‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice, ‘without pictures or conversations?’
Alice has a good point. Many people are more likely to read a book, article or blog post if it has illustrations that draw the reader in. Not all of us are like Alice; as a friend pointed out, she is intrigued by words. Others like music, video or audio. But for those who might be more likely to read your article because you have a unique illustration, why not provide the great illustration to go with the post?
“But I’m not an artist!” I hear you say. OK, I will address some options, once I convince you of the importance of visual imagery on many social media platforms.
Use of Visuals in Social Media
To prove the importance of visual imagery in social media, think of these four platforms:
Let’s explore each one. Pinterest is all about image. If you have no images, no will pin your post on Pinterest. And Pinterest is the fastest independent site to hit 10 million monthly uniques in the U.S. – how can one turn away that kind of traffic? Regarding Facebook – aren’t you more likely to click an article on Facebook if it has an appealing image? Google+ – this new comer to the social media scene is attracting quite a few photographers and other image creators. And just like on Facebook when you share an image on Google+, it’s going to attract more clicks if a nice thumbnail accompanies the post. Finally, do you have a blog? There are lots of people who might enjoy repeat visits to your blog if they know each time they will be treated to some nice imagery. It’s not all about words – images can be part of the content as well.
How Can I, a Non-artist, Add Attractive Illustrations?
One solution, of course, would be to hire a designer to create some imagery for your posts. However, you might be able to come up with some simple images of your own that will be attractive and unique. You mostly need access to the web and some ingenuity.
A good place to start would a collection of your own photographs or pick illustrations from books that are over fifty years old, so that the illustrations are now in the public domain (like Alice in Wonderland). You can then add some fancy, personalized text to the image in order to make it work for your blog post or article.
Create a Rabbit Presenting Blog Hopping Image using Pixlr
You don’t need to own Photoshop or even Photoshop LE to produce an illustrative image. Those are wonderful software packages, but for the purpose of simplicity, I will assume you don’t own those packages. Here’s how to create an image of a rabbit announcing Blog Hopping Works! using Pixlr, a free online graphics tool. If you want an example of a great post on blog hopping, try Dee Ann Rice’s post on Blog Hopping or Ian Ieba’s post on Developing Alliances and Friendships with Other Bloggers.
I chose this rabbit from Alice in Wonderland because it is in the public domain, so I’m not stepping on any artist’s toes by doing so. If you want you can thank John Tenniel on your post for producing those wonderful works.
Step one: Copy the image unto your computer. Then upload it to Pixlr.
Step two: Notice the image doesn’t give you much room for text. So expand the canvas size. Under the Image menu, select Canvas Size.
Step three: Click the box on the right, because you want the rabbit to stay on the right and the text to go on the left. Set a new width for the canvas size. I picked 300px – you can later reduce the image to 150px if you want it to be small.
Step four: Use the text tool to type your text. Various fonts are available at a variety of sizes. I used the text tool in two different places to separate “Announcing” from “Blog Hopping Works!”
Step five: save the new image to your computer. You can then upload to your blog post.
Your Turn, Please
Do you have photo editing software or other graphics software? Do you use it? Have you hired anyone to do graphics for your site? Have you considered collecting your own photos to illustrate blog posts?