Breathe New Life Into Your Blog Post With These DIY Image Ideas
Earlier this spring I covered the annual conference and trade show for one of our large tech clients. And when I say “cover,” I mean good, old-fashioned news reporting. I served as the writer for our client’s blog, which supported the event. I spent hours each day running up and down the trade show halls, interviewing employees, crisscrossing the show floor, and sitting in on keynote speeches. It made me a bit nostalgic for my old newspaper days.
This assignment, however, wasn’t new to us here at Tendo. Several colleagues before me had this same task, and we have been adhering to the following (time-tested!) process to develop each blog post:
- Conduct on-site blog interview
- Take a photo from the show floor or relevant session
- Write a 500-word blog post
- Insert the photo into the blog post
- Publish the blog post
This year, I was ready to breathe new life into this event coverage and blog series, and I wanted to help achieve our goal of higher page view counts than last year’s engagement. In order to do that, I had to do something more visual, as strong visuals are a reliable tactic for increasing page views.
I turned to Adobe Photoshop to quickly create graphics that I could load into Lithium (a blog hosting site) as .jpgs, and my tactic worked. Our total blog post views, as well as our average blog post views, increased by more than 5 percent compared to our 2014 results. These tactics were simple and easy to do, but most importantly, they made our client’s blog more relevant and engaging. Here’s how you can use imagery to increase your views, too.
Highlight a great quote or number by designing it as an image
You need a piece of information to go into a graphic. Ask yourself, if you were telling a friend back home about the conference, what fun fact would you share with them right away? For me, I could see the huge amount of planning this event required, so I knew there had to be some interesting numbers that I could pull into an image. I found out how many gallons of coffee they planned to dispense at the event (3,000 gallons), and I included that in a post. Simple, yes—but interesting.
Great quotes from keynote speeches are one of the best things to pull into a graphic. In newspapers, we call that a “pull quote.” It’s easy to do in Photoshop, or even in a simpler program like Microsoft Office Publisher. Here’s how I did it:
- Create a darkly colored (filled-in) box on the page.
- On top of the colored box, overlay a text box. Make the text a lighter color, preferably white. This color scheme will set the pull-quote image apart from the blog text that will populate the majority of the page.
- If you’re using Publisher, use your computer’s “snipping tool” to create a .jpg. Be sure to save that snipped image to your desktop, or somewhere safe.
- As you upload your blog, you can simply attach the image you just created as a regular photo. It’s as easy as that.
This is also ideal for content that you can’t squeeze into the blog post itself. I had a short Q&A that I conducted with an attendee who was a software engineer, but I didn’t have a specific scheduled post that it would fit in. So, I trimmed the copy down to three short questions, designed it as an image (following the steps above), and added it as a sidebar to one of my daily wrap-up posts.
Incorporate a Flickr slideshow
Our client hosted an activities night for attendees on day two of this three-day conference. They brought in bands, food stations, and a variety of fun games and arcade areas. People are always interested to see how these tech companies take breaks and get their attendees to kick back and relax. For that, I discovered how you can embed a photo slideshow into a blog post on Lithium using Flickr. I took a collection of about 40 photographs, quickly edited them (getting permission from any person I photographed up close), and published the slideshow in Lithium. That post was the highest-viewed post of our “during the event” blog coverage. Here’s how to create a slideshow yourself:
- In your Flickr stream, click on “albums.”
- Click on the album you want to post.
- Once inside the album, within the address bar at the top of your browser, add the characters “/show” to the end of the album link. Press enter. You will generate a slideshow with a black background.
- At the top right corner, click on “Share.” A “Share this Slideshow” menu generates. The second code listed is the embed code. Highlight and copy that text.
- Paste that text into the HTML box of your draft blog post, and voilà—you’ve just embedded a photo slideshow.