A successful content marketing strategy is incomplete without photography. The right imagery can catch a customer's eye and draw them in, simplify difficult concepts, enhance the appearance of your brand and showcase your unique products and services.
This often overlooked aspect of content marketing has time and time again proven to be one of the most valuable assets to businesses long term.
Many companies find it difficult to justify investing in professional photography and it can end up costing them in revenue as a result. Let’s explore the significance of photography when it comes to content marketing and your marketing strategy as a whole.
Why is Photography Important for Your Businesses?
The old saying, a photograph is worth a thousand words rings true in the world of digital marketing. Image and video content are essential aspects of your business's marketing strategy because they can convey so much information at once. Humans are very visual beings and images draw people in. Many small to medium-sized businesses fixate on the initial cost of hiring photographers, but ultimately the final result is worth it. There are also ways to save and take photos in-house. Quality photography ties everything together when it comes to marketing campaigns which makes it a very important asset in a world vying for your attention.
Focus on What Matters
In 2021, the average user online sees between 6000 to 10,000 ads per day which means that your content needs to stand out significantly in order to have an effect on users. As a brand, you have milliseconds to capture a user's attention and hold it in order for them to focus and learn more about your product. In this case, excellent photographs make all the difference.
Photography That is Unique to You
Good quality photographs of you and your business help you stand out from your competitors. They can be customized to convey your unique brand and target key customers. Stock photography can be used in campaigns but should be used sparingly. Too many stock photos appear unoriginal and uncreative.
It’s easier for clients to relate to you and identify with you and your content if it's more personal to your business and to them. If you use stock photos or blank photos with wording on them, people are unable to see what your product is. They are limited in what they know about who you are and what you do.
Build Trust with Photography
In the digital world with everything online, it’s really important to showcase visually what you do and who you are. Online it’s hard for clients to trust you without seeing your products in person. Photography builds that digital trust.
Aesthetically it looks better to have photos of your staff, products and company. If a business uses all stock photography or lacks images altogether, it’s hard to determine if they are a real business. Clients are left feeling uncertain without the credibility that photos create.
Which Marketing Channels Use Photography?
- Brand Awareness Campaigns
- Social Media
- Website Photography
- Digital Ads
- Print ads
- Blogs, articles and written content
Do I Really Need Photography in my Marketing Strategy?
To answer this question let’s circle back to the underlying question on why photography is important.
All humans are extremely visual; they are naturally drawn to images. You can convey so much more information in a single photo than you can in several paragraphs. In the digital age people have become more accustomed to taking in that visual data online in order to quickly inform themselves about a product and most importantly, form an opinion about your business.
Improve SEO and Website Retention
Opinions are made in seconds. You need to make a good first impression online and the only way to do that is to look professional. If you don't have photos of what you do, it’s almost impossible for users to understand the value of your product or service. You need to visually tell your clients the story of your business, and emphasize its significance through content.
As soon as clients hit your website they form an immediate opinion about it and they either decide to stay and look further or they leave. If you have many people hitting your website and leaving you will have a high bounce rate and will lose credibility with search engines like Google. This will in turn limit your visibility online and you will not show up for certain terms you want to rank for. Not having proper images and photography will greatly affect your SEO along with your brand's image.
Algorithms on social media and on search engines take the consistency of your posting and the novelty of your content into account. If you are not posting consistent content your followers are going to lose interest and your engagement online will drop. This can greatly affect your level of exposure on social media and search engines which is difficult to rebuild.
Photography Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
You don’t need to post high-quality, professional photographs but you don’t want to be posting blurry photos or photos that don’t showcase your product at its best.
Poorly cropped, edited, blurry, pixelated or oversaturated photos can harm your brand. You need to be able to resize photos to fit the medium in which it will be displayed. For example, your website may have different size recommendations for images than Instagram.
The photos you use should be optimized for the platform they’re on because you can lose a lot of credibilities when photos are not formatted correctly. If you only have blurry photos available it’s time to take some more.
Final Thoughts About Photography in Advertising
Telling your company's story visually can seem difficult, but with the right photography you will grab the attention of clients and draw them in. This in turn drives higher engagement, builds trust and ultimately generates more sales.
Photography Tips for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses: How to Use Photography in Content Marketing
Images that tell a clear and unique story of your brand to draw people in and allow them to connect with your company on multiple levels. Readers can easily interpret and understand an image, much faster than they can read and understand a paragraph of written content. Images should be used to illuminate the story of your business and enhance its credibility online.
