You’re busy, I get that. That’s why I’ve made a 10 min podcast that delivers great information, tips, and insights to help you with your marketing.
Presenting the 10 Min Marketing podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes or Android to get fresh, bite-sized episodes sent to you and check out the podcast page on the website for a list of episodes as they’re released.
In the very first episode of 10 Min Marketing, I’ll help you pick an image style, show you where to find them, what to use to edit and talk about the importance of picking a distinct style.
So let’s look at the different types of images and where you can find them, the tools you’ll need to edit them and the importance of establishing your own distinct style.
What style of image will you use
Visuals are super important for social media. They’re important for blogging and pretty much all content marketing really. What I’ve found is image-based content drives much higher reach and it has higher engagement than pretty much any other type of content you put out there. But it’s not always easy. You’ll see sites out there that do it well, they make it look easy, but a lot of the time it’s a pain to source, edit and create really great images for your content.
So in this podcast, I’m going show you how to choose the best types of images for your content, where to find them, how to edit them and you’re going be really surprised at how easy it is to get amazing looking custom images for your content that will stand out and really grab attention on your social media and all of your content marketing.
To begin with, the first thing you need to do is to settle on a style of image you want to use. I see so many sites out there that have confusing images mashed together with no central idea of their own style to guide them. So it’s important you think about the type of images that you want to use and stick to an established style guide that is really your own. There are three main types of images that you can choose from when you are looking your images:
The first is Vector images
The second is photography
And the third is Illustrations
Vector images are the simple line style images that are usually created. As an example, Twitter’s logo is a vector, there’s also a website called WeTransfer.com. If you check out their website you’ll see that most of the images on there are vector images. They’re clean, they’re simple, they’re really good at conveying complex themes in a simple package. So vectors can be created or you can either download vector illustrated files that you can edit to suit your style and need.
Photography is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the main type of images that you see online pretty much everywhere. And for that reason, it can be problematic. Traditionally everyone has used stock images so its hard to really try and differentiate your style from someone else that it’s using the same style of stock images. To make photography style distinct to your own style, you need to really establish a certain style of photography that you’ll use, or use an editing style like a text overlay or wash or colour style that really makes it your own, distinct and recognisable to your brand.
Here at The Sweatshop, we have a brand guideline that dictates the type of pictures that we use and you will have seen the text overlay that makes it instantly recognisable across our website and social media.
Illustration is a style that’s not used that much and there’s a pretty good reason for that. Generally, it’s created as custom illustrations or one-off. As an example, there’s a guy called Hugh Macleoud, who has a website called The Gaping Void. If you check out his site, he uses custom illustrations that he creates from scratch for each of his blog posts and social media. If you want to have a style that’s really distinct to your brand, illustration really is the best way to achieve this.
Where to source images
Okay, moving on to where you can find these. So, you’ve settled on the type of images you want to use, so where would you go to source them? There’s really three ways that you can do this. The first way is to look for paid sites, the second is looking at free sites, and the third is to go ahead and create your own.
Looking at paid sites first; if you’re bootstrapping your business, you probably don’t want to add anymore expense to what you’re developing. But there are a few reasons why you might want to look at using paid sources. They’re generally high quality, there’s usually less people using paid images, so chances are you won’t see the same image on a bunch of other blogs out there. And with paid websites, you have more choice of images available on this paid libraries.
You can find paid libraries anywhere really online when you search but some examples out there are Shutterstock, iStock, and Getty Images.
There’s a bunch of free sites out there that you can download images from. Some are better than others, but what you’ll find out pretty quickly is that most of them share a bunch of the same images between them. That’s not a bad thing, its just something to keep in mind. There’s been times where I published blog post with a free image just to see other blogs out there publish a post on a similar topic using the same images. So just remember to have strong brand guidelines so that you can make those images yours with editing, washes, and text overlays, etc.
If you’re looking for free image sites, you can Google them or you can find images, vectors, and illustrations on sites like Gratisography, Superfamous, and GetFree.
The last option is to create your own. Just like how the paid services can be expensive, the DIY option can also be expensive in ways other than money costs. It can take a lot of time to create your own photography, vectors or illustrations. But, if you have the time and the resources to create your own, it’s hands-down the best option. It means you’ll get images that you publish that will be distinct. They’ll be distinct to your style, distinct to your branding and chances are (fingers crossed!) you won’t see other people publishing posts with your images out there.
Editing your images
Now we going to look at some of the tools that you can use to edit these images. It’s really easy to create your own style and put your own mark on these images. Once you’ve got the images you want to use, you’ll need to edit them to make them your own and bring them to your branding style. There’s a few different ways that you can do this:
The first is to use programs like Photoshop. An Adobe subscription to use Photoshop starts at about $12 a month, so it’s pretty cost-effective.
But programs like Photoshop have a steep learning curve and can be complicated to use. So if you want to cheaper option that it is easy to use, I recommend checking out Australian company called Canva. It’s online editing software that makes it super easy to edit your images, ad text, adjust the size, and can even upload directly to your social accounts.
If you’re looking for an on-the-go option, another option is to use an app like Over. It’s an app that you can use on your phone or tablet to do a lot of similar things that Canva does. The option for this is ideal if you’re snapping a lot of your own pictures on your phone and you want to edit them quickly and upload.
I’ve been talking about editing your images to make them your own, and I can’t over-state the importance of creating your own distinct branding here. Especially when you’re using images that are either free or paid images. The images, or illustrations, or vectors that you’re not creating directly yourself. Chances are, you probably might see them on other blogs or other social media post, or somewhere else online. What you want to do is edit them and really make them your own.
It’s relatively easy to experiment with different ways to frame, edit and present your images so take the time to create something that is distinct to your brand. All too often I’ll see someone trying to shortcut the process by copying the style of another blogger or social media custom images. This mistake can be costly because it confuses your audience and it dilutes your brand equally because you now look like just another site using the same branding as everyone else. So be distinctive, don’t imitate, do your own brand, do your own style.
Let’s have a look some of the things we covered on here:
- We have covered different image types of vector photography and illustration that you can use.
- We’ve also spoken about where you can source them and the importance of establishing your own style. Once you’ve settled on what image type you’re going to use, you can source them from paid sites, free sites, or the best option really if you’ve got the time and resources is to create them yourself.
- And we looked at the tools to edit and brand them which can range from paid desktop programs, free online software and apps for on-the-go editing. But don’t forget to establish your style ahead of time. So that you don’t waste time trying to create branding your images every time. And your branding is distinct, fresh and engaging.
I hope you have learned some interesting things from this and you get some ideas that you can take away to help with your business. If you’re reading this because you listened to the podcast about this topic, you’ll find the links listed below as promised. If you haven’t listened to our podcast, you can find it at www.thesweatshop.com.au/podcast
Here’s a list of links to the sites, services, and products we spoke about above: