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When Using Images in Your Professional Writing Copy

I just learned something new the other day.

Apparently, text-only e-letter or email presentations can actually work better than those including images, depending on the industry.

It’s not particularly a line of reasoning I relate to. In fact, I have to admit I don’t like it at all.

But it isn’t about what I like. It’s about what target audiences best react and relate to. So I’ll be covering that topic in the next few weeks.

Then again, image-laden e-letter or email presentations can actually work better than those including only text, depending on the industry. As this easielly article noted:

There’s no two ways about it – thoughtful content and beautiful visuals can help make your story, message or content into an engaging piece that gets the attention of your audience.
While thoughtful, text-only content has its pros in communicating with impact, there’s been a significant shift in recent years [favoring] a combination of text and visuals – eye-catching infographics, beautifully crafted animations, clever GIFs and stunning Powerpoint presentations.

Since that makes a lot of sense too, I’ll be covering it in the next few weeks as well. But for now, let’s simply discuss how to use images to maximum effect in your professional writing copy.

Rest assured that it takes a lot more effort than simply copying and pasting.

Whether you’re using images in e-letters, emails, social media posts or any other professional presentations, you want to make sure they’re:

  • Legally acquired

  • Appropriate.

There’s several more considerations than that, but let’s just start out with those two for now.

Legally acquired: The chances of a small-time entrepreneur or even business getting into trouble for image copyright infringement might not be astronomically high. But they’re still not something you want to mess around with.

If the image owner isn’t feeling charitable, you could face a fine and even prison time for your seemingly simple misdeed.

Appropriate: I’m not trying to push puritanical ideals on anyone with this piece of advice. By “appropriate,” I mean fitting. As in the image or images in question make sense with the words they accompany.

You want to give your intended audience every reason to dive into your copy – not stop reading to wonder, “Why is that there?”

Here are three more professional writing image-related concerns. You want any pictures you use to be:

  • Clear

  • Properly placed

  • Not overdone.

Clear: Unless you’re writing about badly used images or you’re trying to give readers a visual of a dreamy scene… use pictures that are sharp and focused. And don’t enlarge them so much to fit your desired margins that they become unsharp and unfocused.

Otherwise, it will simply make your published product look amateurish.

Properly placed: Maybe the image you’re using looks best aligned right within your text. Maybe it looks best aligned left. Or maybe it should take up a more solid set of space all by itself, whether horizontally or vertically.

It depends on the copy, the image, and your intended audience – all factors you should consider in your final decision.

Not overdone: Don’t overwhelm your text with too many images. Keep the visuals you offer to a minimum so that they add to the copy instead of detracting from it.

It’s like putting spice in a recipe. The point is to enhance certain flavors, not overwhelm the dish.

When you apply all these tips, you have a much better chance of accomplishing a polished, professional finished result.



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