30 Jan 2013

How To Create Great Images To Use In Your Guest Posts

These days it seems that almost everyone is guest posting, creative writers are leveraging the power of guest posting to attract a larger audience, and business owners who are looking to build brand awareness and improve their own websites rankings are also getting involved.

All too often I see guest posts that are well written, but are let down by the fact that the author has not taken the time to add supportive imagery. To me, the addition of supporting imagery is absolutely essential. The benefits of adding relevant pictures and diagrams to a guest post are huge.

  • Images improve the readability of the article by breaking up larger chunks of text.
  • Supporting diagrams clarify and compound your information.
  • Overall aesthetics of the post are improved.
  • More people want to publish content that looks great.
  • Improved relationship building with blog owners who care about quality.
Serrif Drawplus Screenshot

Professional Looking Images

Now before we go any further, let me explain that I am not a professional artist or graphic designer, I have no training in this field other than the fact that I have read the odd tutorial here and there online when I have been stumped on how to create a particular effect.

Personally, I find that a lot of royalty free images are pretty terrible, and although there are exceptions to this rule, I generally prefer to create my own imagery wherever possible. This way I end up with a picture tailored to the text of each guest post rather than an image that is merely relevant. It also means that the imagery in my guest post is not used on nine hundred other blogs.

Software

The software I use for creating supporting imagery for my guest posts is Serrif Drawplus SE Pro, this is now quite a dated version of Serrif Drawplus but it still has everything I need to create great quality images.

Drawplus is a vector editing suite. For those of you who don't know about vector images, essentially this means that I can create each element of a picture separately, stacking different elements to create the finished picture, much like making a sandwich. I can also apply gradients, transparency, and drop shadows very quickly and easily.

The newer version of Serrif drawplus does have more features, than the version I own, one in particular that looks like it would be very useful is the image cutout suite. This is a bit like a magic wand tool, but with the ability to add and remove portions of the image from the selected area.
Iphone Vector

Using Shape Tools To Create Great Images Quickly

The iphone to the right is a vector image I created using Drawplus, with the exception of the Globe vector which is shown on the Iphones screen, which I had already created as part of another project, and the phones wallpaper which was simply downloaded from an Iphone wallpaper website, the entire phone was drawn using shape tools that are built into the Drawplus vector editing suite.

The entire project probably took around half an hour to complete and because it is saved in vector format, I can now edit the file to create fresh and unique images for use in future guest posts.

Many of the images we use in guest posting are simple to draw using this technique, and it is possible to save considerable amounts of money buy drawing your own images instead of using sites like Istock or Getty images.

If the work you create is good enough, you could even consider making them available on these sites and generate an additional income stream.
Create Great Images

The Iphone Expanded

As you can see, the Iphone picture is really nothing more than a stack of predefined shapes, with rounded corners and pretty gradients. Even the actual navigation icons were all created using preset shape tools that come built in to Serrif. The signal meter was a little more complexed since it involved the use of a predefined envelope to give the meter its sloped incline.

Vector editing software is also great for creating things like social media icons. Since I do quite a lot of work on websites, I have found on a few occasions that there were simply no social media icons available that met the specific requirements I had. Either the available images were too small, or they just didn't quite fit with the site.

I was quite lucky because when I bought my copy of Serrif Drawplus Pro, it was on special offer since the new version was just about to be released, I therefore paid just £10. The current version is available for around £80, and whilst I am in no way associated with Serrif.

I do think that this software provides a lot of bang for your buck given that the admittedly superior but still comparable adobe illustrator costs over four times as much. If you do a lot of guest posting, its probably worth buying. Most professional writers would recover the cost of this software by writing a single post.

Nick Davison

About the Guest Author:

This guest post was written by Nick Davison of High Impact SEO. To read more of Nick's work circle him on Google+.

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