Here’s the thing about content marketing: it doesn’t matter how ‘good’ your content is. Heck, it doesn’t matter if you’re the best in your industry, your content can still fail if you don’t think about how to improve content performance.
Why? Because we judge a book by its cover. We’re told not to but we can’t help it. Our brains are hardwired to notice patterns. Micro impressions change our perception, even if we don’t realize.
If your content is good but doesn’t look the part, it may be overlooked. Fortunately, it’s very easy to change this; all it takes is a few minor tweaks.
In this guide I’m going to show you a ridiculously simple process that almost guarantees your content will perform better, meaning more comments, shares, links, and traffic. The best part is that you can use this system to improve the content that you already have.
All it takes is one tool and around 30 minutes of your time.
3 Steps To Building Authority in Your Content, Using Simple Imagery
Step #1: Find an old post that already has some traffic (So you can test this quickly)
Step #2: Add specific images to certain parts of the article
Step #3: Edit those images to meet your branding
Easy right? But like anything, it’s the subtleties that make all the difference. Let me explain.
Perception And Value
Our brains are designed to look for patterns. Pattern recognition is what kept us safe from predators and all that good stuff. The thing is, it works both for, and against us.
We start to look for signals without meaning to. Markers that help us identify what something is, so we can save brain power. But this means if your content misses these markers, it can be ignored, or even worse, seem untrustworthy.
In a 2004 study by Sheffield University, they found that the visual perception of content, directly affected the trust or mistrust of a website.
In one study they shared personal blogs vs government medical sites. The results were that people trusted the personal blog more, simply due to the design of the content.
They even took it a step further and split test the results and shared the exact SAME content on two different sites. One had imagery and design, the other was all text. People trusted the site with images more…even though the written content was identical.
The key takeaway is that by adding images into your content, you build trust and authority with your audience. This is vital if you’re using content to help you sell. But this isn’t the only benefit…
Readability and effort
Those micro decisions?
They’re not just looking to see if the content is any good, they’re also looking to see how much effort will it take to read…
Well, you spend all this time and effort, trying to get someone to read your content right?
The last thing you want is for them to get overwhelmed and leave!
But by adding imagery, you help the content to ‘breathe’…
Notice the difference?
It’s the exact same article, but with imagery added to make it easier on the eye.
And because its easier to read?
It means you lower bounce rate and gets them to start reading your content.
Not bad right?
There’s still one more benefit…
Action And Authority
You already know that adding images helps with perceived authority.
If you’re writing a lot on the topic, then surely you must be an expert.
But, it gets better.
Adding images that give context and steps, also helps to also remove ambiguity…
What do I mean by that?
It stops your reader saying ‘what if’ or having to go elsewhere because they can take action right there in your article.
Because there’s nothing worse than getting someone excited about your topic…
…and then sending them to your competitors because you didn’t show them how to take action.
But by adding step-by-step imagery?
They now feel empowered by your content.
Not only do people see your content as more valuable, but they also take action on it.
When you get someone to take even a small action, they are far more likely to take another action if you ask them…
(Its partly why our opt-in rates are so high.)
The best part?
You can get all those benefits and more, simply by adding specific images to certain places in your own content
Let me show you how:
Step #1: Find An Old Article To Edit
Why start with an old post?
If you have an article that’s already getting traffic, its far more effective to improve that, then to write something brand new.
If you’re not sure which article to improve, then I recommend you do this: Head across to your Google Analytics Dashboard.
You’re going to find your top performing articles, to help you choose which one to improve.
Click on the search bar in the top left and write the word ‘pages.’
A few options will appear in the drop down menu.
Select the ‘Behavior > Site Content> All Pages’ option.
This will load up the top performing pages on your website, based on traffic.
Your goal is to choose a page that you want to improve.
Leave the very top performing pages for now.
I recommend picking a page that’s getting traffic, but isn’t the top performing.
Once you decide which article to improve, make a note of the traffic that its currently getting (this way you can measure the improvement over time).
Have you picked an article to work on?
It’s almost time to start adding images, but before then?
You need to to know what images to add where, and why to add them.
Because like I said before, its all about those subtleties…
Step #2: Add specific images to certain parts of the article
Super quick overview:
There are three types of images that you need to add to your content:
1. Images to add steps and removing ambiguity
Your article shouldn’t just ‘talk’ about a topic
All that does is get people excited and then they go elsewhere to take action
You want them to stay and take action with you instead!
So at any point where you’re explaining how to do something, you need to add images and a step-by-step break down of the process
Usually, this is in the body of the content, and it should look similar to this:
You simply go through step by step so the reader doesn’t have to guess what to do next.
I find this pattern works well:
- What are we doing?
- Why are we doing it?
- How to do it?
- Add the image…
You then repeat that process until you’ve walked them through each part.
Once you’ve added those steps images, there are 2 other types that you need to add…
2. Images to add proof and context
During your article, you probably referenced different resources right?
Rather than just adding a link, go ahead and grab a screenshot.
