5 Reasons Every Blog Post Needs an Image

5 Reasons Every Blog Post Needs an Image

You slave over every word in your blog posts, pulling in expert quotes and extensive research to prove your point, then write posts worthy of a literary award. Post-publishing, you don’t see the reader engagement you were expecting, and the click-through rate is dismal.

When you forget to add photos and other illustrations to your blog posts, you’re missing out on more than a few clicks. Skyword’s research found that page views were 94 percent higher on average for articles with images versus text-only posts. Adding a relevant image benefits your views, click through rates, and the readability of your post for several reasons:

1. Relevant lead-in — Your introductory paragraph does a great job of bringing your readers into the blog post, but they’re going to process the inviting image at the

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top of the page quicker than 100 words. The first photo should be associated with the overall theme of the blog post, so make it as relevant as possible to avoid disconnects. Also keep the season you’re writing for in mind. Use a monthly calendar for photos to keep track of what you’re using, and whether the pictures also tie-in to upcoming holidays or seasons. Search Engine People also recommends using images to lead into article sections to direct your reader into the flow you prefer.

2. Encourage social sharing — Some social media sites, such as Pinterest and Reddit, put a strong emphasis on quality, eye-catching photography. When you have photos that are distinctive, it gives you a chance to gain some recognition on these sites.

3. Illustrating your instructions — Step-by-step and how-to articles benefit from photos or screencaptures to illustrate each of the steps. Your reader may be confused when you explain an item, but it’s obvious when you include screenshots of the process. Consider whether your article gains clarity if you include an image for each step.

4. Adding you to Google Image search — Getting more search engine exposure is never a bad thing. Including images on your blog pages puts you in Google Image Search. Keep a close eye on the file names for your images for extra search engine optimization opportunities. Use descriptive keywords on your images when you upload the content.

5. Photo content availability — Don’t take up a second career as a professional photographer to get photo content for your blog. Stock photography sites provide royalty-free images for a set fee, providing you with professional-quality work with rights to alter and use on your blog post. Some Creative Commons images are available for commercial usage. Double-check the rights on all of the photos you’re interested in using so you follow the rules. Design Shack recommends perusing your competitors’ blogs and avoiding any stock images or styles that see frequent use for more effective posts and marketing campaigns.

How to Win at Hashtags This Holiday Season

Hashtags are everywhere across social media, and with good reason: Researcher Dan Zarella found that tweets containing one or more hashtags were 55 percent more likely to receive retweets than those without hashtags. For business, this means wider exposure, more brand familiarity and a greater ROI. This holiday season, integrate hashtags into social content, holiday deals

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and seasonal promotions to grow your brand and your bottom line.

When to use hashtags

Seasonal events naturally lend themselves to hashtags because they create a spike in conversation around the topic, Twitter notes. From Thanksgiving (or this year’s Thanksgivukkah) to Christmas, the holidays are a time when people reconnect with friends and family, strategize about gifts, have holiday parties and meals, and increase their activity on social media. Likewise, cultural events, including sports playoffs and awards shows, increase the dialogue around current events and lend themselves to promotions. For holiday seasons and cultural events, stick with commonly used event hashtags, such as #Thanksgiving, #SuperBowl and #Christmas instead of making up your own variations. You’ll have more content views by doing so.

Try hashtags for promotions, including sweepstakes, discounts, free shipping offers, BOGO, giveaways, photo contests and action-driven contests. For these events, brand-specific or product-specific hashtags make sense to take advantage of buzz and grow your brand reach.

Companies like Macy’s have Black Friday headquarters pages on their websites, where consumers can browse discounted products, learn about upcoming promotions and get excited to shop. Consider adopting a similar strategy this holiday season. With all of these promotions and giveaways, make a master list of campaigns you’re running, and their hashtags. Advertise all of them on your website or in your social media accounts.

How to use hashtags

Consider the following strategies for using hashtags successfully:

  • Create a custom hashtag for photo contents — Cookie giant Oreo launched an Instagram photo contest that pitted cookie fans against cream fans. In just three days of #cookiethis or #cremethis photos, Oreo gained 85,000 Instagram followers.
  • Create a custom hashtag for “pin to win” contests — Sephora recently concluded a Pinterest “Pin It to Win It” contest that required a custom hashtag. The user has to pin her favorite product and use the hashtag for automatic entry into the giveaway.
  • Advertise holiday deals with sales-specific hashtags — Hashtags like #bogo, #blackfriday, #cybermondaydeals or #save20percent, #coupon and #deal appeal to shoppers looking to save. As you run holiday promotions, use sales-specific hashtags to widen your audience. Since these hashtags are specific, vary your usage or combine multiple hashtags per post to attract the most viewers.
  • Integrate brand hashtags into all content — OnSharp recommends promoting any commonly used brand-specific hashtags through online channels to help increase customer awareness and generate buzz. Include your hashtags in seasonal greeting cards, email newsletters, print marketing materials, blog posts, web content and other areas to enforce consistency and create community.
  • Track success with analytics — Running analytics on your social media helps you see exactly how viewers found your content. Some hashtags that
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Establish Your Personal Brand and Find Success Through Your Blog

Whether you’re looking to start a career, change jobs or increase visibility, a blog is a way to establish your personal brand. There are 6.7 million people posting on blogging sites and 12 million blogging on social media, according to Social Media Today. Almost 77 percent of Internet users read blogs. Get your name out in front of the masses, and build your brand with these tips for managing your personal blog.

