Selecting the Right Image: 5 Guidelines

Do you ever find yourself looking for just the right image to fit with an article, post or email? Images are great because they draw attention and convey messages quickly… but unfortunately, it can be really difficult to find the right image to fit your needs. How do you know if it’s the right one? What should you be looking for? What makes it a good image choice?

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when going in search of the right image for your online marketing message:

Keep it Visual: Avoid images that rely on words to convey the point of the image. When you incorporate text you undermine the primary benefit of the image: people process images significantly faster than text. The purpose of the image is so the reader can tell what your article is about in a glance so if text is at the center of your image, you undermine the speed of translation. It’s ok to have words in the image; just don’t let them do the job of conveying what the picture means.

Keep it Simple: Can the image be understood at a glance? A couple of boys tossing a ball is easier to translate visually than, say, a series of cartoon scenes. Aim for simplicity so that the reader picks up your message quickly.

Draw on Emotions: When selecting the image for your article or post, think about the emotion that you want to elicit. Success? Failure? Struggle? Comfort? Confidence? Freedom? Connecting the reader to your image through emotion will help them connect to your content.

Connect with your audience: When the image resonates with the reader, it draws them in to read the article. Relate to what is important to your reader while also staying on topic.

Create context: Though the context will likely show up quickly in your article, the image will convey it faster – and first. Readers will process the image before the text because it stands out, so use it to convey the context of the message. It will help them process the article more quickly because they’ll already be oriented when they start to read.

Last but not least – if you publish a blog post with one image and then realize later that another image would have been better, it’s ok to go back and change it! This won’t impact old social media posts so take this opportunity to post through these channels again. It’s a great way to give a less successful blog post a new boost!