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What Is The Intent Of Your Image? Getting The Right Photo In Your Content Is Important

images in content

Before you started reading these words, I bet the image above caught your eye. Am I right?

What exactly about it got your attention?

The colors?
The lion?
The giraffe?
The action?

What FEELINGS did the picture invoke in you?

This answer is going to be different for everyone.  Did you focus on the lion or were you more drawn to the plight of the giraffe?  Think about the INTENT for each animal.  It’s completely different!   Eat or be eaten.


At the 2015 PSO conference, speaker Pamela Wilson, Vice President of Educational Content at Copyblogger and of Big Brand System, talked about the power of images.

The right (or wrong!) image can and does influence your audience.

Our brains are hardwired to processes images more quickly than the written (or spoken for that matter) word.  Not only that, they are processed by a less busy part of our brain.  There was a point in time where we had to make the split second “eat or be eaten” decision, and it was made visually.  There was no text message from the lion that said “I’m thinking about eating you at 11:45, so you may want to start running”.  We had to pick up on visual cues that would trigger our flight or fight instinct.

It’s wonderful that we don’t have to worry about being chased by a predator anymore, but we still have the hardwired instinct to rely on and MAKE DECISIONS based on visual cues.

That’s right, visitors to your web site and to your social media pages are going to make decisions based on your images.  A lot of times they may even be sub conscious decisions.  They may respond to a photo on your home page without realizing it and either be drawn in or turned away.


A lot of people have the misconception that only your logo is a representation of your brand.  Not true.

Every image that is on your site, every post you make on Facebook or Instagram – all encompass your brand.


First think about: What do you want your images to say about you and your services?


Don’t panic, each individual image does not have to encompass ALL of the above. Have a goal of 1 or 2 per image.

I’ve used the example of the below photo’s before and I’m going to keep using them because they are a perfect visual example of how the right image can convey some of the feelings I listed above.  It’s the same dog.  And by same dog, I don’t mean that they are both photo’s of Weimaraners.  It’s the exact same dog, his name is Buddah.

bad images in content

using images in your content





Which picture makes more of a statement?  Let me rephrase that, which picture makes more of a POSITIVE statement?

Would you trust the pet sitter that posted the photo on the left?  Does it instill Peace of Mind?  Would you be worried that your dog would be electrocuted?

That’s what my eye was drawn to.  That and the ears back, laser eyes – he does not look comfortable at all.

Which leads to the feeling that he is not being well taken care of EVEN IF HE IS.  

See how powerful pictures can be?  Maybe Buddah is getting the best belly rub of his life and is snuggled up in contentment and bliss; but was that your first thought when you saw the picture?  Doubtful.

A seemingly simple photo has the power to give the impression of sub-par care EVEN IF IT IS NOT TRUE.

A seemingly simple photo has the power to give the impression of sub-par care EVEN IF IT IS NOT TRUE.

Posting the same sentence twice is not a typo.  It’s such an important statement that it bears repeating!  Read it out loud.  Let it sink in.

A seemingly simple photo has the power to give the impression of sub-par care EVEN IF IT IS NOT TRUE.

A photo is not really simple at all.

The second thing to think about when choosing a photo to use, you want to think about the topic you are addressing.

Are you talking about the Hidden Dangers of Holiday Foods or The Best Holiday Gifts For Your Cat?  You are going to want a different picture for each of those posts.  Don’t use the same stock photo – find one (or use your own, clients love to see their pets in your marketing!) that elicits the FEELING you are trying to convey.

Third, read this article that Pamela wrote How To Stand Out From The Crowd With An Unforgettable Personal Brand.  In it she gives a 7 step process to establishing a plan to reach that goal.  Step #2 is “What image do you want to project?”

Before you post any photo, think about what you want your audience to feel. What do you want their INTENT to be?

The intent should be for them to pick up the phone and call you for pet sitting!

Picture at top of page was used with permission from Michael Bagley Photography.  Talk about a photo that has all of the layers!





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