Blogging for Nonprofits: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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“Articles with Images Get 94% More Total Views” — MDG Advertising

This is part three of a five-part series on how you can build a strong cause (brand) presence through blogging. We’ll talk about getting started, blogging platforms, idea generation, and distribution channels in the series to help you get started with blogging.

Master blogger Jeff Bullas lays out six compelling reasons for why your blog must include a compelling image. A high-quality picture will emphasize your point, help your audience to engage emotionally, and make your post much more appealing when shared on social media. It also adds color and allows you to engage audiences that learn more from visuals vs. words. Check out this infographic for how images affect blogs, search and social media posts.

If you have a little bit of a budget, you can buy stock images from services likeShutterstockiStockphoto and more. There are also several sites that provide specialty royalty free stock photos. If you are a small nonprofit organization, you may not have much of a budget to spend on paid services — there are lots of ways to get high-quality images online for free.

In addition to stock photos, you can incorporate images through a few other avenues listed below:

Searching for Images

Images that fall under Creative Commons licensing are free for you to use on your blog, providing you credit the source. If you’re unsure whether you’re allowed to use an image you’ve found on the web, it’s best to ask the owner for permission. Make it clear that you run a nonprofit organization and will give due credit, and you’ll probably find people pretty amenable.

Most image-search sites, like Photopin (pictured), Compfight, and Free Images(previously stock.xchng) source from Flickr and provide a photo-credit HTML link you can paste into your post. The only issue with using free stock images as opposed to paid ones is that some results may not be of a high enough quality – you should ignore those.

You can also use Flickr directly, and create a photo-credit tag yourself. Here’s how:

Giving Credit

“Giving credit” means providing a link back to the source. By crediting an image, you make your own blog look more professional — and save yourself from potential legal trouble.

When an HTML credit tag isn’t provided, the most popular “manual” crediting format is this:

“Image by (source name) [link to: blog, Flickr account, or website of the source]”

You can also give credit in the body copy. There’s no real need for that though unless the entire blog post centers around the image.

Position-wise, it’s best to provide image credit at the end of a post. If you’re using more than one image, use the image URLs for clarity, or put the credit directly below each image instead of at the end.

For crediting multiple images, use:

“Image [link to Image URL, ending in .jpg, .png, etc.] by (source name) [link to: blog, Flickr account, or website of the source]”

Creating Images

In addition to any photo-editing software you may have on your computer, you can also use Canva (pictured) to create professional graphics for your blog. The website is free and easy to use (and sign-up takes two seconds).

Using Screenshots

You don’t need to provide credit when using a screenshot you’ve taken of a website or computer program, as the source is obvious (if it isn’t, just make sure it is!). As a nonprofit, you might not be doing this very often, but it’s good to keep in mind in case you ever do. If you’re discussing multiple websites or using multiple screenshots, it’s best to indicate which one goes with the image. Using “(pictured)” when you first mention the website’s name is enough.

Important reminder with screenshots: If you take a screenshot of an image or something that you Googled, that’s NOT a good idea and it will get you in trouble eventually. Screenshots are okay when you’re capturing conversation that happens on a public platform, but not for imagery to support your post.

Readers: where do you get images for your blog posts? How do you choose them — by relevance, or with other things (like social share thumbnails) in mind? Let us know in the comments!

Published simultaneously at LinkedIn Pulse

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