, you’ll also have access to a bunch of great training opportunities including:

• Sandra Beckwith:“3 Easy Ways to Build Buzz for Your Business with Publicity”

• Connie Ragen Green: “Affiliate Marketing: Recommending What You Love”

• Bob Jenkins: “Finish What You Start!” — oh boy, we could all probably use a bit of this.

• David Perdew: “Instead of Focusing on Short-Term Revenue…Create Long-Term Streams of Passive Income”

• Michael Bloom: “Stop Hearing Crickets on Your Facebook Page”

…and actually, there is quite a bit more planned for July. Go here to see the details.

I hope you’ll sign up to join me. This is definitely a great opportunity.

BlogCPR.com

Review of Image Monthly

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image monthlyAs a content marketer and content writer, I often need images, backgrounds and tips for the best way to use images in content marketing. While I consider myself an online content expert, I can always learn more about photography and using imagery to enhance the content I write for myself and my clients.

So, when I found out about the then new, monthly membership program Image Monthly, I knew I had to try it. I knew it would be good because everything I’ve purchased by the creators is always excellent, but even with my high expectations — I was, and continue to be blown away. Let’s see if I can even do it justice in this review.

The first issue covered things I had not thought about before such as using different fonts and how to find true type fonts inexpensively without getting a virus. Up until that moment, I just used basic fonts on my blog posts and websites. This opened a whole new world to me that helps add visual interest to online content. Just the discussion about fonts was worth the price of admission to me.

Newsletter or Valuable Report?

Each newsletter (most are more like a small report than a “newsletter”) is packed with information on using fonts, plugins, theme recommendations, and tips & tricks to help you make the most of your online content  using images and visuals. Better visuals help you can get more social media love. More love means more traffic to your website and increase sales. They even help you find other sources of images besides their membership.

Top Quality Images

The images included are also top quality. They can be used to make awesome graphics for your blog posts, social media shares on Pinterest and more. The images included, along with the tips and tricks in each issue are designed to spark your creativity and help guide you to creating better, more evocative imagery for your content marketing needs.

Bonuses Galore

This membership is the definition of “over deliver” that’s right, every now and then I get a surprise in my inbox which is  full of more images or additional information related to images and content marketing. I can’t wait to get each issue every single month because I always learn something new that is helpful to me for my business. I’ve been doing this a long time, and love staying on the cutting edge.

Now, having said that, the membership isn’t right for everyone. If you already know everything there is to know about using images to enhance online content marketing, then you probably don’t need the membership for the newsletter. However, the price of the membership is of such a high value that you might want to use it just for the images, in that case.

If you’re an online content marketer, content writer, affiliate marketer, mommy blogger, or anyone who needs images, and tips & tricks on how to use images and visuals to enhance your online marketing then the membership is something you should highly consider adding to your marketing budget. Your membership to Image Monthly will actually make you and save you money in the long run.

 

BlogCPR.com

5 Ways Use Images to Evoke Emotion in Your Content

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5 points to evoke emotionAdding images to your online content is a good way to get your reader to feel the types of emotions you want them to feel. With the right image you can make your readers feel excited, calm, sad, confused and even hot and sweaty.

Choosing the right image requires that you understand the emotions you want to evoke, and which types of images would work for that particular audience to make them feel what you want them to feel.

Triggering emotions in your readers is an important component in building trust, and making more sales. It has been a long-term, tried and true marketing and advertising method since the advent of the advertising industry.

Sales people have learned that someone who is emotionally affected by their information and content is more likely to purchase. Doctoral theses have been written on the subject, but it can all be boiled down to 5 simple points.

  1. Know Your Audience – I know, it gets boring hearing it said, but your audience is everything. How your audience sees things is more important than how you see things. How your audience reacts to anything is more important than how you react. Remember not to base everything on your own thoughts and feelings, ask your audience.
  2. Understand the Point of the Content – If you don’t know what you want your reader to feel when they read the content it will be difficult to choose the right photographs and images. Understand your full point, and how you want them to feel after they are done reading a particular line or looking at a particular photo and you’ll choose better.
  3. Learn the Science behind Color – You probably know some of this intuitively. Yellow evokes feelings of happiness and blue makes you feel calm, while red is full of energy. Depending on the audience you’re marketing to, this may be slightly different. Different colors evoke different emotions in different cultures and groups.
  4. Use High-Quality Images – The quality of the images used matters too. You don’t want to use clipart or poorly composed images because that will evoke emotions in your audience that you don’t want them to have such as “cheap” or “fraud” which, face it, is kind of bad. The higher quality images you can afford to buy or take will make all the difference.
  5. Make Them Relevant – Images need to be relevant to the topic at hand. If you’re talking about writing content putting a picture of your dog just to show your audience how cute he is, is not a good use of the space. Now, if you’re writing a post about homework, and how to get your kids to do their homework, a picture of a dog suggesting or actually eating some paper might work.

