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By Mary Ellen Landolfi/Word Spiral Media. Reposted with permission.

The power of images is not to be taken lightly. Statistic after statistic from social media and content marketing experts and thought leaders show that content with images gain more views, more shares and make more of an impact on the audience than text-only pieces. Even a writer like me understands the value of the right images, especially when combined with engaging, well- written copy.

Notice, though, I specified the “right” images. Not just any image. Especially when we’re discussing marketing materials. Worse than no images are poor quality, amateurish images that will tarnish any marketing piece – whether it’s a postcard, brochure or your website.

You can find websites to purchase decent quality stock images for use on your website or blog that are adequate if you’re looking for a more generic or abstract images to fit a theme, for example. But the drawback to using only stock images is that eventually, you will find other websites, blogs or marketing pieces using the same stock images. At that point, your brand itself starts becoming more generic, and that’s when you’ll find it hard to set yourself apart from every other business like yours.

However, there is one sure way to make sure your images are high quality and 100% focused on your brand and your brand alone. Hire a professional photographer, especially one with a background in corporate and executive photography. An investment in the right photographer will ensure that your images promote your brand, and only your brand, in a powerful way.

One of the benefits of hiring a photographer to capture your images is that you’ll be able to leverage these images many times over, for a variety of different projects. Professional photographer Alyse Liebowitz, owner of 3 Chicks That Click Photography, suggests that along with using your images on your website, consider other ways to use them. For example, product or retail location photos can be included in anything from direct mail pieces and brochures to email marketing campaigns, press releases and landing pages.

Business owners need to consider using a professional headshot across their marketing materials. “If you’re a business owner, you’re the face of your business,” Liebowitz says. Professional headshots and portraits can also be leveraged in various ways to promote your company brand and image. For instance, if you’re an expert writing an article for a trade magazine or professional organization, you’ll want to provide your own headshot to accompany the article. Liebowitz also suggests placing your images across your various online profiles, including LinkedIn and company Facebook pages. Having your image printed on your business card is another way to have your marketing materials stand out.

The right combination of words and images can help amplify your brand and make it stand out among your competition. Working with professionals to plan and create your marketing content and collateral can help to engage and attract your target audience.