Content Writing Tips: For Quality Content That Gets the Job Done

If you’re using content to market your business, content serves a number of purposes. You want to inform and satisfy your readers, but you also want content to produce RESULTS for your business. That means increasing your traffic, building your mailing list and ultimately, increasing your sales.

We’ve got a great resource full of content writing tips to make things simple so keep reading for more content writing tips…

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.

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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.

 

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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

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.

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