Anyone who has taken the plunge into writing an article for Linkedin (or any other publication for that matter) knows firsthand that finding the right picture to accompany your article is just as important as the headline you use. In fact, the image you choose is critical to the overall success and viewership it will receive.
Since 2014 Linkedin has offered to the masses an opportunity that was once only allowed for the selected few – that offering in question is called “Pulse” and its ability for it’s users to share their opinions, insights and ideas in the form of Linkedin articles.
Pulse is broken down into people and themes or what they call “Channels” such as Leadership & Management, Design, Innovation, Technology and dozens more. Take a look here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/discover
One of the keys to getting eyeballs on your article (in addition to likes and hopefully if you are lucky, valuable commentary from your readers) is to have a powerful visual. Yes, I know – you are thinking “why is he focusing on that versus a catchy headline?” – great question. Here is my answer: The headline is equally powerful, but people will typically first view the image to see if it’s engaging. The ability of visual stimuli to communicate and influence is undeniable and inescapable. In fact there is true science to back this up.
“Presenters who use visual aids are 43% more effective in persuading audience members to take a desired course of action than presenters who don’t use visuals”
3M sponsored study at the University of Minnesota School of Management
Visuals are not only excellent communicators but also quickly affect us psychologically and physiologically in addition to cognitively and emotionally:
- Cognitively: Graphics expedite and increase our level of communication. They increase comprehension, recollection, and retention. Visual clues help us decode text and attract attention to information or direct attention increasing the likelihood that the audience will remember.
- Emotionally: Pictures enhance or affect emotions and attitudes. Graphics engage our imagination and heighten our creative thinking by stimulating other areas of our brain (which in turn leads to a more profound and accurate understanding of the presented material).
If you follow these 5 questions tips before you post your article, you are ensured to be well on your way to more viewership from the Linkedin community.
1) IS THE PICTURE RELEVANT TO THE ACTUAL TOPIC?
Meaning: Don’t pick an arresting image simply to draw in the reader, only to let them down with your content that doesn’t align. You will lose not only your audience but also your credibility. Shock value doesn’t hold it’s true value in the long term.
Here are some great examples:
2) IS YOUR PICTURE APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR LINKEDIN AUDIENCE THAT YOU WISH TO CAPTURE?
Meaning: Just like anything else you would post on social media, make sure your not offending anyone or showing yourself in a bad light. What you choose – can choose you in the end so if you are unsure if the picture is not appropriate, then ask others for their input or side with your gut and keep looking.
Thankfully for this segment, I didn’t have to show any examples as I couldn’t find any online. I realize this tip is incredibly subjective but please remember that anything you say or post online especially in a Pulse Article is an extension of the most important brand on the planet….you.
3) IS YOUR PICTURE THE PROPER RESOLUTION?
Meaning: Is it set for the right pixel size of (700 x 400 pixels). I realize this may be a no brainer but I promise this happens often and consider it shows a lack of professionalism and follow through when it comes to the details. If you don’t have the program to get it right, find the right person with the program.
Here is a real image I found on Pulse and it’s clear (or not so clear) to see that it’s blurry and has questionable cropping. The upside is that the topic was about global learning in a diverse workplace culture.
4) DOES YOUR PICTURE TELL THE STORY OF YOUR CONTENT?
Meaning: If someone looks at the picture you chose, would they get the overall gist of the article? If not, it may be too far of a stretch for your viewer to understand. Remember: “A picture is worth a thousand words”
Here are some great examples:
5) HOW ORIGINAL IS YOUR PICTURE?
Meaning: It’s as easy to find a standard stock photo image online as it is to find a Starbucks these days but that doesn’t mean just because you find one, you should run inside to get a latte. Different then finding a picture that is aligned and relevant to your theme, you want to infuse some creativity and thought into your selection. Don’t be afraid to be creative and unique.
- Are you passionate about photography? Then why not use your phone and snap away?
- If you’re hesitant to explore your creative side, consider asking someone you know for support. You may be surprised about the reaction you get from others when enlisting their support. The picture above was taken by my amazing wife of our son.
Here are two real examples of what to avoid if possible. These images are basic, stock and don’t align to what the article was about.
The one on the left is about office communication but it falls short in that it’s not terribly engaging and because the headline was around nothing specific relating to the image, there is/was a disconnect.
The second on the right, was an image for being an entrepreneur. It wasn’t about “standing out from the crowd” or “leading the pack or race” but more around what is the make up of a leader. Great topic but the image just didn’t meet the mark in comparison to the title.
BONUS QUESTION: DID YOU GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE?
Meaning: If you took someone else’s photo, illustration or any other form of media and used it for your purposes then do the right thing and give the author / artist their proper credit and acknowledgement.
Although the imagery is an important part of the puzzle in terms of getting views, nothing can substitute for the actual content you are providing your readers. Yes, the headline (and of course the visual) will draw them in but no one will stay or stay for that long if there isn’t value for them to take away from your article.
If you are considering writing your first article, then I say, “go for it” as there is no better form of self-expression and use of the Pulse Platform then to write an engaging article. However, before you go running off to the dark corner at your local Starbucks and penning your masterpiece, take a moment to read what the experts at LinkedIn had to offer up on writing an article for Pulse:
- What concrete advice would you give to someone hoping to enter your field?
- What will (or should) your industry look like in 5, 10, or 15 years and how will it get there?
- What is the biggest problem your industry needs to solve?
- What skill is essential in your job or at your company, and why?
- How has your job, profession or industry changed since you started?
- What else would you do if you started all over again and why?
- How did you get your start in your profession?
- Advice for career advancement.
- Challenges for the future of your profession.
LinkedIn’s editor Daniel Roth recommends: http://bit.ly/1EaiZwj
“Views” (of your article) maybe important to some and rightfully so but to many others (including myself) – receiving “likes” for your article is just as important. If you are able to get views, likes and of course the holy grail of “comments” from your readers then you are definitely on the right path to becoming an influencer.
Here’s A Great Article on – How To Choose The Right “Profile Picture”: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238624
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