You’ve likely heard of or even know a broadcaster burned by the image copyright police. Someone on their team copied an image from a Google search and used it in a news post a few years ago, and that image ended up costing the radio station thousands of dollars in royalty fees. Some broadcasters have heard these stories and decided to remove images from their website altogether. Or, perhaps their team doesn’t have the time or resources to include them. Not including images on your radio station website could be a disastrous mistake.
Why Images Are Crucial
We live in a time where information is abundant, and attention spans are short, so leveraging visual content is vital to capture your audience’s attention. This is important for all forms of content, including blog posts, news stories, events, and everything else you can think of to include on your station website. Simply put, images are not just decorative elements but indispensable components that add value, engagement, and context. Here are some reasons why images are crucial to everything you create online.
Images Instantly Capture Attention
The first few seconds are crucial when someone lands on your website or the article you’ve shared on-air or on social media. An eye-catching image can instantly draw attention and encourage visitors to scroll further and engage with your content. It acts as a visual hook, like an intriguing headline inviting readers into the narrative.
For example, imagine you’re writing a news story about a wildfire. A compelling image of firefighters battling the blaze or the aftermath’s devastation will capture attention far more effectively than just text.
Images Reinforce Your Message
A picture is worth a thousand words. Right? Sometimes, conveying an idea or a sentiment through an image is easier than a paragraph. An image can strongly reinforce the message you’re trying to tell, providing a quick and straightforward context to your audience.
If you’re writing a blog post about the importance of healthy eating, including pictures of colorful fruits and vegetables can amplify your message. It gives the reader an immediate sense of what the article is about before they dive into the text.
Images Improve Retention and Understanding
Adding relevant images can help your audience retain the information better. It aids in creating a vivid mental picture and can even simplify complex topics.
This doesn’t only apply to the main featured images but to images within the content as well. According to the experts, I don’t use enough images in my blog posts. I try to include a compelling featured image that draws people in, but longer blog articles such as these that accompany each podcast episode should ideally have two or three images within the content to break up the wording. If your news posts are more than a hundred words, please consider doing this as the experts recommend. I’ve added more images to this post, to make a point.
Images Enhance User Engagement
According to HubSpot, articles with images get 94% more views than those without. This can also lead to other forms of engagement—more shares on social media, more comments, and higher dwell time—which are all key metrics that can improve your overall SEO.
A news story about an upcoming election can be further enriched with infographics showing candidate statistics, previous voting trends, or even simple headshots of the candidates, making it more shareable across social platforms.
Images can invoke emotions more efficiently than words. They can inspire, provoke thought, make people laugh or cry, and even spur them into action. This emotional resonance can make your content more memorable and impactful.
In a blog post about a charitable event, we included images of the faces of the people the charity was designed to help. The donations increased significantly because the pictures humanized the cause and touched the audience emotionally.
Or, imagine the radio station is involved in a pet adoption event at the local shelter this weekend and the event doesn’t include an image of the wonderful pets that could be adopted.
Where to Source Images for Your Website
Hopefully, you’re at the point of, “Alright, images are important.” But you might wonder, “Where can we find the right image for our content without paying out the nose for them?” Great question! Here are some sources you can tap into:
Stock Photo Websites
Websites like Shutterstock, Unsplash, Envato Elements, and Pexels offer high-quality images. While some come with a licensing fee, plenty of free options exist. Just make sure to follow the usage guidelines. Remember always to credit the source in the image caption, even if it isn’t required, so that everyone will know where the image came from, even years later.
One of our recommendations with each new website project is that someone on the radio station team go around the town or community taking photos to use on the website. Recommendations include police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, town buildings, schools, and other local landmarks. If a story breaks, you’ll have the image in your database to pull from.
If you or someone on your team has graphic design skills, create custom images and infographics for a unique touch to your content. Tools like Canva and Adobe Photoshop can be very useful for this.
New AI-driven image creation tools are popping up now. Tools like Midjourney, Dall-E, and Adobe Firefly are some options to get you started. I can personally recommend Midjourney. I have used it for several last blog posts and podcast episodes. ALL images within this post are AI-generated from Midjourney. Photoshop now includes Adobe Firefly, so you generate custom images directly within the interface.
Creative Commons Search
Websites like Wikimedia Commons and Flickr offer many images under various Creative Commons licenses. Again, make sure you adhere to the licensing requirements.
Hire a Photographer
Consider hiring a professional photographer for unique, specific, and high-quality images. Back when I was at Clear Channel, a local photographer covered every concert event that came to town and shared the photos with us simply for the name exposure we provided with each image. The next time the station has an event, look for photographers covering the event and ask if they’d be interested in a trade deal.
Start exploring some of these avenues for sourcing images and take your content to the next level. And remember to always give credit to where you procured the images. This is vitally important.
Please take a moment and imagine looking through your social media feed and there being no images. This is what your website looks like without images. Images are not merely aesthetic complements to your content; they are powerful tools that can enhance your content’s impact, reach, and effectiveness. So, the next time you’re about to publish an article, event, or whatever, please remember that a well-chosen image can make a world of difference.