Note – this was written for my old blog, so the graphics you see here don’t match this new website (in case you’re confused) – don’t worry, the tutorial still applies to YOUR business 🙂
Create a template for your blog post images.
This is a super smart thing for you to do – it will save you tons of time whenever you write up a new blog post and it will keep your brand feeling cohesive, consistent and intentional.
I did this for myself last year, which you can see here:
All of my blog post graphics are consistent. That doesn’t mean they are all the same. There is plenty of variety to them, but they are all clearly from the same brand. Cool, right?
So, how would I suggest you go about creating your own blog post image template?
1. You first need to decide which graphics program you’re going to use.
I like to use Illustrator, but you could do this in photoshop, inDesign, or you could do it in Canva or any number of free graphics programs out there.
You just need something that will let you create, save and then go back in to edit. That last one is important – you don’t want to have to recreate it every time you write a blog post – you want to be able to go in to your saved file and quickly swap out your images, colors and change the words without it taking a ton of time or effort.
2. Decide on the format
Do you want your image graphics to be square, a long rectangle, a short rectangle, etc?
Things to think about when picking a format are: the actual layout of your blog, where people are most likely to share images (longer rectangles work best on pinterest, shorter ones on Facebook, etc). You won’t be able to come up with a one size fits all graphic so you have to consider meeting the needs for your best case scenario and future marketing plans.
My friend Terra came up with a genius plan – she’s using a square format (perfect for Instagram, but works well on Facebook too) with a circle laid over an image. This lets her swap out the image, change up the colors and update the text.
Plenty of variety, but TOTALLY a consistent brand! And, also VERY SIMPLE. You absolutely don’t need to overcomplicate or over think this.
This format also looks awesome on Pinterest, so maybe there IS a one size fits all solution and she totally nailed it. 🙂
3. What type of graphic do you want to create?
For example: a photograph with or without text, all text, some textures or other graphical elements. There are TONS of different ways you can go about this.
What I’d recommend it that you create a secret board on pinterest and then search up topics in your niche – like vegan recipes, or craft ideas, or wedding photography, etc. See what types of images pop out at you and catch your eye and plunk them into that secret folder.
Then, go check them out once you have quite a few in there. Again, which ones really catch your attention and what do you like about them?
When getting ideas, be sure to ask yourself – is the thing that’s making that image effective going to be consistent with what YOU’RE wanting to do with YOUR brand? Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you!
If you look at the image above of my blog post graphics – you can see that I use an image with a color box overlay with text inside. I also have a color bar across the top and a small, thin one on the bottom. These are decisions I came to after doing some research first – looking at other people’s graphics.
But then, if you look at the blog post graphics I’m using for the #30daybrandchallenge blog – I’m just using text without an image – just my textured colored background.
The thing that’s important to note here is that EITHER of these totally work for MY business and MY brand – one is not inherently better than the other, they are just different and they serve different purposes because of the way they are being used on each website.
But, they are both very clearly MY brand – the colors, fonts, and in the top example, the imagery that I have put together to tell my brand story. What has these graphics be effective is how they work as a whole.
As a body of content, they reinforce my brand vibe, my message and the creative, playful world that I’m out to create with my brand.
Being consistent with the graphics – using the same format in the same space, over and over again is what really works and WHY I recommend you do this for your own blog.
4. Figure out where your images are going to come from.
Are you going to take them yourself, hire someone, use stock images? Again, be consistent.
For my blog, I use a combination of the branding photos of me (but not used ALL the time, just enough to associate my brand with ME), then I use photographs that I’ve taken that are fun and convey the mood of my brand, and I will occasionally use a well chosen stock photo.
So, you don’t have to have just one source, but you do want to be clear about your image strategy so that whatever direction you go, you make sure to keep telling that consistent brand story.
5. The next step is to work out a layout.
This may take some trial and error – but create SOMETHING to get yourself started. Be sure to keep in mind your blog layout and the needs of YOUR online space, as well as what will share nicely on social media platforms.
Again, you may need to experiment a little until you figure this out. But to show you what I mean by this, let’s keep looking at my blog as an example.
Because of the way my main blog page is layed out, with the WP theme I’m using, I needed to make sure that where the image gets cropped – it leaves the words perfectly centered so people can read them when they visit my blog.
This took TONS of trial and error, but once I worked it out, now I have a template – I just keep that box exactly that size and alter my text so that it fits neatly inside and communicates my message.
But, this format also happens to work really well on FB – it crops it so the words can be read easily when shared on Facebook AND the taller rectangle works for pinterest.
When I want to share a post over on instagram, I created a similar template, but that is perfectly square. I will still use the same words and whatever image I picked, it’s just formatted to work better inside of a square.
6. Lastly, make sure that you’re using your brand’s visual elements and ONLY your brand’s visual elements.
Keep it tight and lean! And trust me, the temptation to add in some other font can be strong. There are SO many pretty one’s out there! I feel your pain.
But, sticking to the plan will make your brand happy. And it’s what will have people come to recognize you and know it’s you before you even announce yourself – that’s powerful stuff. Brand recognition goes a long way to building up trust and credibility!
I know that this could take a little time to get just right, it may not happen here in just one day. But, get started – it WILL save you time later on. And it will keep things nice and neat, on brand, and consistent, without you having to think about it too much – every time you create a new blog post.
Today’s brand challenge prompt:
Create a blog post image graphic that you can keep as a template and use every time you create a new post. And of course – HAVE FUN WITH IT! 🙂 If you’d like feedback about what you’re creating – send it my way! I’d be happy to let you know what’s working and what could be improved.