For bloggers, writing quality content isn’t the most difficult task. In reality, the trickiest aspect of publishing good posts is finding the right imagery to support the post. Because of the ease and simplicity of stock images, most bloggers resort to selecting cold, boring stock pictures. If this sounds familiar, you need to stop. Your selection of stock images may actually be damaging your blog’s reputation.
The Case Against Stock Photos
“Visual content is a cornerstone of almost every branding campaign,” writes Buddy Scalera, content strategist. “And yet, we still see respectable brands using stock photographs that undermine the credibility of their hard-earned visual-branding standards.” While you may not look at your blog as a brand, that’s exactly what it is. And if you want to grow your brand, there are a handful of reasons why stock photos need to be cut out of the picture.
- Cliché. Stock photos are cliché and overused. In fact, you may begin to wonder if they’re all the same after visiting a stock photo website. They essentially take the same smiling faces, add a new background, and there you have it.
- Out of touch. It’s incredibly difficult to find a stock photo that actually speaks to the content of your blog. In most cases, you search for an image and try to find one that vaguely relates to your audience. As a result, your audience vaguely relates to your blog.
- Recycled. What is a reader supposed to think if they see an image on your blog that also happened to pop up on a blog post they read yesterday? In most cases, they feel ripped off. Well, if you’re using stock photos, the odds are pretty good that you’re doing nothing more than recycling images your competitors are using.
The Benefits of High Quality Imagery
If you want to understand the importance of high quality imagery, just study the real estate industry. Real estate professionals often rely on quality listings – and original photography in particular – to attract leads.
Check out this example of a luxury condo. While the condo is obviously very nice on its own, the images do it justice by highlighting key selling points. Now consider these stock photos of condominiums. If a buyer were to see these photos on a listing, would they do anything other than hit the back button?
While the previous example is obviously an extreme example, the message is clear. If you’re going to connect with customers, you need to ditch the stock photos and invest in high quality imagery – and preferably original imagery. There are three reasons for this:
Authentic. High quality imagery comes across as authentic. The idea is to have someone look at an image and assume you took it with your own camera. Whether you actually did is beside the point. The goal is to make it look real.
Tailor made. When you use original images – or pay for quality images – you can tailor them to your blog content. This means you can include branding, logos, and real people.
Relevant. Finally, high quality images are relevant. If you’re writing a blog post about building a fireplace, you can use an image of a contractor actually building a fireplace – not just a picture of a fireplace. If you’re writing a blog post about cooking spaghetti, you can use an image of a person cooking spaghetti – not some vague dish.
Make Visuals a Priority
Moving forward, it’s imperative that bloggers make visuals a priority. In the coming months and years, this is what will separate the successful bloggers from wannabe bloggers. And as you can conclude from this article, it’s time to invest in high quality imagery – not those lifeless stock photos that hurt your reputation.