Who is Going to Notice?

It’s no secret that nine out of ten companies do online research of candidates. This includes personal websites and blogs, social media sites and professional sites such as LinkedIn. Recruiters stated they find better candidates this way. Just having a blog, website or social media page doesn’t guarantee you a new job. How you present yourself in those spaces will be a big

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Your Blog is You

People will evaluate you based on what they read in your blog. What you say and how you say it represents you. Read it back to yourself as if you were a visitor who

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knew nothing about yourself. How would they visualize you after reading your post? What would a recruiter think of you?

Your blog creates a level of authenticity about you, as well as your brand. You can become known as a passion-filled opinionated writer, a high-tech guru or a persistent problem solver just based on your blog. Blogs have been called the “new resume,” because people will decide they know you once they’ve read your blog.

Keep in mind that as recruiters and hiring managers read your work, they will be asking themselves if you will fit into their culture. If you are not being authentic in your writing, such as adding a little drama to make it more entertaining, it could keep you from getting into a lot of companies.

Blog as an Expert

Write with the intention of being seen as an expert in your field. Recruiters do look for this. Write about your experiences, what you have learned and how this has helped you in your field. After many blog posts and followers to read them, you will develop the reputation of being an expert in that area. Whether it’s baseball, Egyptian history or event planning, come across with confidence in your posts.

Make It Easy to Blog

Create a space in your home where you can do your blogging undistracted. Pick a time of day when you can focus for two to three hours at a time. You will do a lot of research, so make sure you have a fast Internet connection. Check various bundles available at verizonfiosdeals.com to get the best plan for your budget. Your blogging will become drudgery if you have to wait for every page to slowly load on your computer.

Don’t Try to Have All the Answers

Your blog can create a network of resources you could tap into by leaving people with some questions. This gives the astute of your followers a chance to respond to you. It also creates a more loyal following when they feel you are listening to them.

“I see how smartphones are becoming smarter, but I wonder what influence Google Glass will have on their future…” is a way to engage with your readers. You may learn some useful tips for future blog posts and, perhaps, something that will help you in your career

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Turn Your Hobby Into a Small Business

The way you set up and manage your business can have a greater impact on whether you succeed than the merits of the business idea itself. The businessman who takes a mediocre idea and implements it effectively will succeed far more often than the creative genius that doesn’t know the difference between a 1099 form and a payroll tax. The late Steve Jobs exemplifies what it takes to succeed perfectly; he took a hobby he was working on out of his parents’ garage and turned it into one of the most profitable businesses in history: Apple.

The first step for many is to make a profitable hobby out of what they love. If you’ve done this already, congratulations! You are on your way to turning your passion into a business. Before you quit your day job, there are some questions you need to ask yourself to determine if your hobby is truly ready to become a business and transition into a full-time endeavor.

Can It Really Be A Viable Business

The first question you must ask yourself is whether or not your hobby has the capability of sustaining you and your family. The IRS has a list of categories to help you determine the legal status of your business. It’s one thing to make side income from a hobby, but ask yourself “could I survive and maintain an acceptable quality of life using only the profit from this business?” With a hobby, a month in which you make no profit is offset by your regular income. When the hobby is your full-time business, you must have enough money set aside to handle

a bad month or three.

You should have a minimum six to 12 months of living expenses set aside in addition to enough money to operate your business for that same length of time before making it a full-time business. You want to be able to focus on making the company grow, not worrying about the rent payment or how you’re going to buy groceries that week. Until you’re at that point, keep the hobby as a part-time venture and use the money to build the nest egg you need to take the big leap. CNN has some additional tips, such as speaking to actual business owners to get a realistic estimate of startup costs to help prepare you for making your business a full-time venture.

Structure For Success

Should you operate as a sole proprietor or form an LLC or corporation? Should you bring on partners or investors, or fund startup costs with savings? These are all questions you must know the answer to before starting your business. It is not enough to have knowledge and passion for your craft; you must be a savvy business owner as well. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a number of resources that can be critical to the success of your business, including:

  • How to write a business plan
  • How to register your business and obtain licenses
  • How to hire employees
  • Countless other tips and tricks

These resources are there to help you succeed. Use them!

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