How to Create Compelling Content Images

Post by Ray 2 years ago - social media marketing - 0 Comments


How to create compelling content images


Images are a powerful communication tool.

There’s few people I know who understand that more than visual marketing expert, Dustin W. Stout .

Dustin was our special guest on this week’s #RayBunch show. We grilled Dustin about creating that perfect image for your blog or social media post.

Understanding the power of images to connect is a good place to start.

We  cognitively and emotionally absorb the message contained in an image almost instantaneously.

It’s said (though we not sure by whom) that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. 

Another number that illustrates how fast we comprehend images is this:

MIT neuroscientists report that the brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds.  

That’s quicker than a blink of an eye.

(The normal length of a blink is 300-400 milliseconds)

The human brain is able to recognize a familiar object within 100 milliseconds. People tend to recognize familiar faces within 380 milliseconds, which is pretty speedy.


Why is this important?

Because as the quantity of content increases, the attention span of the average reader decreases. 

To grab that attention, we need to post an image with our content that grabs their eye and compels them to look deeper into our content.

Dustin is my reference guy when it comes to images.

He’s written helpful articles on visual components of content such as fonts, colours and composition.
Some of the questions posed to and answered by Dustin are found in the video replay of the show below.

(Click on time timestamp to be taken to the video segment.)


1. What’s the most common problem people come to you with regarding images? (01:00)      

People are afraid to start because they feel they’re not creative and don’t know where to begin.

just do it create content images


Remember the 3 basics of good composition: 

Balance – balance elements out weight of elements

Framing – make sure there’s white space, that elements aren’t crowded at the edges,

Contrast – between background and foreground


Here’s a short list of free and inexpensive Photo manipulation tools:

iPiccy – Free Chrome app. The one I use most. Great for Photoshop-phobics.

PicMonkey – Image design, edit, collage etc.

Canva – Very popular & robust image creator especially for social media covers

Gimp – Extensive graphics manipulation package

Pixlr – Web photo editor

Clipping Magic – removes background from images

imgFlip – Animated GIF Generator


2.  What kind of images should we look for? (04:13)

Photographs reflect our real life experiences and connects us to the real world.Click To Tweet


3. How much text should we put on photos? (08:30)

Most people won’t read text on a photo if there’s too much of it..

Images with less text gets more response.

Your image text should be like a title or tagline. Succinct: one message.

You want the image to connect you to the message quickly so it will lead you to the reading rest of the content.


4. Is there a danger in changing your brand visuals often? (15:20)

People are creatures of habit. They look for familiarity, consistency.

They like to know what to expect.

Design is created to communicate.

We want to lower the barriers to that process. Lower the barriers to interpretation.

When you have a consistent brand identity, people can connect faster.

The brain has to do less processing.

Changing brand visuals too often forces your audience to relearn their relationship with you.Click To Tweet


5. How should we approach creating video thumbnails? (19:36)

Video thumbnails are an under utilized tool.

They’re made of random screen grabs which is probably due the fact that YouTube recognizes that people are attracted to faces.

So there is an advantage to having a person’s face on the thumbnail.

The same applies to business cards. It’s been shown that when a person’s face is on a business card, people are less likely to toss them.



We didn’t get around to the issue of copyright as that would be a whole show.

There are many great posts circulating that can help you with that like Dustin’s: Best Places to Find Free Images Online 

In short, if you don’t own it or are certain you’re allowed to use it – don’t.

If you’ve already chosen images for your post, here’s a very helpful post Dustin W. Stout just had published on Social Media Examiner:  How to Optimize Social Media Images 


The RayLunchBunch TakeOut Ep. 74

What’s in an Image

At the end of each #RayBunch show, we leave you with our Takeout – links to resources that provide you the opportunity to dig deeper into our featured topic.

Here are the LunchBunch Takeout links Jessica Dewell,  B.L. Ochman, Scott Scowcroft, Randy Bowden and me  shared:


(Click on image to be taken to web sites.)

1. How to Make Visual Content That Doesn’t Suck – by Dustin W. Stout   (Shared by Ray)

Art is not what you see Contrast

This post includes the three basic tenets of good design: Balance,Framing, and Contrast 


2. –  

123RF stock photos

Over 38 Million Stock Images, Vectors, Footage and Audio Clips – (Shared by Randy)


3. Subtle Patterns

subtle patterns

Background graphics. (Shared by Scott)


4. 8 Types of CTAs You Should Absolutely Try on Your Blog – (Shared by Jess)

8 Types of CTAs


5. The big web design trends for 2015  (shared by B.L.)


Web design trends

Photo Sources:

Pexels Free stock photos aggregated from over the web

UnsplashFree HD photos. Can subscribe to receive 10 photos every 10 days.

AlbumariumFree images – rights to use vary.

LifeofPixFree HD photos, no copyrights restrictions from Montreal Ad. Agency

DeathtoStockChoice of free or premium service (funds photographers)

Wikimedia Commonsa database of 25,325,290 media files


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About Ray Hiltz

Thanks for dropping by. I'm the Director of Digital Marketing for My background in business includes non-profit (performing arts), restaurants and Promotions. Having moved on from my own strategic consulting company, I now write about what interests me. So in this blog, you may read about my thoughts on marketing, health issues and business culture. You can follow me on Twitter @rayhiltz or @image24Call

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