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How pictures can sell your post (and your product)

ArieannafoleyNext up in the 12 Days of Christmas Series is a blog tip from Pro Blogger Arieanna Foley – a (blogger who has at last count) involvement in over 16 blogs (actually it’s probably more than that now she’s a channel editor at b5) on a wide range of topics. She blogs for herself at Blogaholics and for b5 at the popular Cooking Gadgets and She Knows Best. She’s also our Entertainment Channel editor. Here’s her tip on using images in posts.

Although I give due credit to the amazing Rhys Alexander on the importance of “Writing Gooder“, but a blog post is not all about what you say or how you say it. Face it, there are hundreds of things that just slip past us, well written or not.

Here’s the problem: your reader has a very very short attention span. You might get just a portion of a second of their attention, in which you need to grab hold of them to keep reading. I have honestly unsubscribed from some blogs not because I was bored of them, but I honestly didn’t have the time to read their posts. They were long and unscannable – I’m sorry – I love them, but I read 400 blogs, and I need shortcuts.

We all know of certain techniques to improve these Attention Techniques. Good blog design, catchy titles, shorter posts, text techniques, and breaking up long paragraphs.

Well, I’m here to tell you another trick that can not only smack your readers across the face to get their attention, but also help you make money.

Let me give you an example. You just saw me above doing a few things. Using fairly short paragraphs, and where not possible, more bolding. Why, because I know you won’t read this. I could be telling you the meaning of life, and you’d probably miss it. Many good pieces of work go unnoticed in the same way.

Now, what if I had given the same chunk of text above as this:

J0384170-2“Well, I’m here to tell you another trick that can not only smack your readers across the face to get their attention, but also help you make money.

Let me give you an example. You just saw me above doing a few things. Using fairly short paragraphs, and where380156 6537 not possible, more bolding. Why, because I know you won’t read this. I could be telling you the meaning of life, and you’d probably miss it. Many good pieces of work go unnoticed in the same way. ”

Does that grab your attention? The point proves itself easily. When you are being scanned at an alarmingly fast rate in an RSS reader you have only one chance to slow that motion down. Images do that for you.

Now, how do images make you money?

Simple! When you grab those images from some sort of affiliate program, like Amazon. Think that’s out of your reach? Never. Whether you write about products or not, Amazon is a treasure trove of information, resources, and images.

There are books on just about any topic – you can just stick one in your post, related or not, to get that attention. If you can find something related, go for it.

Some tricks:

  • always use the picture only.
  • wrap it in your text, if at all possible.
  • sizes can be modified, so do what feels right for the length of your post.
  • don’t limit yourself to just books – Amazon.com has great products in almost any range
  • think of your market – if you are writing on stocks, what do you think your demographic might be interested in? Think complimentary products

So, remember, images are not just about making your point - images are about making sure someone pays attention to your point. And maybe picking up a few sales here and there.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Hsien Lei says:

    You’re the master, Arieanna. This technique has really worked well for me.

  2. Yes it is one of the best technique ever. I personally hate to read blogs that often write long articles with no pictures. I will get bored and never visit that blog again.

    One picture = SUMMARY OF THE WHOLE ARTICLE

    if i love that picture, i will read on. if not, i will just move to other articles.

  3. This is a great suggestion — the text heavy look of my blog was bothering me, and this could help with both the aesthetics _and_ the revenue generation.

    Amazon also sells DVDs — I wrote about an unfortunate identity theft issue that we discovered yesterday, and an _Invasion of the Body Snatchers_ image goes along with the post very nicely.

  4. D. Campbell says:

    Nice article and oh so true! I use images to focus attention on each entry(summary) on my blog. Even if that image doesn’t focus on the specific subject of the entry, it’s there to focus the users to the originating site of the entry at hand.

  5. Brian says:

    Nice post, but this sentence could use some gooder writing:

    “Although I give due credit to the amazing Rhys Alexander on the importance of “Writing Gooder“, but a blog post is not all about what you say or how you say it.”

    Do we see the problem?

  6. Rhys says:

    Outstanding advice, as usual, Arieanna! :)

  7. Arieanna,

    Thanks for the pearls of wisdom. One quick question – how do you post just the picture of the Amazon book? I always get the price and buy from amazon button when I pull from the product search.

    Regards,
    Pierre Cutler
    The Sacramento Executive

  8. Arieanna says:

    Thanks all!

    Pierre – simply go to the product link area and click “Show” and you’ll be given an option to change the format/display of your ad.

    If you’re in WordPress there is also a great WP plugin that can help out.

  9. Sascha Ebach says:

    Kathy Sierra in here Creating Passionate Users blog is a real master of this.

  10. Bobbo says:

    Hi. . . I’m sorry to ask an off-topic Q, but can someone please tell me if googlebots can read blogrolling.com script? Do those links ‘count’ toward google ranking and the like?

    Sorry to bug. . .

  11. A.H says:

    Very nice tips, defintely gonna use those :)

    Heat

  12. jayvee f. says:

    hi!

    a picture, after all is worth a thousand words. the similar rule applies to lifestyle magazines – lots of pictures with small paragraph chunks and some blurbs.

  13. J Wynia says:

    Though I haven’t been using it in my blogging (will be starting now), if you use Flickr’s search and choose to restrict it by license, there’s a huge pool of images, tagged by keyword that can be used in a variety of ways. The most liberal just requires a “Photo by XYX” attribution. Maybe I’ll turn this into a plugin for WordPress similar to the Amazon one. Hmmm.

    http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/by-2.0/

  14. Arieanna says:

    Oh, yes please!

  15. Arrieanna,

    RE: comments 7 & 8 – thanks! That was way too esy. I can now rock and roll …

    Pierre Cutler
    The Sacramento Executive

  16. J Wynia says:

    It’s not a plugin, but here’s what I managed to whip up last night.

    Blog Photo Finder

    To be useful long term, it still needs pagination beyond the first 25, sorting on things other than interestingness, hopefully some sort of resizing, etc. I intend to add much of that and put it up on my Empire of Blog site and make some sort of hook for WordPress to easily insert.

    But, in the mean time, it’s fairly fun to play with and brings up some decent images. I will warn that not every photo is work-safe, even for queries you might not expect it. It happened particularly (for me) when putting in names of colors: white, orange, blue, etc. You get some really nice stuff, but there are surprises that you might not want seen over your shoulder at work.

  17. veridicus says:

    Excellent and simple suggestion to enhance most sites. It’s so simple yet few seem to think of it. Thanks for the tip!

  18. Very cool design! Useful information. Go on!

  19. Bloha says:

    Site is cool!

Trackbacks

  1. Using Pictures To Improve Your Blog and Make More Money

    I got a great idea from Arieanna Foley, who was guest-blogging at ProBlogger. She suggested livening up your blog posts with pictures. Not just any pictures, but specifically products from Amazon.com or some other affiliate program.
    This way, not o…

  2. [...] Day 1 – Writing Gooder Day 2 – Ethics for Science and Health Bloggers Day 3 – It’s all about the Lifestyle Day 4 – Fund Your Love of Blogging Day 5 – Get a Little Bit Personal Day 6 – Tips for Writing Hardworking Posts – Part A Day 7 – How Pictures can Sell Your Post (and Your Product) Day 8 – Niche Blogging Benefits. Day 9 – Tips for Hardworking Posts II Day 10 – Overcoming Intimidation Over English Skills in Blogging Day 11 [...]