There has been a great deal written on author branding, particularly with regard to author platforms and the major social media channels. These branding discussions seem focused on the blog or author platform level, However, I have not seen anything written about blog post branding — branding your individual posts with images.
Blog Post Branding with Images
Simply stated, images can be used for blog post branding. I got this idea when reading Rachel Thompson’s excellent article How to Best Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO. One of the points Rachel makes is that you should have an image at the beginning of your blog post and it should be properly tagged in the ALT field.
It occurred to me that I’ve seen a lot of author bloggers do this, but most use a generic image from one of the many free sites available.
Why not create an image for each blog article that:
- Brands the post as “you”
- Can be be used on various social media channels to promote and reinforce your brand
Creating a Branded Image
There are two main steps to creating a “branded image”:
- Find an image you would normally use to lead a blog post
- Use an editing application apply a graphic element distinctive to your brand
There are three ways to obtain images:
- Use one of the many free sites for images. This what most bloggers do.
- Pay for images from sites such as istockphoto.com. This can get very expensive, very quickly. I’m an eLearning developer and have licensed images from istockphoto that I can re-purpose; not everyone has the money to do that.
- Make your own images. Either take your own pictures with your cell phone OR use a screen capture program to capture elements of your website that could be used as branding image.
If you do purchase (license) images or make use of the free images available, ensure you conform to all of the usage restrictions.
There are a variety of editing applications available, both online, and offline.
- Online — I prefer to use Canva, but there are others available.
- Offline — Snagit, Photoshop, Gimp, are three that come to mind. I use Snagit — it’s cheap, easy to use, and versatile.
Here is an example of what I mean by a branded image. I created it in Canva and used it as the featured image (a WordPress capability) on a blog post.
I used Canva’s Twitter post image type which also fits quite nicely on my blog page (happy coincidence there, no great planning on my part).
The photo (licensed from istockphoto) is on the left. The photo is vertically sized to take up all of the available space in the Canva layout. This results in it occupying about 40% of the horizontal space.
On the right, in white text on a black background, is the blog post title.
These are very simple design elements:
- Image vertically divided into two parts
- Photo or blog related graphic on one side
- Blog post title in white text on a black background on the other side
I’d like to say this branding “look” was the result of careful thought on my part, but that is not the case. I started making images for my blog posts a couple of years ago and they organically evolved into style outlined above. For example, I used Abril Fatface for the font, not as the result of a rigourous analysis, but because I like the way it looked and it was the default when working within Canva.
Moreover I’ve “violated” my image branding style frequently:
However, even in my “violations” there are some constant elements:
- Blog post title is always on the right hand side in the Abril Fatface font
- Image is on the left
These constant elements lend an recognizable (I hope) look to the images that makes them instantly identifiable as mine when posted to Twitter or other social media outlets.
Your Branding Design
if you want to create branding images for your blog posts, I’d suggest deciding some common elements:
- Font face and size
- Font colour
- Dominant colour for the created images (I’m tending to black as you can see in the examples)
You could also add an addition common graphic element such as your Twitter profile image.
When creating your brand try to keep to the following guidelines:
- Always position the graphical elements in the same location (text, image, etc)
- Use the same font size
- If possible, have the dominant colour tie into your blog or author platform colour palette
You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create branded images with a common design theme. Canva, for example, has many free design elements you can used to create your branded image look:
If you haven’t already, create a free Canva account and spend some time experimenting. With a little effort you should be able to come up with an image branding strategy that is recognizably yours when you post to social media.
So, what say you, fellow author bloggers? Have you ever given any thought to implementing a blog post branding strategy with images? If so, what tools do you use?
That’s if for this week, thanks for reading and I will see you again next time.