Finally, give the images on your blog posts some thought. You can make some really nice graphics using free editing sites like Canva.com and Pixlr.com to help compose images that get your audience thinking and feeling about your words long after they click away to another website.

BlogCPR.com

Interview: Using PLR, Only Doing What You Love and More

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Lady Business Podcast

If you’re looking for something to listen to while you work today, head over to the Lady Business Podcast where Jessica Kupferman interviewed me about:

  • Why PLR can be a business lifesaver
  • Why doing all the work for your business is no way to run a business
  • Where to put your focus instead, so you can do just the stuff you love
  • What you HAVE to do in your business…or else (Hahaha…if you know me, you know the answer)
  • The importance of building connections online

…and more. Go here to listen.

How to Get Cheap Photos from iStockPhoto.com

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findingtherightphotoIt’s important that you put high-quality images on your website, in blog posts, and on social media sites that represent your business, speak to your audience, and are 100% legally obtained for the use you need.

One of the best ways to do this is to use a stock photo website. The problem is finding a reputable and quality stock photo website that has a variety of image types, price ranges and also allows for multiple  uses of the images that you purchase. Plus, it doesn’t hurt if the stock photo site makes it easy for you to narrow down search results.

Over the years, iStockphoto.com has changed and improved. The image quality is extremely high, the professional standard is above average, and the artists and photographers who manage to get their images online with the stock photography site are good at what they do. As someone looking for images to use for online content marketing, you can choose from a variety of price ranges, image types, and even search by color. It’s also very easy to search for exactly what you want at iStockPhoto. It’s Alice’s favorite stock photo site for this very reason.

When you first log on to iStockPhoto.com you’ll need to create an account. It costs nothing to create an account and look. Only once you seek to purchase, will you be asked to purchase a membership or buy credits. There are choices for any budget. There are also different choices of licensing that you can choose from. You can read more about the licensing options here. But, if you want to simply use the picture on your blog, website or social media accounts the standard license is currently acceptable.

You can do a search right from the first window:

istockphoto front page

Once you’ve conducted a search, other menu options will appear to the left of your search results. Choices such as keywords, photo type, price range, and more appear on the left hand menu. It’s hidden away a bit, but the price range slider is very useful to helping you keep within your budget.

Price Range Options

One of the best things about iStockPhoto.com is the ability to search for abstract concepts.

search for images

Type the word abstract, into the search bar, then inside the keyword window that will show on the left type in a term such as “business”, “emotional” or another keyword. Scroll down, and you can even choose the price range, and color preferences. Alternatively, you can type your keywords in the search bar, then scroll down on the left hand menu and find “concepts and ideas”.

concepts and ideas

Experiment with the different menu items on the left to narrow down your search results to the types of images that you want to use for your content marketing needs. Plus, choose which type of licensing you need. That way you can be assured that it’s okay to use the images you choose in the manner you want to use them.

iStockphoto offers all types of images in prices to fit any online marketing budget. It’s also the one stock photo site that offers everything you’ll need in terms of image types, concepts, and more with different choices of how to pay to get lower prices than you might think.

 

Be the Brainiac: Add Stats to Your Content

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Using Statistics in ContentFor the next couple of weeks, we’re going to go into some more specific detail about making your content more credible in the eyes of your readers. This week, let’s talk stats and next week, we’ll get into using thought-provoking quotations in your content.

Back it Up – Facts and statistics are used to back up claims or statements that you’ve made. For example, if you say that mobile marketing is growing then show how it’s growing with a statistic. It gives your content authority and credibility.

Write First, Insert Later – You can spend days researching statistics. Instead, write your content and identify places where you want to use a relevant fact. Then research for that specific information after you’re done writing. For example, if you’re looking for a statistic to demonstrate the growth in mobile marketing you might look up mobile revenue over the years or the number of people who shop from their mobile device.

