We’re halfway through Take Your Content To The Next Level Week now and I really hope it’s been a great jumping off point so far to help you explore some new ways you can create exciting content that stands out in the crowd. Today we’re going to focus on the importance of creating a strong visual style for your blog posts and three steps you can take to help you develop the perfect aesthetic for you.
The visual side of content creation doesn’t come naturally to me. It isn’t my strong point nor the area I’m most passionate about, yet I can’t deny how much a visual place the online world can be and how important it has been that I develop a consistent visual style for Jennypurr.
Four reasons why taking the time to create a visual style for your blog posts is important are:
Visuals make the first impression: We only have a few seconds once someone first lands on our blog to make a good first impression. Visuals are consumed before words and they’re the gateway to our content, so putting our best foot forward can make all the difference.
Visuals are part of the reader experience: Good visuals can take a post from dull and boring to engaging and easy to navigate and read. The internet is a very visually motivated place and a strong visual aesthetic can play a huge part in developing an awesome reader experience for your blog.
They’re a huge part of your brand: Visuals tell part of your brands story. They show how serious you are, your aesthetic and taste, and they’re how people will come to recognise you and your work.
Pinterest: Pinterest is a huge platform for reaching new readers, driving traffic back to your blog, and ultimately growing brand awareness and engagement. Without a good visual aesthetic, you’ll struggle to attract pins and social shares.
A strong visual style for your content can come in many shapes and forms. Maybe photography is your thing, or maybe you're much more comfortable behind a computer screen working on Photoshop than you are behind a camera. All that really matters is that you create an engaging, eye-catching, and unique visual style for you and your blog.
Some awesome examples from around the web are:
Rebecca over at From Roses has a beautiful photography style that I always know straight away is hers, even when I see her work shared on other platforms such as Pinterest and Tumblr.
The Fresh Exchange also have a beautiful photography style that they layer often with their very own typography. I can spot their visual style a mile off and they've really built such a strong visual aesthetic for their blog.
Lauren from over at Elle & Company creates the perfect graphics for her blog. They're always eye-catching, unmistakably hers, and super consistent from post to post.
Sarah over at XO Sarah also has really awesome graphics for her content that are super consistent alongside her brand.
1. Know your strengths: This is a process you're going to have to repeat week in week out, and you want your visuals to be as strong as they can so it's super important to be honest with yourself at this stage about where your strengths are. The visuals you create will also depend on the time you have available and the purpose of your blog. For example, if your online space is very visually motivated and it's a place to share you abilities and passion then giving a lot of time and focus to developing visuals for each post is probably something you're happy to do.
On the other hand, if you're limited on time and your visuals are just there to work alongside your content then finding a streamlined process is probably your best bet. The good thing is that even if you're not overly confident in your abilities yet, the internet is a wonderful place to open yourself up to new skills. Whether by just googling and exploring free resources, or investing in courses or workshops, if your visuals are an area you want to improve than there's enough opportunities out there to soak up as much knowledge as you can.
Task: Decide whether still life photography, or graphics, or a mix of the two is where you want your focus to be and see if there are any areas you want to explore more and any skills you want to expand on.
2. Develop your own style: Now it's the important part - developing your own style. Your unique style and approach to your visuals will be what helps your blog to stand out amongst the crowd and how your audience will recognise your content at a glance. The key here is to develop something that is unique to you. Anything too similar to anyone else, especially within your niche, will limit your blog from developing a brand all of its own so experimenting with what works for you and a style that stands out is key.
Taking the time to build initial mood boards, play around with colours, fonts, and styles can make all the difference and can help you to experiment until you find a good fit for you. Some awesome things to pull together are:
- Specific colours for your website. I think anything more than 3 shades can look a little too much, but it's down to you and what you think works best for your brand. I'm also not an expert when it comes to visual branding and photography (very far from it) so I'd definitely recommend doing some research online.
- If you're including graphics, specific fonts are a great way to keep things consistent from post to post. I have two that I work with but it all depends on what you want for your visuals.
- A photography style. I love blogs where the visuals all work together perfectly alongside each other, and although experimenting is fun sometimes having a very consistent style works wonders at staying on-brand. Rebecca shared nt awesome post on Simple Ways To Improve Your Blog Images that is a must read. Lauren also has some awesome advice on Why and How To Brand Photos For Your Blog & Business.
3. Stay consistent: Consistency is what helps to establish your visual style and it also makes your own process much easier when working on visuals for each piece. For example, I keep things super simple over here and always use scenic photos with box and text overlays with the two specific fonts I always use. You may like to be much more adventurous than me (actually, if you have the time and the interest I'd really recommend pushing your visuals as much as possible), but having your own style and keeping your visuals consistent is a great way to really help your content stand out.
Something to note: Don't rush the process. If you look back over the past six months of my content you'll see that my visual approach has adapted and evolved each month until eventually I found myself where I am now with a process I'm really happy with. Let your style develop over time, don't be afraid to keep evolving as you go, and whatever you do don't put too much pressure on yourself. You don't have to be sharing the best photos and graphics around, all that really matters is that you're creating something that suits your brand, your purpose, and your website.
I'd love to know your experience so far of developing a visual style for your content? Is it something you struggle with or does it come naturally to you?
TO CELEBRATE TAKE YOUR CONTENT TO THE NEXT LEVEL WEEK I HAVE A SPECIAL DISCOUNT ON MY CONTENT COACHING PACKAGE FOR BLOGGERS & CREATIVES. YOU CAN BOOK NOW AT JUST £63 BEFORE THE DISCOUNT ENDS THIS WEEKEND.
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