Visual content should be an integral part of your online marketing strategy. Adding visual content to your blog is a fantastic way to do that. Not only will it look good…
Coloured visuals increase people's desire to read content by 80%.
Posts with images produce 180% more engagement.
91% of people like visual content over written content. Source
Add an Image
One of the easiest ways to add visuals to your blog posts is to add an image to it. Simply choose an image that is relevant to what it is that you are talking about and add it to your blog post. There are many different free photo sites you can choose from. I personally either use Canva for my images or Deposit Photo but the free ones can be a great choice as well.
Create a Quote Graphic
Quote graphics are great visuals for supporting and encouraging people. You could also quote someone in your industry about the topic you are writing on. Quote graphics are super quick to create.
You can add a picture or a border, or just leave it blank
with the words on it.
I use Canva for pretty much all of my graphics. If you haven’t used it, you should definitely check it out. There is a free version – which has loads of features – and also a paid version.
Share a Tip
I am sure your blog posts are full of words of wisdom. Pull out a sentence and create it into a tip graphic. It doesn’t even have to be your tip. Again, you could add it to an image or just write it on a plan background.
Screenshots are particularly great for ‘how to’ blog posts. Snagit is a tool that I use to take screenshots. If you are looking for a free tool, there is a chrome extension that I sometimes use called Awesome Screenshot. It has loads of different features as well.
Embed Social Media Posts
If you've posted something on Facebook, or one of the other social platforms, you can embed the post right inside your blog post. What's fantastic about that, is people can also interact with your post right inside of your blog. If people like it or comment on it, all of that also shows up in your social media feed. It's kind of like a two for one. Here, I have embedded a FB live that I did about why you should be using visual content in your marketing.
As you will see here, you can also easily embed a video into your blog posts. I took the content from this video and turned it into this blog post. You can use other people's videos as well, if you like. If you are using WordPress, all you need to do is grab the link to the video and paste it into the editor when you are writing your post. A lot of people prefer to watch than read.
I invite you to try at least one of these ideas to keep people’s interest when they are reading your blog posts.
Anything that will make your graphics stand out is worth a try. I am going to show you how to use gradients in Canva to add a different effect to your photos. (If you would prefer to watch how to do it there is a video at the end of this post.)
Firstly, you want to go to Canva.com and choose the size of image that you want. I have gone for a Twitter post size.
There are 2 different ways to add the gradient – behind, or in front of, the photo.
We will start with putting it behind the image.
Click on ‘Elements' and type in gradients. As you will see, there are a lot of different options available. I have dragged it onto the graphic so it takes up the whole area.
There are even more options once you have it placed in the workspace. You can add filters to it and also can make any number of additional adjustments to it to get it exactly as you would like it.
I then typed in ‘people’ to find an image to use. I am quite partial to the bagpipes, so went with that.
WORD OF WARNING: click on the image to add it to the graphic, and then resize it. Don’t drag it on or it will try to become the background image and you will lose the gradient underneath.
Once you have the image in front, then you want to adjust the transparency of the image. Just play around with the level of transparency until you get it how you like it.
Looks pretty good, right?
The other way is to put the image first and then add the transparency in front of it.
Add the gradient – again, remember to click on it and then resize to fill the shape. If you drag it in it will become the background and you will lose the image in the background.
Again, play around with it until you like the look of it.
It really is as simple as that. It only takes a few minutes to add a bit of flair to your image. I'd love to see what you create using the gradients inside Canva.
If you love Canva and want to get a head start on your designs, these templates will be a great help.
Not sure how to plan blog post topics? Well, it is actually really quite an easy process to go through, once you know how. (If you'd prefer to watch, you can do so here.)
ONE: Decide on the overarching content theme of your blog.
I’m sure you already have a good idea of what you want to blog about.
The main idea of your blog is, of course, going to be whatever your area of expertise it. Are you a doctor, nutritionist, coach…?
My main theme is ‘helping people to take their expertise and turn it into a business’.
I have created a few sheets you can use to help you write this out.
TWO: Know who you are creating content for.