The Original Source – When you find a relevant statistic, make sure it’s from the original source. You’ll likely find the same statistic quoted in several locations online. Where did the information originate? Who did the study? Who gathered the data and made it available? Occasionally, it can be difficult to find the primary source. There are clues. For example, if three of the websites that quote the source all link to the same website that may very well be your primary source.

Bookmark Good Resources – There are probably some resources in your industry that you can count on for reliable statistics. Industry publications are always a good source and they always cite their sources. Wikipedia also cites sources, and it can be a good starting point for some research. When you find a good source of industry related facts and statistics, bookmark it. Instead of endless Internet searches, you can head straight to your list of reliable sources.

By the way, if you need a good source of quotations sources, Alice has put some good resources together for you here in a PDF document (you’ll find quotations resources as well that will come in handy next week).

Beyond Print Content – In addition to sharing statistics in your written content, you can share them in video, via infographics, and as part of a graphic that you share online. Statistics also make great tweets.

If you’d like us to gather up the stats for you, we can do that as well. Just check out our research services here. That way, you can focus on the content and we’ll take care of those little details.

Put all this into practice by beefing up some of your existing content or sales pages with statistics. See what an impact they can make.

Shield Your Business From Data Loss – What To Backup & How

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Protect Yourself from Data LossWhen my web host deleted all my sites for “violating terms of use”, I quickly learned the value of backups. I made a dumb mistake and installed an email script that sent out 1000 emails per minute without my knowledge. It was an accident, but they deleted everything anyway. Good thing it happened early and the sites weren’t producing any kind of revenue. Today, without my websites and email list, I’d be without income. A state I’d rather not be in.

We all know we should backup, but when you get down to it, how do you ensure you’ve covered everything? Glad you asked because I’ve got some ideas to get you started.

What To Backup

Before beginning, consider what your business relies upon. What tools, systems, or files, that would severely cripple you if you lost access to it for a whole day. A short list for most internet businesses would be:

  • Email list
  • Website
  • Shopping cart
  • Computer software
  • Files on your computer
  • Important physical documents

Physical Documents

Much as we love the thought of going ‘paperless’, there will always be paper. What comes to mind are taxes, local licenses, and receipts.

You can scan these into a digital format, but this is time consuming. An option is to pay someone, like your kids. Alternatively, you could send it to a service like [Shoeboxed.com]

Why digitize? Because it is a lot more portable and easier to backup than paper.

Files & Emails On Your Computer

With a wide number of services available, backing up your computer files is easy. It’s amazingly affordable too. Some services you can try are:

These services backup to the cloud and that’s a good thing. In case your home office or computer suffers physical damage – like flood or fire – you can get back up and running easily. On the other hand, most times when we lose files, it isn’t that catastrophic. Local backups are always faster to recover for day-to-day oopsies.

That’s why, in addition to cloud backup, I also keep a copy of all my files in an external hard drive.

Use Gmail? If you aren’t afraid to DIY, check out this tutorial from How-To Geek. You can also try a service like Spinbackup

Computer Software

Ever needed to set up a new computer with your favorite programs? It’s a nightmare looking for all those license keys isn’t it? These days, 99% of my software keys are delivered digitally. I save the confirmation emails with the keys, and send a copy to Evernote. For non-digital ones – it’s as simple as taking a picture and uploading it to Evernote.

Email Lists

This is a little trickier. It all depends on your email list provider. A good one should allow you to download your contacts. Ideally, you can automatically download it. Otherwise, it’s well worth outsourcing this task.

In addition, you could also have a script written so that, when people subscribe, the lead is saved into your own database in addition to being sent to the mailing service.

Shopping Cart & Websites

If you use a third party cart – you want to check with them how you can save a copy of your customer and purchase data regularly. If your shopping cart system lives on your website, then the great news is – you can quickly backup that and your website – whether it is built with WordPress, Drupal, any other CMS, or plain old HTML – in one go.

Most web hosting panels have a way to backup everything. For example in cPanel – the most popular web hosting panel – you can log into each account, and hit the backup button. The down side is, this isn’t automated, and you have to do each site separately.

Using a service like AutoSiteSaver, you can add all your websites into a single dashboard panel and manage the backups from there. If you have a reseller account, it’s even easier. Their system automatically grabs all the sub-accounts under it and you can set all sites on the same backup schedule or set different sites on their own schedule.

They have a 14 day free trial so you can test it out risk free and have your first backups done free. Take it for a spin.

Give Your Readers What They Want - WITHOUT All The Hard Work - Pre-made fully-illustrated step-by-step tutorials make it easy to sell your products, build your list and grow your business. Click here to learn more.