How to Get Started With Photography
Things you’ll need:
- A working camera or smartphone
- Products or people available to help tell your visual story
- Adequate lighting
- Basic photo editing software
- Photo storage space
- High-quality photo shoot (optional)
Tools to Edit Your Photos
You do not need to be a graphic designer to be able to edit images and make them more appealing. Here are some common photo editing platforms that can add that final touch to your visual creations:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Lightroom
Photo Storage Platforms
Photos can take up a lot of space quickly. Whether they’re stored on your phone or on a camera, you will need to back them up to a secondary storage space for easy access and ease of photo sharing. Here are some tools that offer affordable and even free photo storage options:
- Google Drive
- External storage drive (USB)
- Apple iCloud
- Amazon Prime Photos
- Adobe Portfolio
Tips for all Levels of Photography
6 Easy Ways to Incorporate Photography into your Marketing Strategy
You do not need to be a photographer, have a new camera or have a professional photographer on staff in order to start creating beautiful visual content. You can get started on your own with a smartphone in order to tell the story of your brand, better position yourself online and establish a connection with users online.
1. Showcase Your Visual Story
One of the first things you should do in order to better tell your story online is to determine which images would best highlight what you do and the people you work with. This will be very unique for each industry. It’s important to define your niche at this stage and take photos of what matters most for your business. For example, if you own a bakery, your visual story will be based heavily on the products you bake, and your content should reflect that. Conversely, if you run a yoga studio, your visual narrative could include a variety of images from within your studio as well as images of your classes and participants.
2. Encourage User Generated Content
If you are just starting out, you may not have a large library of existing photos and product shots. A great way to bypass this and get images out there is to encourage user-generated content. User-generated content is most often photos taken by your clients - of your business or products. Your clients may share photos about your work on your Google My Business profile or on your social media channels.
One of the best ways to get started with getting consistent user-generated content is to run a contest on your social media channels. In the contest, have your followers post a photo of your product, business or service, tag you and use a hashtag that's specific to you.
An excellent example of UGC can be seen in beauty salons where clients will often take a photo of their new hairstyle, lashes or nails and post them to social media. User-generated content is ideal for those who are just getting started with visual content because it’s absolutely free and it has a dramatic impact on brand awareness.
3. Revamp Your Website With Photographs
When users search for your company, your website is like your virtual storefront. You want to make a good first impression. It is rare to see a website without any images because images add life, personality and draw users into the content. You can use stock photos for your website if you are just starting out, however, the most successful websites showcase highly personalized images of the products, services, storefront (if relevant) and people.
Likewise, most search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo support ‘image search.’ This is an entire sector of the platform devoted to images online. When a user is searching for your company or the services you provide, it is very possible to rank for images and have your image appear in search results.
In order to show up for images online, you can use what’s called alt text. Alt text is a short description of the image and what it portrays, written in the backend of your website. It allows search engines to better understand the image you’ve included in your site. This in turn allows you to bring more awareness to your company and gives you a greater opportunity to rank online.
4. Showcase Your Content on Social Media
When you think about the success of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, there is one common similarity between each of them. All social media platforms place a very heavy emphasis on photography and videos. In fact most rely on such user-generated content in order to run. Social media is a very visual sphere and sharing the right content consistently on these platforms can have a very important impact on your company.
5. Images for Paid Advertising
It is no secret that paid advertising platforms value highly visual content.
Facebook and Instagram paid search ads penalize accounts that do not frequently switch out images and replace them with new content. If this does not happen, the platforms greatly limit the impressions a user's account can get.
Likewise, on search engines such as Google, display ads are based almost entirely on visual content and photography. Google Ads also recently released image extensions for paid search ads, which see much higher click-through rates than regular text ads. This shows just how important photography is when it comes to paid advertising.
6. Allocate Time to Creating New Content
Internally obtaining and creating new visual content takes time. One excellent way around this usual roadblock is to simply plan an hour each month to take new photos. Inform your staff and let them know you will be doing a photoshoot and get out there to start documenting what you do. Getting consistent new content all comes down to discipline. You need to be consistent with it in order for it to grow.
Kickstart Your Content Marketing With ElementIQ
At ElementIQ we bring your brand to life by creating relevant content customized to your specific audience. Whether it's through social media, content creation, website design or paid ads our talented team of marketers will work with you to achieve your long-term goals. Contact us and book a consultation to learn more about our content marketing services.