You already know you need to write blog content to reach the masses, but content is more than just words on a page — it’s an experience.
One of the best ways to improve how people experience your written content is to complement it with custom illustrations and graphics.
Why is this so powerful? Let me give you five reasons…
1. They Break Up Long Passages of Text
Nobody likes reading long, text-heavy sections of articles.
Not only are huge walls of text unappealing to look at and engage with, but it also makes it notoriously difficult to keep your place while reading.
This is doubly true for mobile devices that make your chunky paragraphs even chunkier, and you won’t be surprised to know that most of your readers are almost certainly on mobile.
While good use of subheadings and text formatting can alleviate some of the eye-sore, it’s still only a band-aid solution.
By far the most effective way to break up wordy articles and keep readers engaged is to use strategically placed and well-designed illustrations.
Mixing things up with graphics gives you content some visual pacing. It keeps the text organized, and allows the reader to mentally check off a section in their head before committing to the next.
(If you ever played Crash Bandicoot as a kid, it’s similar to those checkpoints you reach at different stages throughout a level.)
If you’re still not convinced, let me give you a side-by-side comparison of a similar article — one with illustrations, and one without.
Be honest now, which one would you rather read?
2. They Make Your Content More Shareable
People still love sharing content on the internet.
I mean, think about it… When you discover new content you find valuable, what’s your first instinct?
Whether it’s through social media or email, sharing information is a natural human behavior that’s here to stay, so you need to learn how to leverage it.
But here’s the thing:
Not all content is share-worthy, and many studies have tried to determine what makes “highly shareable content”. It’s no surprise, however, that visual content consistently comes out as a positive factor.
Like this one from ClearVoice, which clearly shows a trend toward visual content being shared more often, especially when it comes to infographics.
So what does this mean for you?
It means using custom images in your blog articles is an effective way to boost the perceived value of those articles, and will likely result in them getting more social shares in the long term.
Here’s an excellent example from Food Matters, who embed highly relevant infographics at the end of the content.
3. They Get You More Backlinks to Your Website
One of the best sources of traffic to your website comes from organic search (AKA that sweet, sweet Google traffic).
Without turning this into an SEO lesson, you should know that one of the biggest factors in determining how much traffic you get from Google is how many backlinks you have.
A backlink is a link from another website, pointing to your website. This acts like a vote, and the more votes you have, the more Google rewards you.
So how do you get backlinks?
Well, considering this is really just another form of sharing content, the same rules apply as we just discussed. The perceived value of a piece of content typically correlates with the number of backlinks it has.
Including visual content in your blog posts will do a lot of the heavy lifting here, especially if you’re investing in custom illustrations and infographics.
To give you a somewhat extreme example, everylastdrop.co.uk produced a fully interactive graphical piece about water wastage in the UK, using beautiful illustrations to bring their data to life.
This page has picked up 763 backlinks as a result, meaning that many individual websites like it enough to mention it on their own platform.
Leveling up your content is even more important if you’re proactively reaching out to people asking for backlinks because your recipients will be more inclined to scrutinize your content.
Finally, allowing others to use your custom graphics is another great way to acquire backlinks over time, and this isn’t exclusive to infographics.
Poolonomics is a good example of this.
They made niche-relevant graphics that other people can download for free from Flickr, as long as they credit the original website with a link. (Flickr even allows you to upload images with an attribution-only license.)
4. They Help You Establish a Brand Identity
The internet is closing in on 2 billion total websites started since its inception, with over 600 million of those being blogs.
Think about that. Billion, with a b.
Considering the vast majority of websites use the same basic design layout (header, body, footer), there’s only a finite number of ways to create your own unique brand identity.
That color scheme you like? Overused.
That font pairing you came up with? Been done a thousand times.
Those stock images you picked out? Good luck with that.
To create a real brand identity and real brand awareness online, you need to do what few others are willing to do.
You need to go custom.
Featured images are one of the best examples of custom illustrations being used to establish a true brand identity.
The Ahrefs blog nails this. You always know when you’re reading an Ahrefs article without ever having to look at the domain name or logo. (And this process goes back several years, as documented on Twitter here.)
Another great example is Webdew.
They use pastel-colored featured images with consistent illustrations and the odd text overlay. Not only do they look super professional, but they also clearly describe the topic they represent.
What’s more, if you check out the rest of this website, you’ll see this same style being used everywhere. Everything is coherent, from the homepage to the careers page, and it creates a strong element of authority and trust.
This is the level of meticulous detail you need to model if you want to be remembered online.
5. They Make Your Blog Content More Memorable
Being memorable comes down to more than just consistent branding.
It’s about going above and beyond with your content. It’s about giving so much value that people have no choice but to make a permanent record of its existence in their brain.
It’s about producing amazing sh*t.
In order to reach that caliber of content, however, you can’t just expect to throw 10,000 words at a page and call it a night. People don’t remember quantity, they remember quality.
That means taking the extra time to present ideas and explain topics through beautiful illustrations and infographics where necessary.
It means putting in the effort to produce something that strikes a chord with the 65% of your audience that is primarily visual learners.
Here’s a simple example to illustrate (pun intended) my point…
One of our clients posted a blueberry muffin recipe to their blog, and while the recipe itself was enough by most people’s standards, she knew there was an opportunity to go bigger.
The client approached us and we put together this cute mini-infographic to give her readers something more memorable to work with.
Naturally, she loved it — and so did her readers.
Here’s the final result:
Ready to Jazz Up Your Website?
If you’re ready to take your content to the next level, generate more traffic and backlinks to your website, and establish a striking brand identity, you need to invest in custom graphics.
We eat, sleep, and breathe graphic design for website owners, so why not check out our no-risk pricing packages to see how we can help you.