I know. You get it. You’ve watched how social media and email have become vital to the marketing strategy of businesses & organizations. In this technological age, the way we communicate is becoming more and more virtual. You have only fleeting seconds to grab the attention of someone scrolling through his or her newsfeed or browsing the previews in their inbox. You understand that using images is so very important to attract viewers, but how do you create visual content that is engaging and unique?
The answer is not as complicated as you think: use your smart phone. Yes, that little hunk of plastic and glass that is your constant companion can also be your chief content creator. You carry the thing with you everywhere, so you might as well make it work for you. Use it to take photos that you can use to pair up with your social posts or accentuate your email newsletter. It’s a royalty- and cost-free way to engage your readers and highlight the personality of your brand.
Ready to give it a try? Here are some tips to get you started:
Have your cell phone at the ready, no matter where you are. This may seem like a no-brainer, and the fact is that many of us feel naked when we don’t have that little mobile device attached to our hand (me included!). However, you never know where or when you will be inspired to take a photo. *NOTE: be sure that you aren’t violating any rules by taking a photo. For example, photos of the Pentagon are not allowed but visitors to the 9/11 Memorial are allowed to snap pictures of the Memorial itself. You don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention!
Have a purpose in mind for the photo when you are framing it. If you’re going to add a text overlay, allow unencumbered space for the text so it can easily be read against the background. Avoid intricate details in the photos so as to not distract the viewer away from where you want them to focus. Or, if you want to draw attention to a particular element in the photo, be sure that area is sharp and stands out against the other elements in the composition.
Know the approximate dimensions of the photo’s ultimate destination. For example, if you are intending to use it for a Facebook or Twitter cover photo, know that it will be oriented horizontally and much wider than it is tall, then frame accordingly. If an Instagram post is the intended destination, square is the shape you should be thinking. Always be sure to follow the rule of thirds to ensure the photo is visually appealing and balanced.
Be cognizant of what you are putting inside the frame of the photo. Nothing will spoil the excitement about your photo shoot like getting back to your computer, examining the image, and finding someone flipped you the bird right as the shutter snapped. Luckily, there are sometimes ways to hide those little “photo flaws” – which brings us to point #5:
Use apps & tools to enhance and customize your photos and make them truly unique. There are as many photo app options as there are available emojis. The trick is finding what works best for your phone, for you, and for the end result you want to achieve. I have some apps that I use right on my phone, but the majority of the time I transition the photos to my computer and use the magic of PicMonkey (a free online tool) to create cool, customized content.
The best tip of all? Just give it a try! The beauty of digital photography is the instant ability to look at your photo, then have the option to delete and try again (rinse and repeat). Have some fun with it! By using photos that have your personality and character stamped into them, your readers and viewers can connect with you on a more personal level. Watch your engagement soar!
AprilKeating, a military spouse entrepreneur and mom of two young boys, is the owner & founder of online marketing firm Cre8ve Content Co. April is an expert with Constant Contact products and holds a Master Certification as a Solution Partner. She also is a member of the Washington, DC metro area Constant Contact Authorized Local Experts team. Click here to subscribe to April's monthly Cre8ve Chronicles newsletter.