Pictures and Images in Blog Posts

Good morning from Seattle. We’re on our 18th day of talking about legal blogging, and we’re doing it in the format of a legal blogging book that’s 45 chapters long.

We’re doing this on Facebook Live, so we get some context and, actually, text, that we can use in  putting together a book to outline effective blocking. There’s good information out there, but I think there’s probably more information out there that is misguided than helpful

for lawyers. So hopefully we can get some of the better information together, based on 16 years of guiding lawyers on blogging.

Today we’re talking about pictures and images in blog posts. When blogging started there were very few if any images. Blog post may have had people sharing pictures and then providing some context as to what the pictures were about as they were logging their activity on the web, which provided us the name web log and abbreviated blog.

Today, pictures are everywhere. If you go to a publication or an online magazine, it’s all about pictures. Pictures add some pop, they add some context they add some pleasure, they add some emotion. And I think they have come to be expected, at this point in time.

What we are talking about is the location of the pictures in your blog post as two separate things: the body versus the featured.

The body of the post is obviously where your text is, where you’re writing your post and putting in an image. That’s a good place to put your image from the standpoint that it breaks

up the monotony of. reading all this text.

One of the first books that came out on the Internet back in ‘96, would emphasize the concept of making things scannable. Can I open it up and skim through it? Can you break things up into very short paragraph bullets? Can you break up this body of text? Image can do that. So the image can just sit in there someplace and break it up. Maybe the image has text wrapping around it; that type of thing to just break up the text and it can look very, very nice.

If you’re doing a featured image, it’s embedded at the top. Your publishing environment has something marked “Featured Image”, and then you drop the image into that featured image area, and then that image will actually sit in a separate cell from the body with a text, up on top of the text. So that that works out pretty nice.

Your image source can be anything. I think a lot of people today use unsplash.com. Go there, do a search for what you’re thinking about; you’re probably going to find things. Other people use stock image libraries. The problem with using stock image libraries is that you’re gonna run into a lot of stuff that people use over and over again. I remember years ago, LexisNexis figured out images for you lawyers.com site; there was a perfect one for everyone, and it was going to be so great and unique. And all of a sudden the image on the front of the site is

all over the Internet on other sites. So you’ve got to be careful about what you’re grabbing. Stock pictures can get monotonous and feel almost like marketing.

If we’re talking about the virus, is it just another person in a mask or another doctor? Those type of things can get pretty monotonous to people

You can take images. You can go out with your iPhone and take your own images. Now there’s an issue of who you include in those images, but you can take images of things. You can get them from various places by just going to Google search and picking out images. You might be violating people’s copyrights and find out later that somebody will make a claim on that. In general, though, there’s plenty of places to get images, and you could always just do a search: “where can I get images for my blog?” You’ll probably find an endless supply of things.

Let’s talk about the value of featured images. A featured image is going to show up in social sharing. So when you go to share your post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., it’s going to come up there. And that’s really important, because that’s what draws people’s attention when they go through these things. When  I’m sharing a post on a site like Twitter, and I use an application Buffer then the featured image that I’m using is going to be displayed at the back end of Buffer. If I check a box, it’ll go up there with the text of a particular tweet. That image is going to have a nice pop on Facebook; you’re going to have maybe two paragraphs short of text and the picture. You’re gonna have the pop of image and the title of your post. It’s a similar type of thing with LinkedIn. You get good value with that with that with that featured

image. Your image in the body of the post might show up but not necessarily looking as clean and as nice as when you’re using a featured image. It is gonna be eye catching when you do that.

Think about the image for a few seconds to me. Sometimes, I’ve been guilty of taking 25 minutes to write the blog post and spending the next 25 minutes finding the perfect image.

It is what it is.

I’ve also just picked images that provide a sense of comfort and professionalism at times. So, I may have used rowboats on the lake, or mountains or prairies or barns or winter scenes. That type of thing can look very nice; it doesn’t have to match up with some particular legal issue that I’m writing about; it’s just complementing the article or revealing emotions I want to exhibit. Lawyers don’t do a lot of that, but it can be done.

Think about how the body of the post breaks up the text and how you need to have context to do that.

So, you’re breaking up the text. Figure out where that’s going to be, and then be thinking about adding context with the timage. So, is this related to the context itself? That way, what you’re writing about is what’s depicted in the post. Again, I do use more crazy things just to try to be different. After blogging for 16 or 17 years, but I don’t think you need to do that, that sort of thing. What you need to be focused on is getting a picture that is in context with the body of what you’re writing about.

You need to know about the use of images when you’re starting to use them. Don’t,

just go in and say okay there’s the image put it in, and now, suddenly, it looks awful. You’re a professional. It only takes a little bit of time to find out how to right size the image, whether it should be vertically or horizontally placed on the page. Those types of things go for a featured image too. It’s going to have a certain height and a certain width. There’s an easy application

application where you can open a photo, drop it in, and resize it. Save as a photo. And now, that photo is ready to be featured. It’s an easy, easy thing to do. But you need to know

that it exists. If you need help doing it, and you’re part of the LexBlog community, just give us a call or drop us an email or open up your chat window, and we’ll show you how to do that. That’s pretty much it on images.

The last thing I want to mention today is the Blog4Good campaign which is continuing to grow. I saw a report from late yesterday that said 20 to 26 new blog publications on the LexBlog network. They continue to feed into this network of ongoing content that’s relevant to the trying times that we’re having today. This includes issues related to the pandemic virus to social justice and Black Lives Matter.

It’s really amazing to watch how many people continue to blog. There’s just been this discussion that blogs are out of vogue or that lawyers aren’t blogging as much or that all the topics are covered. It is so far from being true. So many lawyers are continuing to blog; so many lawyers are adding new blogs and some of the blogs have joined the LexBlog network. I’ve included blogs that recently came out of the New York City Bar Association. They’re where they’re receiving the new 20 by LexBlog which basically represents everything that we’ve been doing for 16 years as far as blogging provides you a good professional blog solution. So we’re going to keep hammering away Blog4Good. I don’t think that campaign’s  going to go away for a long, long, long time. I think we’re gonna be talking about it

next year.

But if you’re interested in participating in Blog4Good, get your blog inside LexBlog so that it’s syndicated across the net. It doesn’t cost anything. If you’re part of a bar association that is participating in Blog4Good and you’re not blogging, you’ve got a free blog. It’s very easy to participate. If you ever wanted to know anything about it, just drop me a personal note. Hope you guys have a great weekend. We’ll see you on Monday. Take care.