It’s common knowledge amongst bloggers that crafting an interesting, catchy headline can help to increase the click-throughs and readership of your article. It’s also well known that incorporating photos into your posts is a great way to grab your reader’s attention (If this wasn’t well-known to you then it is now).
But there is a component of your blog posts that you may be overlooking (I know I was).
Photo captions are the most read body type in a publication. According to Drew Eric Whitman, Captions under photos get 200% greater readership than non-headline copy. Of all the content on your blog article, only the title or headlines have higher readership than captions.
The point is that if you fail to include captions underneath your photos, you are missing an opportunity to further engage your readers.
How Does A Reader Interact With Your Pictures On Your Blog?
This article from the University of Kansas discusses reader behavior:
When writing a cutline with or without a caption, it is useful to have clearly in mind the typical reader behavior when “using” a photograph and accompanying text:
- First, the reader looks at the photo, mentally capturing all or most of the most obvious visual information available. Often this reader look is merely a glance, so subtle aspects of the picture may not register with many readers.
- When that look at the photo sparks any interest, the reader typically looks just below the photo for information that helps explain the photo. That’s when captions and cutlines must perform.
- Then, typically, the reader, after digesting the information, goes back to the photo (so be sure you enhance the experience and explain anything that needs explaining).
What Does A Reader Want To Know About Your Photo (or What Makes A Good Caption)?
- How the picture relates to the post?
- What is happening in the photo?
- Who is in the photo?
- Where or when is it happening?
In short, a caption should help clarify the photo and it’s use in the article for the reader. You should not use a caption to explain something obvious a reader can tell from simply looking at the picture. An example is a photo of Michael Jordan taking a jump shot. A caption stating “Basketball player takes a jump shot” isn’t nearly as helpful as “Michael Jordan hitting the game winner”.
Photo by Lady Madonna