Welcome to the postmodern era of gifs! You might be surprised as I am, but we find ourselves in the postmodern gif era, as they were born in 1987 and dominated the internet with waving flags, burning flames and flashing under construction signs. With their rise in popularity, and their increased use in WordPress blogs, I wanted to have a look at how you can include them in your post without taking away from the importance of your content.
How can gifs be useful in blog posts?
Here are some concrete ways in which you can make gif images enhance your blog post. Take a look at the examples below and try use a gif in your next post.
Make gif images relevant
The obvious appeal of gifs is that they are fun, it’s an interactive image that is able to grab a user’s attention. Oftentimes gifs are a great way to draw your readers in, as when they scan your post, this will be one of the main things they notice. Having said that, make sure you pick a gif that compliments your blog post – don’t just insert one that you found funny while riding the bus to work. By making gifs relevant you can be sure that the point you are making will be reinforced. If you say one thing in 5 different ways, one of the channels will be heard and understood!
Make gif images educational
Another way that gifs can be very useful in blog posts, and this perhaps isn’t as obvious, but they can educate your users. We tend to group all gif images into funny, by the by additions in the posts, but they really don’t have to be. They can actually instruct and teach your users on how to use an interface, or perform a new command.
Help Scout have used gifs for this purpose. Here is an example from them.
This gif image in particular in a matter of seconds runs through what you need to do to drag and drop inline images in the Help Scout reply editor. The Help Scout team say,
We’ve always felt animated GIFs were good for more than a quick laugh—they’re also an effective tool to deliver great support.
Why not try it for yourself, have a go at creating an educational gif that helps your users.
Make gif images CTA’s
In the previous post we talked about killer landing pages, and one of the must haves are clear CTA’s. We want our readers to be guided to that clickable CTA and either buy/sign up or read more. If you do it right, it can be subtle and elegant, yet extremely powerful. Here is an example of a gif image made by Beck featured on Ann Street Studios. She states that she aims to help her users “experience more than just a photograph.”
I know what you are thinking, the moving butterflies are not a CTA, nor is there one on the image. But, pay close attention to how the image isn’t being taken over by the moving elements, they enhance it. They are almost alive, so as the viewer your eye is drawn to them. You can apply the same principle to your CTA. Here is a more concrete example.
Very subtle way of getting you to see the possibilities for loans.
Make gif images emotional
Joe Puglisi, Senior Creative Strategist at Buzzfeed, says,
GIFs are a mini-vehicle for storytelling, capturing emotions, and communicating them in a concise way that words and pictures alone cannot.
Use the opportunity to tap into your users emotions. Rather than just telling them what to do, and reasoning that to them, make them want to do it. Anthropology newsletter is a great example of this.
The little pins telling you to “let’s pin” and join Anthropology on Pinterest is genius. The moving pins encourage involvement and reinforce the idea behind the content without taking away from it’s importance.
Too much of a good thing
I promise you that there is such a thing, and gif images can quickly become it. They are great, but don’t overuse them, when you do they lose their effectiveness and frankly their charm. Also, make sure you are still focusing on the bread and butter, your content. Fancy images, and post flourishments are great, but nothing replaces good old quality content.
Make your own
Here are a few websites you can visit that will get you started with making gifs.