An effective blog post requires more than just good writing. It requires visual interest. An intriguing photograph can reinforce the blog post’s subject matter. It can also add a depth of rich interest and comprehension to a blog post.
Here at Small Business Trends, we’re business people and writers, not artists or photographers. So adding visual interest to blog posts is something we’ve had to learn — it doesn’t come naturally to us. In fact, we’re still learning about how to add visual interest.
One lesson we’ve learned is to use images with emotion in blog posts. So I’d like to share a little of what it means to add images with emotion to blog posts, and demonstrate how that can make a difference.
Here at Small Business Trends we tend to write about concepts or intangible business ideas — examples: strategy; success; entrepreneurship.
Or we write about business topics that are visually tough to capture or downright boring from a visual perspective — examples: the Internet; accounting; financials. These are subjects that are hard to convey visually. They certainly aren’t exciting. They usually don’t make you smile or feel angry. OK, I concede they might make some of you cry (as in bored to tears). But typically these topics don’t inspire any kind of emotion.
So how do you inject emotion into such topics?
Let’s take a topic like a Board of Directors. If we were writing a blog post about Boards of Directors, we’d have a number of options visually. One option might be to show an image with people in business suits around a large conference table, looking awfully serious (as Board members are wont to do). Straight forward, right? Emotions? Not many.
But what if we used an image like the following, a playful image showing penguins around that conference table?
Such an image is unexpected. It makes you stop and think about the incongruity for a moment. Plus, penguins are rather funny looking birds to begin with. They look like they’re in tuxes with tails. They also walk funny, with a strange shuffle-waddle combo. So they naturally bring a smile to your lips — certainly more of a smile than a 60-something male with gray hair in a gray suit would bring to your lips. In other words, the image brings a bit of emotion (humor / smiling) to an otherwise dry topic.
Let’s take one more example: the topic of unemployment.
Here again, there are a lot of ways to convey unemployment, say when you’re writing about the latest jobs numbers. One way is to show an image with a classifieds help-wanted ad. That would be straight forward and obvious, yet it would have no emotion. Instead, what about an image like the following, showing a skeleton holding a sign saying “Need a job!”
Now this image in a blog post certainly would raise more emotion than an image of a newspaper help wanted ad. The skeleton image is startling. It makes you stop and confront the fear and pain of unemployment — how it can literally make people go hungry. The emotion in this case isn’t pleasant, but it does evoke feelings about the human cost behind unemployment. A business article about the latest job claim numbers becomes more than just about numbers with this image — now it’s about people.
So that’s what we mean about images with emotion. They are images that bring to life the topics in your blog posts, through making you feel. Even when you write business blog posts about intellectual ideas or intangible concepts or necessary but dry business topics — they can be brought to life with the right imagery.