If you are a nutritionist, who do you want to help? People with diabetes, mums that have just had a baby, people in business who need to move more often? It is easy to think that we can help everyone but we need focus on a slightly smaller community, than everyone.
My ideal client is – women who have a job, that are looking to build a business using their knowledge and expertise. It is either what they have been doing in their jobs or what they have been studying for.
THREE: Work out the main topics for your blog posts.
Now you want to decide the main topics you are going to talk about.
If you have a product idea you can work backwards, like I have and will show you how to do shortly. Before I knew what my main product was going to be I just used the main content ideas that I wanted to talk about.
Take a bit of time to write down what your main topics are going to be.
(Remember to grab the sheets if you want to use those to plan this out.)
Let’s have a look at how I worked out the main topics for my blog posts.
I have a program called ‘From Idea to Open for Business’ where I take you through the 7 steps of creating a business online, serving people with your knowledge and expertise.
The areas covered in the 7 steps are the main topic ideas I use.
The 7 steps are Gaining Clarity, Branding, Website, List Building, Content Creation, Packaging Your Knowledge and Marketing.
I also talk about mindset and having a full time job while running a business. I don’t talk about all the topics in an equal amount. But that is what forms the basis for all of my content.
Take a bit of time to write our your main topic ideas.
FOUR: Decide on your sub topics.
Once we have the main ideas then we want to go a little deeper.
Let's have a look at the marketing topic from my list.
Marketing is the main topic.
Email Marketing is then a subtopic.
Then I start to consider what, inside of email marketing, I might want to talk about.
I use ActiveCampaign as my autoresponder service provider, so I might create some content around using ActiveCampaign. Why I use it, how to use it. I could do some ‘how to’ videos about that.
As you can see, I've taken the main ideas and then broken them down again.
Let’s look at one more example:
Gluten Free (main blog theme or it may be that, if you have a health blog, it could be one of your main topics, not the main blog theme itself).
Benefits of going gluten free
Signs you might have a gluten intolerance
Guten free recipes
one pot recipes
recipes to do with the kids
Now, if you're not sure, or you can't think of any content ideas inside of a topic, then maybe that topic isn't a main topic that you want to use for your website.
It might be something that you talk about every now and then, but it mightn't be one of your main content ideas.
Go back to the sheets and add in your sub-topics. There are multiple layers you can go down. Even inside one pot recipes, you could go deeper with vegetarian or family recipes.
Stuck for ideas? Included in the template are a list of ideas you can use if you are stuck.
Now, you might be wondering what IGTV is. Basically it's a new long form sharing service that's provided by Instagram. We are going to look at how you can get started with IGTV.
(There is a video tutorial at the end of this post that also covers most of what is being said here, if you prefer to watch.)
There is a whole new app for it, but if all you want to do is watch the videos you can do that through the Instagram app. You can upload videos anywhere in length between 15 seconds and 10 minutes. If you have a verified, or large, account you can upload videos up to an hour in length.
If you are going to download the IGTV app you don’t have to set up a new account as it pulls everything into it from Instagram.
Like any of the new platforms that come out, I think it is good to check it out and see if it can fit into the marketing plans for your business. We don’t need to be doing everything that is out there. Just use the platforms that make the most sense to you and your audience.
Get on there, watch some videos and have a bit of a play around.
I found the experience slightly weird as it feels like I am watching a live stream when I watch the videos and then to upload my own, it felt the same as when I do a live stream when I recorded it, but I was only recording it to my phone and then uploading it.
You could edit your videos and make them really polished and you will see in the video how Chris Ducker is repurposing content on the platform. I don’t think I am going to use it for polished videos, I will continue to do those on YouTube.
What I think is the biggest draw is that you can add a link to the description, which makes it very easy for people to be invited to visit other content or your other channels. It has always been one of the things I find hard on Instagram, as well in Instagram stories (as I don’t have 10 000 followers), not being able to direct people anywhere else.
In this video I take you through how to get started with IGTV, whether you want to be a viewer or creator on the platform.
I would love to hear if you are going to use IGTV as a marketing tool in your business.