** After nearly seven years of blogging, this is the first guest blog post on Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog! I am very excited to announce that the first guest blog post is by Kristin Saling (@kcsaling), my fellow social media collaborator, West Point instructor & researcher, and traveler extraordinaire! Plus, she is also my most amazing and fabulous sister! 🙂

The online world is social. You’ll find it nearly impossible these days to find a site where you don’t have multiple options to share content across various platforms, and more and more, we’re seeing those platforms become visual. Pinterest leads the charge in displaying visual content, of course, but Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, and most blog readers show a visual header made from a feature page in an article when that article gets shared.

The bottom line is that if your content doesn’t come along with good visual content, you’re not optimizing the ability of your good readers and followers to share your content. As a blogger, content sharing is your lifeline. It’s how you reach new readers and new audiences, and form new collaborations and partnerships. The online world operates on what is essentially the largest and fastest word-of-mouth content marketing system, only now that word-of-mouth comes with pictures.

You can and should adapt your content to take advantage of this visual online world so that you’re not missing out on those connections. If you want people to share your content, you want to create visual content that is appealing, that reflects your personality or the personality of your brand, and that lends itself to sharing across social media platforms!

  1. Size matters. There are multiple sites out there that tell you what size your image should be when displayed on various platforms. Knowing this will help you tailor your image so that it can be easily shared across social media sites.
  2. Picture. Words. You know the relationship. Go in with the mindset that you’re creating content for visual platforms, so your content should be visual. Don’t settle for grabbing a picture from Shutterstock or off a quick Google image search. You want something that’s going to represent the content of your site and the reputation of your brand, and that will do that well.
  3. Brand your design elements.Tailor your content in more than just size and resolution. When you and others share your work, you want it to be fairly recognizable that the content being presented comes from you {and not just by slapping a large lazy watermark of your brand name or blog name across the photo}. Think about what you can do to incorporate certain design elements and maybe pieces of your brand in a creative way.
  4. Name and describe your images correctly. People will pin your image just because it’s pretty. They may not pay attention to the content. This isn’t terrible, but it can be really bad if your picture shows up as part of a viral campaign…that has nothing to do with your product or brand! Take the case of the joulies from Kickstarter that PRGeek talks about here. It’s like playing telephone over the internet. But you can fix this by pre-naming your images so that they show up with your tagline or message as a default – try this handy tutorial.
  5. Don’t overshare your brand. When you create visual content, it doesn’t just have to feature your brand. People will get bored in a hurry if all they see are pictures of your product. These pictures should reflect the personality of your brand, things you like and that inspire you, so that people can get a better feel for your key interests. It also helps you to establish better cooperative relationships and perhaps opens the door for future collaborations.

Thank you to Kristin for this great guest blog post! If you are interested in reading more great content by Kristin, please check out her fabulous blog called “Living the Happy Ever After” and her research blog as well.  She also shares great social media insights on Twitter as well.