how to use styled stock photos

When it comes to finding styled stock photos, I could spend hours browsing online to find ones that suit my branding. But, finding and using them isn’t just a hobby.

Styled stock photos have played a major part in the growth of my website. In fact, I attribute a lot of my website’s growth to the awesome photos that I’ve found (and the libraries I’m subscribed to!) because they help me solve one problem I have when it comes to running a website: not having enough time.

I’m a freelance writer and the majority of my time is spent doing client work. Taking photos isn’t my specialty but by downloading a collection of stock photos online, I don’t have to sacrifice a precious days’ work to take some photos.

Plus, the quality of stock photos around at the minute means that the downloadable images are much better photos than I could have ever taken with my crappy iPhone camera! It’s a win-win, right?

On my desktop, I keep a handful of images that suit my blog’s branding and use them on rotation for various things. Some of the ways I like to use styled stock photos are:

1. In blog posts

See the fancy image behind the pink overlay in the photo at the top of this blog post? It’s a stock photo – and one of my favourite ways to use them!.

Styled stock photos can be used in a variety of places in and around your blog, with the most common being as your featured image. (If you head to the homepage of my site, you can see them in full action.)

Using cohesive photos that are with a similar colour and topic are a great way to give an impression to anyone visiting your blog.

If they’re a new visitor, you can use styled stock photos to prove your authority and show them that you’re a serious blogger. Remember that many new visitors will land on your site through a blog post, so use this as your chance to hook them in!

On the other hand, you can use the stock photos to show your existing audience that the blog you’re running is serious.

Then, once they’re on your blog, you can use your wonderful words to make them into a customer – or persuade them to do your blogging goal (whether that be subscribing to your email list, leaving a comment or joining your Facebook group!).

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2. On social media

Another great way to use styled stock photos is on social media. After all, it’s often the biggest source of referral traffic for blogs, so why not try and boost a number of people that you can reach on each platform?

I like to use styled stock photos primarily for my Pinterest graphics. This is great because it helps me to brand my online presence on another platform, as well as make my Pins stand out amongst other bloggers.

I usually create three graphics for one blog post (using different stock photos for each one!) and schedule them to my boards using BoardBooster. By creating multiple graphics for the same blog post, it gives me a chance to spread out the content in my Pinterest schedule and make sure that my feed isn’t clogged up by the same photos.

However, it’s not just Pinterest that can benefit from your stock photo subscription! In fact, you could use styled stock photos to brand your social platforms by using them:

  • As your Twitter or Facebook header photo
  • In posts or statuses to take-up more space in a Timeline or News Feed
  • As content for your Instagram page (AKA a super easy way to create a theme!)
  • As your YouTube header

How to use styled stock photos

3. On your website

Whilst I mentioned earlier that using styled stock photos is a great way to boost the overall appearance of your blog, you can take this one step further by using them to brand your entire website.

Yep, I said it! You can make your entire site look super pretty – without having to take your own pictures. Genius, right?!

The place where I use styled stock photos the most on my website is my homepage. After all, it’s the front door to my site and many new visitors land on it, so it’s important for me to make it appealing enough for them to stick around.

You could also use stock photos on your service, contact and resource library pages.

4. In promotional materials

When it comes to marketing your blog or online biz site, you’ll need to use promotional materials to attract people to your site. Yes, this can come in the form of Pinterest or social media graphics, but you might need extra collateral to drive people to your online space.

I love to use styled stock photos for my off-site branding. This includes letterheads and imagery for client’s documents that I put together. Not only does it help to make me look more professional, but my docs are super easy to spot – which is perfect for helping me stand out against other freelance competitors!

I also use stock photos when creating my business cards. After keeping a few stashed away in my bag just in case I get onto a blog-related chat, I actually have had a few clients who came from them!

Don't forget to create professional business cards for your blog using styled stock photos! ✨ Click To Tweet

5. In your emails

I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with email marketing. A few months ago I had no idea how to build a list (nor the reasoning behind why they’re so important!). Now, my #1 goal with my blog is to get people to sign up to my mailing list.

When someone opens your email in their inbox, you only have a few seconds of their attention. That’s why I love to use styled stock photos in my communication attempts with those who are subscribed to my list.

People are visual people and making sure that your emails look attractive whilst still providing advice is a great way to get them to convert!

Stock photos can be used for the header of your email or help you to break up text in the body, as well as background for your template.

How to use styled stock photos

6. Landing pages

If you’re trying to sell something or get your readers to do any form of action, you’ll need to host a landing page on your website. Simply put, this a web page that will help them do the goal that you’re asking of them.

Let’s say that you’re trying to get people to sign up to your mailing list. You’ll need to give them something in return, so create a landing page to take care of this for you.

Here’s an example of the landing page that I use to help convert my readers into list subscribers. On it, there are various headings stating what they’ll get, photos to show them inside the special library and a simple way for them to get the password. And guess what? It converts like crazy.

Stock photos can be used throughout your landing pages to help the reader believe that you’re a professional company and allow them to trust you with their email address.

7. Sales pages

Sales pages are slightly different to landing pages in the sense that you’ll need to do more work to convert your audience. After all, parting with money involves a much bigger decision than parting with your email address, right?

However, the use of stock photos is pretty similar. You want customers to convert and the only way they’ll part with their hard-earned cash is to make them trust you.

Stock photos are a great way to do this as it can make a user believe that because your branding is consistent, you’re a reputable business and you take the time into helping your customers use your website.

Let’s put it this way: who are you more likely to purchase from? A website that has branding all over the place or one with a regular and consistent online presence? I know my answer – and I bet it’s the same as yours!

As you can see, the only use for stock photos isn’t just your website.

Get creative about where you can use them and don’t forget that branding is consistent – even offline!

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. View my full disclosure here.

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