The series The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing helps financial advisors understand how content marketing all works so they can establish themselves as a financial expert by properly utilizing financial content marketing strategies.
In part five, Keyword Phrase, of The Ultimate Financial Advisor’s Guide to Content Marketing I went into detail about one of the essential elements in creating content…
Now it’s time to go beyond text and look closely at why you should never skip adding a featured image.
Why Adding a Featured Image Matters
You might be wondering if you need to include images with your content or if text alone will be sufficient. The answer is you should always include at least one featured image with every article for both visual appeal and functional purposes.
Images not only bring your words to life by illustrating meaning, but they also serve to optimize your content for search engines and help your content stand out on social media platforms where you share it.
Search engine algorithms — the criteria used to reward or penalize content based on specific characteristics — are constantly changing. But in recent years, it has become clear that Google and other top search engines increasingly favor images, reportedly because images enhance the user experience.
In other words, people like pictures and search engines aim to return the results that people want. As the importance of visual search continues to expand, image inclusion and image SEO has become more essential than ever.
What is a Featured Image
A featured image is a photo or graphic that will show up in the preview of your post on social media sites such as Facebook and often as a thumbnail on your blog list. Its purpose is to represent the content of the post at a glance and serve as a preview, providing the audience with a sneak peek to determine whether or not they want to read the content.
The featured image adds visual interest to your article and helps set expectations for both content and tone by piquing a reader’s interest. Even more than an article’s subject matter or headline, the featured image has the potential to persuade or dissuade readers from actually opening and reading your content.
How to Choose the Best Featured Image for Your Financial Content
Your featured image should always be relevant and you should never use an image that is irrelevant yet eye-catching just to grab your reader’s attention. If a reader opens an article because of an interesting photo only to find content that has nothing to do with the image, they will click away quickly, which will hurt your SEO and your reputation.
It’s best to use original images whenever possible. You can certainly take your own photos. Most phones today have a quality camera, and you can easily capture a picture yourself of something associated with your article to use.
If taking your own photos is not a good option for you, you can use stock photos as well. One thing you must realize is that most stock images require a license to use, and if you use images without a license you are violating copyright laws and could be fined.
The best thing to do is to use a stock photo service For a nominal fee, you will then have the rights to a wide variety of images for social media posts and much more. Just make sure you understand the terms and restrictions of your license. There are many stock photo options that I have used and would recommend.
Stock Photo Resources for Financial Advisor Website Content:
- Getty Images
- Thinkstock Photos
Because your featured image will be what shows up when you share your content on social media, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, it can be beneficial to superimpose or overlay the title and add your logo or brand colors. Putting the title of the post itself on the image is a great strategy because it increases the clickability of the image itself. This can easily be done with a free tool like Canva.
Keep in mind, your featured image could also be a graphic or illustration rather than a photograph. You can hire a designer to create unique and original branded graphics, or for a DIY option, use a tool such as Canva or PicMonkey to create your own designs.
Tips for Optimizing Your Featured Image for Search Engines
Use the right file name
Google should be able to tell what your image is by what you name it, so it’s important not to use the default string of characters or untitled.jpg. Also, include a keyword phrase in your file name. For example, a good file name would be common-credit-score-mistakes.jpg.
Use Alt Tags
Alt tags are the words that are associated with the image. If the image cannot be displayed, the alt tag provides alternative information for the image when a user cannot view it. It also helps significantly with SEO so be sure to include at least one of your keywords in the alt tags as well. There are YouTube videos and articles out there that show you how to do this.
Use the correct resolution and size.
Lower-resolution images at 72 DPI (dots per inch) are appropriate for digital mediums such as websites and are usually the cheaper option as well.
As you can see, adding a featured image is an essential part of creating an effective financial advisor website content. The right featured image will attract your intended audience’s attention, enhance their reading experience, and boost your SEO. Always take the time to select an eye-catching image and optimize it for search engines.
Download a free copy of the Financial Advisor Content Marketing & Optimization Guide here.
Sometimes content marketing can seem like an overwhelming task to undertake on your own. This is exactly what we do for our clients! We help create and select the right content, optimize it so it is reaching the right people, and handle the scheduling to ensure it is as far-reaching as possible. Let us help you get a handle on the whole process by scheduling a discovery meeting today.