The not-so-literal way to choose images for blog posts and marketing.

Contributed by Guest Blogger, Rachel Vane

I tend to be a silly, but serious person. Seriously.

Sometimes I’m crippled by it and how literal and/or exact I feel need to be. Do you know of what I speak?

When you set out innocently enough to find an image for a blog post or to post on Facebook and you get all caught up in it being the “perfect” image to go with the text?

Next thing you know an hour is gone while you scour stock image sites. And then you get fed up and end up with a weird stock claymation-looking illustration version of a guy holding a red puzzle piece because your post is about figuring out how to do some and a puzzle piece kind goes with figuring something out, right?

We are inundated by images. So much so, that we’ve nearly stopped stopping to figure out what they actually mean, what they represent and how they effect us.

  • Some of them, like the claymation stock guy, seem off somehow, but we’re not sure why. (Psst… because he’s Generic, with a capital G.)
  • Others blend in so much to all the noise around us, we barely notice they’re there.

And then there’s the one’s that hit us. We stop for a second. All the rest of the noise seems to be gone for a second and it’s just us and that image.

Now, I’m not saying that every image for your blog posts need to be that hard-hitting, stop-and-make-you-think image. But I am saying you need to stop and think about it.

And there is a much smarter, saner way to find images for your marketing and blog posts – and that is called a brand. Once you know your why, who you’re talking to and your “tone of voice” – all images have a staring point. Then, it doesn’t really matter if the image “matches” the topic of your post.

What matters is if the voice of your brand is being used – to help ground every damn thing you put out.

Using images is about consistency and that’s way more important that being literal.

The easiest way to think about this when you’re not really good with understanding a visual tone – is to use it like a “theme”.

For example… my brand tone + values seem a bit scattered and feel more abstract. They are: honesty, silly/fun, reflective, striving, community/family.

But my theme to show those abstract concepts is much more straightforward: I use mainly images of me and/or my family. Done.

Now every time I write a new post or am creating new marketing, I know where to look for my images. And there are not 1000′s of them to search through. So, I don’t go insane looking for the “perfect” image. I find one that kind of works, crop it and/or add text and then – it’s done.

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More importantly, I am reinforcing my brand tone with each and every image, even if the image has nothing to do with the post. Which means I make a lasting impression in your head. Yep, I’m getting in there – whether you like it or not.

If you resonate with my brand values and the images that speak them in my way – you grow to like me more and remember me the next time you hear someone say they need a new website. If you don’t resonate with them, you unsubscribe and we both move on. Sweet, isn’t it?

And the magic part? Once you put that image in your post that doesn’t seem to “fit” – all of a sudden it is seen in the context of the words you’ve written and it seems to take on meaning and completely embody with something you’ve written. And you seem… Brilliant. 🙂

Need help with all this branding stuff?  I currently have some consulting sessions open if you’d like to figure out how your tone and values translate visually. Contact me here to schedule one soon.

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Rachel helps business owners visually and effectively communicate who they are and what they do, so they authentically connect with the people whose lives they want to change. Business owners tell Rachel the about the soul of their businesses, their goals and then she works with them to bring all that together into designs that make their prospects feel.


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