Pairing copy and images (3 simple methods)

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drmichaela michaela bucchianeri health and wellness copy coach Pairing copy and images (3 simple methods)

Looking for tips on how to choose images for your website and find copyright-free images to use on social media? In this blog, I'm sharing 3 simple approaches to pairing words and pictures on your website, social channels, and wherever else you market your private practice or business. PLUS: I'm sharing a demo and review of my favorite source for styled stock photography, Social Squares!


Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. VIDEO: Pairing copy and images (3 simple methods)
  3. Approach #1: No connection at all
  4. Approach #2: Symbolic connection
  5. Approach #3: Literal connection
  6. Recommended resources
  7. Let's take action
  8. Share this post



So, you've got your copy written, and you've got access to images, but how do you go about pairing the two? Fear not friend, I've got you covered with three different approaches you can take to pair your copy with your images.  This blog is part of a series designed to help you navigate the often-tricky world of pairing words and images. I'm featuring it as part of this series, my go-to resource for all things images, Social Squares. I'm offering a free gift if you try Social Squares using my link, but I'll share more about that later. 

Read on for the approaches that will help you connect your images with your content:

Please note: You can support my blog by using the affiliate links below! If you go on to make a purchase, I'll receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you! 


VIDEO: Pairing copy and images (3 simple methods)


Approach #1: No connection at all

One approach you can take when you're pairing words and visuals is to go with no obvious connection at all. This is just what it sounds like, there's not an obvious link between the content of what you're sharing and the visuals that you're pairing it with. For example, you might have a beautiful interior shot of a home paired with copy talking about a theme you noticed emerging in your work that week. Or it could be a close macro shot of food or beverage to accompany a caption about a pivotal moment in your life that has nothing to do with that food or beverage. 

When would you want to take this particular tack? I like using the no connection at all approach when you want to reinforce the vibe or identity of your brand, when you want to evoke more of a feeling than a concept or a thought, or when you want to create more of an elevated experience.

We see this in a lot of creative industries. You think of fragrance commercials or fashion advertising, or even movie trailers. There's imagery spliced in with the storytelling that doesn't really connect in any clear way to the content of what's being shared. We still come away with an emotional experience. We have a real response to it, and there's a definite vibe in each of those cases. 

In my copy coaching business, for example, I know that my audience is comprised mostly of health and wellness professionals. They are pulled in a zillion different directions and feel a little or a lot of shame about what they don't yet know in marketing their businesses. They often feel like they're in a race against the clock to figure it all out. So, I very deliberately will adopt the no connection at all approach to pairing words and images by choosing visuals that reinforce a serene, slow, disarming, and inviting sort of vibe. 


Approach #2: Symbolic connection

Next up we have the loose or symbolic connection approach to pairing words and images. This is where the images you choose are not literally matching the content of what you've written, but it's not random either. One example I've heard my friends at Social Squares share before is an image of a zebra to symbolize the process of earning your stripes or the power of standing out in a crowd. You see, it's not a literal portrayal of the content that you're sharing, but it is very clearly symbolic of that. It's a metaphor.

Other examples of this could include a window symbolizing new opportunities or an image of falling leaves to symbolize evolution or letting go. This approach will take a little thought on your part, but in my experience, healers and helpers are incredibly gifted at symbolic pairing. So much so in fact, that as a whole we tend to lean sometimes a little too hard into symbolic pairings without exploring the other types of approaches to pairing images and words. I talked about that a little bit in a previous blog about common mistakes that I see. So be sure to check that one out if you haven't already.

I love this approach. It could be a wonderful way to convey an idea while expressing some of your creativity. You can really lean into your storytelling skills by using symbolic connections. It's also a great way to invite your audience into using a little bit more of their imagination as they interact with your content or all of the above.

To help get your ideas flowing, I recommend setting a timer and just brain-dumping every possible metaphor or symbol that you can think of. Oftentimes, you'll find that there's a lot that you use over and over again in your work with clients and patients, so add them to the doc. I recommend just keeping a running list. I think you'll be surprised by how many you already have bopping around in your beautiful brain.


Approach #3: Literal connection

Last but not least, the final approach I want to share with you is the tight or literal connection between words and images. This is where the image conveys such a clear idea that you really don't even need the copy to explain it. The copy serves more as the fleshing out of the idea that is instantly communicated with that image. This could be an image of a laptop or a cell phone paired with an announcement of a new event that you're rolling out online. Maybe a shot of nursery items on a page announcing your new workshop for parents in the fourth trimester.

This approach can be especially useful when you're announcing or promoting something where you really don't want the meaning to be lost or when you're describing a new idea or concept that can be kind of difficult to understand or complex.

We talk about this a lot around here, the importance of pulling back the curtain, demystifying the process of the work that we do for the people that we're trying to reach. In the wellness world, there could be so much misunderstanding, misinformation, fear, and uncertainty. Everything that we can do to remove that barrier for our people, the more likely they're going to be to actually lean in and take us up on what we have to share. The way that we approach our visuals is a huge piece of that puzzle.

Now as you're reading these three approaches, which one do you find yourself using most often? Usually, there's one that we favor over the others. There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to pairing words and images.

These three approaches I think play best when they're used in combination with one another. Follow one exclusively over the others and you run the risk of losing the balance that's going to create a really nice, cohesive picture. If you could use some help pulling together that cohesive picture for your business, I couldn't recommend Social Squares more highly.

Social Squares is the premier-styled stock photography subscription service. Included in your subscription is a growing catalog of gorgeous images. I think the most recent figure I've been quoting is 6,000 images, but they upload new images every week. I've been saying that number for a while now, so it's for sure more than that by now.

The variety of images and the quality are stunning and what I love most is everything you can do with this catalog. Using the custom curation feature, you can actually go in and change your preferences so it pulls for you your own custom selection of images. For example, if I wanted to, I could change everything up, add in different colors and new keywords, then just like that, it would pull a totally different set of images for me to check out. You also have the option to save favorites or download them right on the spot.

Also, included in your subscription is both a growing set of captions to pair with your images, as well as a library of marketing training exclusively for Social Squares members to help support you in doing business beautifully.

I've been a happy Social Squares member from the start, and I am now a proud affiliate of the brand. So, if you sign up using my link and give it a try for yourself, I would love to send you a little gift as a thank you. I've written a special set of customizable captions, which you can use on social media, email, and wherever you market your business. Basically, I want to send them to you for free.

Go ahead and sign up with my link. Then send me an email to let me know I'm in, I'm a Social Squares member, and I will send them over to you.

I hope this helps spark some new ideas for how to pair words with your images. We've got a whole series going so choose what is most helpful to you.


Recommended resources

Want to explore more ways to use your images and content? Check out these blog posts:


Let's take action!

Ready to implement what you learned in this post? I like your style!

  1. Choose 1 of these approaches in this post and test it out in your business.
  2. Curious about the my Copy Challenge?  Come join us here! 
  3. Want more actionable tips + real-life examples to help you reach more of your dream clients? Subscribe to my email list! 

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