3 Tips for Choosing Imagery — Go Local!

By now, most marketers know that when trying to attract new customers you have to turn on the visuals. Like everything, though, you have to be careful about which images or videos you select to go along with your materials. After all, it could take on a life of its own in ways you didn’t anticipate at the onset. For instance, recall the recent ruckus over the identity of the girl inside of the stock photo that the U.S. government used on Healthcare.gov. With the problems attached to the site’s rollout, a whole ‘nother narrative got woven into the controversy. The point is that you never know what people will say about you and you’re best off making sure that you nail down the right images while you can.

Groner from Shutterstock

Playing it too safe, though, is not the right answer either. Too often bloggers or publishers fall back on the same conventional practices when trying to give their articles a little bit of color. The photo shouldn’t be an afterthought; it should be inviting. So many of us judge an article from time to time based on the pictures that lives at the top, so you want to make sure that it stands on its own. Some photo selectors have grown wise. In fact, you’ll notice that much of the imagery on Nimble’s blog complements the content. For example, take this recent blog post that dresses up the blog post below in a smart and subtle way. Once you read on, you understand why that photo belongs there. How else might the editor have depicted this story? No other option would have done as good a job to keep you intrigued.

The reason these posts, and similar campaigns, are so effective is that the directors in charge of the creative are giving masterful and thorough thought into what will make the topic and materials shine best. To best achieve that, you’ll want to first understand your content and what will motivate someone to interact with it. Too often in advertisements we will discover the same bland and cliché models appear and reappear. Some have even poked fun at the ubiquity at which we encounter the same pretty faces. When people fall back on the same images time and again, they’re not trying hard enough to connect with their audience. They should be diving deeper and really trying to grasp the nature of the market they aspire to reach, and how people enjoy commerce there. This is true both geographically and sociologically.

Here are three tips for getting started with the right way to think about your content, whatever it may be, and how to better approach the local market you seek:

1. Ask yourself if you find it appealing.

Don’t just throw in a stock image. If it looks like something you’ve seen before, it’s best to discard it. What will resonate most is an image that they will remember and associate with your brand.

2. Think about the share.

Don’t just make something beautiful that you can write home about. Produce something extraordinary that will get strangers to care enough about your content that they will help promote it along with you. To get there, you’ll need content that really connects and delivers pop. Have the target audience in mind as you brainstorm, conceive, and sketch the idea, and then bring it to life. They’ll love the final product because it looks and feels so familiar to them.

3. Consider video.

It may sound expensive and daunting at first, but the cost and effort have both been reduced significantly over time, thanks to desktop editing software. It may just be time to try something new. The same rules as above apply with any stock footage you use. A new medium might just be what’s in store.

Danny Groner is the manager of blogger partnerships and outreach for Shutterstock.