There’s no dispute. A well-crafted story gets more sales every time. Convince your reader to know, like, and trust you, and you have a recipe for success. Continue to offer well-written stories to your loyal customers and you’ll continue to see sales. It seems simple, but there’s more to storytelling online these days, particularly when it comes to incorporating imagery into the text. Let’s take a closer look at why pictures plus prose is a match made in heaven. Why the Combination? If you’re anything like me, you have an appetite that could make a soldier blush. Food is my love language. Specifically, ice cream. After all, I live in the hot Arizona desert, so it makes sense that a cold treat is my go-to comfort food, right? When I look for new flavors to tantalize my taste buds, I do what anyone does these days – I go online to search for places in my area. When I land on a website to check out a restaurant, I expect to see something to get my taste buds tingling, like on this website:
NOTE: I have no affiliation with this restaurant other than I L-O-V-E their ice cream.
In this specific image, those ice cream cones look ready to dig into with a spoon, don’t they? They’re the perfect amount of melty combined with the perfect amount of crispy in the waffle cones. And those colors! You can almost taste the flavors looking back at you, right? But nothing about this image makes the ice cream any different than the Baskin Robbins down the block. What does is what’s written above it. When you read the copy placed neatly on top of decadent looking image, you get a sense for why you should choose this ice cream shop over the dozens of others in the area.
- Not only is the business local but so is their pasteurization process (read: it’s fresh).
- They use grass-fed dairy and natural ingredients, so you’ll never get that chemically taste like you get from other ice creams.
If that’s enough to get your mouth watering, the next step is to pick your flavor. The call-to-action lends itself perfectly to that, allowing you to see their full menu in one click. It’s not the image that sways you. It’s the combination of storytelling over a delicious looking picture of rich, flavorful ice cream that gets you wanting a scoop or two. This effect doesn’t only work with food. If you’ve ever looked at a puppy or kitten and said, “I just can’t handle the cuteness!” then you know the feeling of image overwhelm. It takes over your senses and you have a sudden urge to squeeze those adorable animals until they pop. At least that was the case for participants in a Society for Personality and Social Psychology study. People almost “lost control” when looking at adorable, squishy faces of cats and dogs. The cuter the picture, the more likely the study’s participants were to pop bubbles on bubble wrap. They physically couldn’t control their excitement over the adorable animal. When it comes to your creative website, don’t you want to inspire the same knee jerk, can’t-help-but-melt/squish/consume, reaction? Yes. And to do so, you need to combine images with your words. Images That Tell a Story Here’s an interesting fact– the image you choose matters a lot when it comes to determining the reaction you spark from the reader. In that same Society for Personality and Social Psychology study, participants were shown neutral looking animals (an older dog with a serious expression). Their bubble popping reaction decreased substantially. Yes, it was cute, but was it the kind of image that sparked an almost uncontrollable response? No. That’s probably not earth shattering information, but it’s important to note. When it comes to pairing your images with your copy, you need to choose the right one for the job. The image you choose depends quite a bit on where you’re adding imagery. Here are a few ideas to get you started sprucing up your copy. Photographs
Let’s start with the obvious one, shall we? Photographs are an easy way to get your reader to want to take action.
I already covered the reasons why above but here’s a quick synopsis (for those of you scanning, which is totally fair). The photograph you choose catches the eye and inspire an illicit response. The words you use differentiate your image from your competitors, giving people a reason to choose you over any other Joe Schmo in your industry. If you’re writing content for SEO, adding images can break up the monotony and make your posts feel more personal and enticing, rather than written to please a robot. Sprinkle these in and you’ll get more of a reaction from your reader, which in turn will make Google a little happier to feature you on page one. Infographics
Sometimes, the story you want to tell is based around numbers. Numbers of subscribers. Numbers of customers. Numbers of members. Numbers of attendees. Whatever the number, using an infographic to highlight the text and make it easily digestible is complementary to the copy you’re using to frame the story.
Here’s a great example from HubSpot. This company offers software and uses social proof to sell their concept. Just listing the numbers in the copy wouldn’t have a strong impact. Showcasing them in this way draws the eye and immediately generates trust. Anytime you have complex or bulk information that you need to break down into an easy-to-consume format, use an infographic. Gifs
Gifs are the latest Internet rage. Why? Because you can tell such a strong story with such a short snippet of movement. There’s no audio. There’s just imagery conveying an emotion. The use of this imagery doesn’t have to be limited to Facebook comments and text messages. It can also be used to enhance your copy.
If you want to draw your reader’s attention to a part of your blog post or a fun sales page, this is the type of image to use. The movement catches the eye, but the lack of sound or lengthy engagement keeps the person reading your content. It’s the image that sucks them in and the words that tell the strong story to keep your reader interested in learning more.
Where to Put Your Images Sold on putting images into your content? Great! But now the question becomes where? As a creative, you know the importance of not plopping images haphazardly into content. There’s a strategy behind it. Here are a few rules of thumb to follow as you start. 1. Align Right When You’re Complementing the Text
Looking to make your story stand out? Align right when you’re using an image to complement the text.
As humans, we naturally read from left to right. If you break the pattern by putting your image first, you could disrupt the reading experience and lose your audience’s attention.
Case in point: Check out where I inserted that complementary picture of the adorable puppy in a mug. It’s there to add context but the real meat of the text is next to it. 2. Justify Center When Illustrating a Point
If you’re using an infographic, justify center and don’t wrap any text around the image. That’s because, the info in the image is the main takeaway – not the image itself.
Infographics are great for showcasing a lot of information at once. They can easily stand on their own.
3. Or, Justify Center When Aiming to Stop a Reader in Her Tracks
Sometimes, you want to attract attention to a part of your text. Sometimes, you want to get the people scanning your content to stop and pay attention. In these cases, GIFS are excellent imagery to use. But because of the movement in them, they can stand alone.
Put your GIFS in a line all by itself to stop the scroller from scrolling and get her reading your content instead.
A Match Made in Heaven
Words support images just as images support words. When used right, this tandem approach can add more punch to your copy and more possibility to your content.
What ways have you found to incorporate images into wordy pages?
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