Even if its just a screenshot of a document…
Why do this?
By adding an image it helps people connect it with the idea.
It provides context so they can connect the dots.
Not only that?
It actually helps people to remember your idea, while also building trust and proof…
Sales online is all about building trust. The more you can build, the quicker you’ll make the sale. If you can boost it with some simple screenshots, then you’d be crazy not to add them right?
Its super powerful and yet so simple to do.
So there’s one last place to add images…
3. Images that let the content breathe
You saw this in the example before. This one is all about aesthetics and lowering bounce rate.
Well, no one wants to read a wall of text right? Its hard on the eye, and it makes you think twice about reading your article.
So what can you do?
Simply ‘zoom out’, and look for areas in your article where you have a large build up of text, and then add the image…
This method is so stupidly simple, but it makes your content far more effective.
When you use Snagit to add them, it only takes seconds per image!
Yep, just 47 seconds to capture, edit and upload
Lets show you how…
Step #3: Add images and edit for branding
I recommend you add your images in the same order that we just talked about:
- Start with adding steps and value,
- Then add images for context next to references
- Finally, zoom out (CTRL+ MINUS) and look for areas with a lot of text, and then break it up
If you don’t have it already, you can grab a trial of Snagit.
Go ahead and install it.
Once it’s loaded, you’ll get an interface that looks like this:
You’ll notice a few settings.
You can use it capture images, videos, gifs, and panoramic shots (Those large screenshots of a webpage etc).
I used Snagit to capture and edit every image that you see in this article.
So let me walk you through a quick example…
Adding the image
Lets say that you wanted to add some step-by-step screenshots inside an article (like what I’m doing right now in this guide).
Start off by having the page loaded, that you want to take a screenshot of…
In this example, I might be walking someone through how to set up a Facebook ad.
Now that the page is loaded, you can capture the image.
Make sure that you have the selection set to ‘region’, and then click the red ‘capture’ button.
The interface will disappear and the view finder will load up.
Simply highlight the area that you want to capture, by clicking and dragging the crosshairs…
Once you’ve selected the area, the capture will load up in the image editor…
Edit the image
Snagit allows you to make edits to your image in seconds.
You simply click which edit you want, and it happens.
You’ll notice that for every image I add, I use the exact same edits…
- A border
- The same font
- The same colour for context areas…
Why do this?
Well the border helps the image pop on the page, while the highlights and text help to bring focus and context to the idea
By always editing my images the same, it helps people remember my brand, and it makes the article look more professional.
I recommend you do the same for your content, but using your own brand colors.
(If you’re not sure of the exact color, you can use the color grabber tool inside Snagit to figure it out. I’ll show you how in a second.)
Now that the image has loaded in the editor, lets walk through the edits…
Help the image stand out
I always start off by adding a border to my image.
You simply click ‘Effects’ and then choose which Border you want to use.
I like to use a thin grey border, because it helps the image pop on the page (just make sure you use the same border for each new image).
Once you’ve added the border, its time to highlight what your audience should pay attention to…
Add focal points for your readers’ attention
The next step is to add a focal point to draw the readers attention.
Maybe its a screenshot with a button they need to click, or a paragraph that supports your reference.
See how the box and the arrow draws your attention to the button they need to press?
Adding a focal point is real easy.
Simply go to the ‘Shape’ option in the top menu bar…
Then pick one of the outline boxes and choose what color you want to use.
Then simply drag and drop it like you did with the cross hairs before (I recommend you use the same color each time).
So what if you want to use a specific colour, and you don’t know what it is?
How to use the color grabber
This is super simple.
If the color you want to use is already in the screenshot, then simply click on the outline box in the right hand menu.
The different colors available will load up for you to choose from…
Click on the color grabber tool, and then mouse over the colour you want to copy, and click it.
Now the outline box will change color!
Click on the outline tool again, and then click the little plus (+) sign below the colors.
Now this custom color will be available for you to use for every future image!
So that’s the focal point added, now you need to give it some quick context…
What are they looking at (and why?)
We know that adding the image helps them remember and connect with the idea.
It doesn’t hurt to quickly support that by writing on the image, and it’s really simple to add.
Click on the text section in the top menu, select the colour and font, and then click where you want to write on the image…
I like to always write in block capitals.
By writing in caps, it helps them to read your note. So now the image is finished, you simply upload it into your article.
Its really easy.
Simply save the image and give it a name.
Then find the location you want to add it, and upload it into your article.
And there you have the image, looking awesome in your article (that whole process from start to finish, took us only 45 seconds to add that new image).
Now it’s your turn
I hope you can see how easy this method is to improve your content.
Sure it’s a little more effort, but its about 5 minutes longer for a MUCH better ROI from your content.
Simply follow the process:
- Add images to show step-by-step processes
- Add images to give context
- Break up walls of text
You’ll be amazed at how this will affect your content results, and how your audience responds
Ready to get started?
Grab your Snagit trial here, and then go improve your content.