How to Proofread and Edit Your Own Content

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How to Proofread Your Own Work

You’ve written the perfect blog post or just completed your next ebook, but you’re worried that it’s not quite perfect. Every good writer will take some time to proofread and edit their content, but sometimes it’s not easy to check one’s own work. We’ve got some handy tips to help you do that or if you’d rather have us handle it, we can help you.

Let’s get started…

  • Pay Attention When Using Spellcheck – Your word processor’s spellcheck isn’t perfect. Quite often it’ll tell you to use “you’re” when “your” is the correct word and spelling. Rather than simply accepting all changes, which is tempting sometimes, pay attention to each change it recommends and make sure it’s correct.
  • Read it Aloud – Don’t rely on spellcheck alone. If you accidentally type “hat” when you meant “hit” spellcheck isn’t going to find that mistake. Reading your content aloud helps you not only find spelling errors, it will also help you identify sentences that are awkward or difficult to understand.
  • Know the Basics – Unless you’re a professional editor, you probably don’t have a comprehensive understanding of all of the grammar rules and that’s okay. Conversational content often breaks grammar rules. However, it’s always a good idea to understand the rules, at least a little bit, before breaking them.
  • Look Out for Those Tricky Words – There are words that people commonly misuse. We’re talking about “There, They’re, and Their” or “Too, To, and Two.” Keep an eye out for them when you proofread.

Read and edit for…

  • Clarity – Does your content say what you want and need it to say? Is it clear and easy to understand?
  • Style – Are you using words and language that your audience responds to? It’s often a good idea to avoid jargon and tech speak.
  • Voice – Do you use a consistent voice and is it appropriate for your audience? For example, if you want the piece to feel informal and conversational then you’d use the word “You” when talking to your reader.
  • Structure – Is your content easy on the eyes? For example, short sentences, subheadings and lists all help readers focus on the important material in your content.

Making proofreading and editing a regular habit will ensure you always put your best work out for your audience.

BlogCPR.com

Wow Your Readers: Do Your Research

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Do Your ResearchIf you want to wow your readers with your content, all you have to do take some time to do a little extra research. When you’ve got your finger on the pulse of what’s happening out there, your readers see you as the authority in your subject. And when they think of you as an authority, they’re going to do more business with you.

That’s why it’s always worth it to take the extra time. Or, of course, if you don’t have the time as a busy entrepreneur, we can do the research for you - and then you can take that info and run with it.

But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, here are a few ways to do your online research…

Be in the Know: Reputable News Sources and Industry Blogs

Start by creating alerts with Google. Google Alerts allow you to get updates on content for subjects and keywords of your choosing. This can help round out your knowledge and various subjects, find new resources to subscribe to and even help you come up with new topic ideas.

Of course, you should also subscribe to industry news sources and blogs. You can organize the alerts and newsfeeds in your email system by topic and date. A feed reader like Feedly can help you organize the blogs you follow.

Then you can reference the information when you need it. For example, if you’re writing a blog post on press release distribution you can head to your feed reader and search for recent posts on press releases.

Search It

They key to efficiently and thoroughly researching your topic with search engines is to use specific and detailed keywords. It also helps to write your content first and then go back and look for places where you want to add information to support your claims.

For example, if you’re working on a blog post about press release distribution you might want to know which of the top services offer social media release features. You’d search for that information specifically. It is the fastest way to find the information you need.

Add to that, when search for topic information, consider differing viewpoints that you find. If you can present different viewpoints to your audience and illustrate why your viewpoint is superior, you can create some very compelling content.

Locate Credible Statistics

Bookmark a few of the leading research organizations for your industry. For example, MarketingProfs and MarketingCharts.com are both good sources of data and statistics for those in the marketing industry. Infographic sites like Visual.ly are also good sources of statistics.

There are also plenty of government sources for statistics. For example, FedStats.gov can help you locate the stats from various government departments that would serve a variety of niches.

General to Specific

If you have no idea where to begin with your content, sometimes a general search of information can help you build the outline for your content. Once you have the framework for your material or if you already know the key points you want to make, consider writing the piece first. Then research for the key pieces of specific information you need to help strengthen your content and support your points. This helps you maximize your time.

The great thing about taking extra time to research is you’ll likely find fodder for future content as well. Where you might start researching for one blog or email, you’ll probably end up with enough ideas to create multiple pieces of content.

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