Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Should every blog post have a photo and how to get better ones

Disclaimers: The information provided is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Links in articles maybe affiliate links.

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“A photo is worth a thousand words.” The person who said that first certainly hadn’t heard of irrelevant stock art photography that people now use abundantly on their blogs and websites.

Those people in that meeting look oh so happy. Stock art! 

Yes, every blog post needs an image and blog posts with images on here usually outperform those without. But the image has to be relevant. And for true success, I would recommend original and authentic.

That doesn’t mean the photo can’t be of a high production value. It can and if you have access to a professional photographer, please proceed and hold onto them.

Related reading: 

The reason why images should link to something other than themselves

Podcast: Authentic photos add value to blog posts 

But organizations publishing photos with actual stories about great customer service accompanied by a smiling stock art photo customer is just wrong. Ask to use the photo of the real customer. They already let you use their story.

Here are the ways I get photos with most of my blog posts:

  • While I spot the story in the wild (aka my life), I immediately think about the photo opportunities. Is there something I can take a photo of? If yes, I’ll quickly take it and upload it to my blog’s image library.
  • If you ghostwrite blogs for others, remind them to be thinking of photos.
  • Some stories have no good photo opportunities, but there’s a spot on the home page that holds each story’s photo. Sometimes I just publish an image with a relevant quote. Better than stock art of unrelated people, I think.
  • Some of my most read articles are how-tos of social media tools. Photos for those are easy. Publish the screen shot that shows what you are talking about.

There are ways to use stock art (when people aren’t involved) as a design base. A generic stock art image of a building, for example. But then on the other hand, why not step outside and take a picture of a building and then Photoshop that, which is what was going to happen anyway. In general, in cases like this, stock art is fine. But strive for photos that help tell the story and are original.

Photos also come into the discussion when designing our blogs. When the design is photo heavy, remember that you are committing to getting photos for those slots.

My blog template has a photo slot for posts on the home page. I used to ignore it and that was okay, but then started having images for some. That looked strange, and now I’m committed to adding some kind of visual element to each post. With around 700 posts on here, I’ve never bought stock art and somehow have grown readership to around 80,000 a month.

We can live without stock art and get more unique photos. We spend all this time catching and producing our stories and then we spend $5 for a stock image. Doesn’t add up to me.

Here’s to all of us taking unique and authentic photos moving forward. It’ll help our stories.


Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph 319-389-9853

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