On April 15th, I co-presented with my library colleagues for a workshop called “Blogging Basics.” My portion focused on media and it began with the question “why add media?” Next, I discussed locating, selecting, editing, uploading and the placement of images, videos and audios in your blog post. If you did not get to attend our presentation, let me give you a run down on part of what you missed. We will also post our slides to Slideshare for your viewing pleasure.
1. Why Add Media?
Consider the reader’s attention. Visual media grabs the reader immediately. A quick look at an image can easily give an idea of the blog post topic.
Consider the reader’s time. Often they will scan the blog post before settling in to read it. Images strengthen your blog post’s engagement with the reader by breaking up the text making it easier to consume.
Consider the reader’s desire for depth. Embedding the right videos, audios and images will give your post richness, adding to it’s sustainability in the reader’s mind.
2. Locating Media
Once you know what to look for, try these out sites making sure to set limits to creative commons licensing. When you download, make sure to copy the credit information to attach to your image. For more information, read their FAQs.
- Flickr Advanced Search
- Jamendo – Royalty free music
- Free Music Archive
- YouTube – try a search and then filter by Creative Commons (more information)
—-UPDATED: the original file was removed—- Please access the recording on the Library of Congress site which was a recording by Ed Morton called “Don’t take me home” from 1908.
Of course, you can always create and add your own media!
3. Selecting Media
When selecting the media you must address this important question: how does it relate to my blog post?
First, beware of eye candy! Sure, there are a lot of pretty pictures on the internet but they may not have anything to do with your post. You really need to tie the media back to the post. Don’t leave your reader feeling like they have missed the connection between your image and the post.
Secondly, tap into the emotion of your post. If you are writing a post that evokes sentiment, think about how you want your users to feel. Is your post nostalgic? Does it call back the younger days of childhood? Consider using an image of the kids on a playground.
Does your media add value? Does it inform people or illustrate a point? Does it give more to the user than you can add without using text?
Is your media focused and relevant? Does the image connect with your headings and subheadings?
Once you have figured out content, you must select based on size, quality, and resolution. Downloading and then subsequent uploading to your blog site may be limited. For example, WordPress makes it so easy to add videos to their posts by embedding the link that you really shouldn’t worry about downloading and uploading.
4. Editing Media
After you have selected the media, you may want to edit your media. Depending on the blogging website you use to upload the media, you may discover size restrictions. Using free, online tools, you can easy scale down your image if it is too big. Make sure to watch your resolution on these images so that they do not edit up pixelated (fuzzy). Also, scale your images proportionately! An image that looks skewed is distracting and add an amateur flavor to your post.
Some basic editing such as cropping, rotating, flipping or scaling can easily be accomplished by using free image editing tools such as Pixlr, Picasa or, my personal favorite, PicMonkey (and many others that don’t start with the letter P). For more tips on editing, read Jake’s post: Pics or it didn’t happen.
For creating and editing videos, try one of these three free downloads to get started: iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, and Lightworks. Each website link also offers instruction or tutorials on how to use their product. The level of ease, like with anything, directly correlate to how detailed you want the video to be. As with anything, have your work reviewed by a peer.
5. Uploading and Placement of Media
Uploading and linking your media is very simple but several things could be overlooked. Always upload media and add a title, caption, alt text or description. When linking, consider linking directly to the uploaded image. For videos, consider uploading to an outside hosting service such as YouTube. The linking URL is easily embedded into WordPress (learn more). Also, adding audio is quickly accomplished by posting the URL to embed (learn more).
Lastly, consider the placement of your media. Top load featured images/videos in your blog post. In other words, place your featured image at the beginning of the blog post to help draw the reader in using something that encompasses the blog post. For images, set the borders to zero, add some space in the margins, set the images to left, center and right alignment. The advantages of using left or right alignment are that the words get wrapped around the image which visually ties them together. For center aligned images, choose an image that fills the space between the paragraphs. In the end, save and preview your post and try to view it on different devices. Remember, your media should enhance the message of your blog post!
What tips do you have for adding media to blog posts? Leave a comment!