Running ads is only half the battle. The other half is building and retaining an audience, so you actually have folks who will see the ads. While writing the text of a blog post is clearly important, finding ways to add images and video when appropriate will stimulate your readers’ minds, giving them something more than text to dig through, and a reason to come back.
Have a look at The Pixar Theory, a hugely popular breakout post from blogger Jon Negroni. It’s a very fascinating post which describes a unifying theory between all Pixar films. Does the post need images to get its point across? Of course not. But, take a moment to close your eyes and image that post with no images. Imagine the huge and intimidating mountain of text growing ever higher, it’s insurmountable, there’s no way you’ll get through it even in a day, it just keeps growing and growing, little black letters, there’s no end in sight!
Now, breathe a sigh of relief and look again. There are images, tons of colorful images from the films being discussed. They break up the text, add color, and help to illustrate points that text alone struggles to. Now, it doesn’t seem so insurmountable. In fact, it won’t take you long to read the post, and I highly recommend that you do.
This is what adding media does to a post. It breaks up the text, improves the flow, and makes a long post seem much shorter and more enjoyable to read.
If you don’t have images to add to your post, there are plenty of ways to find and properly attribute royalty free images. If you have a blog on WordPress.com, you can already do this by just using Zemanta. If you don’t have a WordPress.com blog, just grab the Zemanta extension for the same functionality.
Videos are even easier to add. If you know of a video that will help to get your point across, embed it using the video provider’s embed code, or follow one of these guides if you’re on WordPress.com. Don’t overdo it though. Abstract images can be added just for the sake of color and variety, but abstract videos are a bit more wasteful than helpful.
The next time you write a post, try to spice it up with a few images or videos. Your readers will thank you!
Update: As of January 2, 2014, Zemanta is no longer available as a built-in feature on WordPress.com. Please feel free to visit Finding Free Images and other Media for some handy tips.