It’s officially Image Month here on my website!
Today’s article and the one coming later this month will share the most up-to-date guidance for creating the best images for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter … and your own website.
Today’s turbocharged image process
Images add nuance and meaning to your marketing.They always have.
So what has changed recently?
Back in olden times (when my career started), you had to hire an expensive photographer and pay them hundreds or thousands of dollars for a single image.
Stock photography existed, but getting a stock image was time-consuming and costly.
Finding an image to use in your marketing took many days. Today, it can take just seconds.
It’s much easier (and faster) today to find high-impact images to use with your marketing. When you know where to look, that is.
Why images matter now more than ever
Words — whether spoken or written — have more impact when accompanied by an image. Images can communicate emotion well beyond what’s in your headline.
Images communicate emotion without adding to the word count you’re asking site visitors to absorb.
Here’s an example of an image I art directed for this post by Henneke Duistermaat on Copyblogger:
The word “seductive” in the headline could have sent readers off in a distracting direction. Yikes! I didn’t want that.
So we found an image that represented seduction in a humorous way. We drew attention to the article and made sure it drew the kind of attention we wanted.
That’s what a well-chosen image does. It draws attention to your content — it’s an “ad” for your words.
Podcasts and images
If you run a podcast, images are effective ways to draw attention to episode content.
Here’s an example of a beautiful podcast image from this ProBlogger podcast episode:
Video and images
When your content is video, a well-chosen “splash” image that represents what your video offers can make the difference between someone clicking “play” or passing your video over.
In this example, The School of Life YouTube channel has created “curriculums” within its channel. Each topic features a different colored background on the splash screen. In one short glance, you can see which topic the video belongs to:
Crazy, huh? Even video content — which is inherently visual — needs images to convey meaning, organize the experience, and draw attention to it.
Images are social objects
On social media — especially visual platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest — images become social objects people interact with by liking, commenting, and sharing. Social media images enable us to feel more connected to the people we do business with.
Here’s how to get started with images (even if you’re not “artistic”)
Want to make image creation fun?
Use a tool that’s fun.
I am convinced that this is the key to helping people get more fluent in the language of images.
When the tool you use to create them is simple, inviting, and fun … you’ll want to create images.
For the average website owner, Adobe products like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign are overkill. They’re professional-grade tools. Powerful, but exceedingly complex — especially if you don’t use them every day.
Here’s my evidence: I have been using Photoshop since the 1990s, and there are still things I don’t understand about it. :-/
If you plan to create a handful of images each week or month, I recommend my favorite online image creator, PicMonkey.
PicMonkey is free to use. They have a “Premium plan” that gives you access to more fonts, filters, and the option to save your work in a form that’s editable later.
PicMonkey is very reasonable if you pay yearly, but if you prefer, you can pay on a per-month basis. They have a Premium level that gives you a bit more storage — but I don’t think it’s necessary.
Compare this to Adobe Photoshop which is more expensive, slower to use (in my opinion), and you will probably end up like me: a 20+ year user who still doesn’t know what all the little knobs and dials do — and that’s after using it as a tool in my graphic design business!
Yes, I know about Canva
The other image creation powerhouse is Canva. Canva is admittedly slick.
Canva for Work is a more expensive option, and it offers a bit more than PicMonkey:
- You can design for print
- You can create graphs
- You can discover font combinations
The more expensive Canva option — Canva Enterprise — allows you to set up a workflow for team members and manage the approval process.
It’s powerful. Complex. But here’s the thing:
Super powerful=confusing and intimidating.
I think Canva is too complex for our needs here. I believe PicMonkey is the best image editing app for most of your needs.
PicMonkey has a friendly interface that’s fun to use. And you’ll spend less to use it — that’s always a good thing!
My free workshop shows you how all the ins and outs of creating signature branded images using any image software you like.
Have you seen it yet?
[FREE] Create the best web and social media images — all by yourself!
Discover my 5-step method for creating beautiful branded images that build your online business — for free.
Register for my free on-demand images workshop and start watching this free workshop right away.
You’ll learn how to create amazing images you can use on your website, in ads, on social media, and in your email marketing. Register and watch it now: