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Finding the Best Freelancers: Images Crucial for First Impressions

Let’s say you’re scrambling to find the perfect freelancer for your next project. Which freelance writer would you be more inclined to hire?

A. Blurry profile selfie and short, blocky text samples to showcase their work

B. Crisp profile photo, eye-catching images with their work, and problem-solution descriptions

Here at WriterAccess, we’re hedging that you’ll select B, unless you’re thinking that the best creative talent are simply too busy to promote themselves. Assuming you’re with us on B, we recently launched the WriterAccess Talent Gallery, the start of something big, explained here.

Turns out that when it comes to marketing in general, the facts back up our hedge. According to Venngage, readers are 80% more likely to engage with content when it contains colorful visuals, and adding images to content increases the view rate by 94%.  Posts containing images result in 180% more engagement than those without. And all of this adds up to the need for images to make their way into the profiles of our writers here at WriterAccess.

Following the logic, marketing freelance writers and content creators in general would seem impossible without a fabulous display of their creative work that engages browsers in magical ways.

What’s the WriterAccess Talent Gallery?

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We launched a new Talent Gallery this week that aims to showcase creative talent’s projects on an ongoing basis. It features their work as well images, headlines, and search tags, all curated weekly by our team.

We hope it becomes a place to find talent AND inspiration for projects. Each project features an image selected by the freelancer, along with the written text (for writers) or descriptions of the work (for illustrators, animators and photographers).

Turns out that the new gallery works on a conscious level to help you strategically select the next great talent for your project. And a deeper, unconscious level in the brain, tapping the power of images and first impression.

First Impressions Matter – A Lot

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You’ve certainly heard the saying: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” First impressions get cemented into the brain at warp speed. It takes fewer than 30 seconds for someone to form a first impression when they initially meet you. And according to Forbes magazine, first impressions occur within 7 seconds for meeting face to face, and it takes one-tenth of a second to start determining traits like trustworthiness.

Experts are also largely basing their first impression not on what you say or how you say it – but on what they see when they look at you and/or how you are represented. Physical first impressions are made up of three components:

  • Visual: Facial expressions, body language, our overall appearance
  • Verbal: The words we say
  • Vocal: The way we say it, or the tone and inflection

The words we say are at the bottom of the scale when it comes to influencing first impressions. Visuals are at the top. Here’s how much each component contributes to first impressions:

  • 55% = Visual
  • 7% = Verbal
  • 38% = Vocal

Not only are first impressions based heavily on visuals and determined nearly instantly, but our initial impression typically becomes the anchor for how you perceive someone or something, long after the first impression passes by.

First Impressions and Face Masks

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To protect against COVID-19, more than 50 countries mandate wearing masks in public. Masks are also recommended for high pollution alerts, frequently in many countries. And in many cultures, wearing a veil is the normal.

That got me thinking… How are masks affecting first impressions?

It turns out that the eyes and mouth are the most informative regions for first impression because they are most expressive. By covering up the mouth and nose, we’re likely focusing more of our analysis on the eyes, along with other signals. These include body posture, hand gestures, body motion, face characteristics – all acting together to convey message and intent. This info comes from a great article by the BBC called “How Face Masks Affect our Communication.”

To me, masks are a bit like text-only samples with the profiles of our writers. We want to learn more about a writer before we select the winner to test out. The new portfolio displays help us dive deeper into the creative skills. This helps to transform browsers into believers, and believers into buyers of creative services with the selected talent.

New Talent Gallery and Profiles for All Our Freelancers

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By October, we expect all our talent to have updated profiles to help clients pinpoint the style and skills you need for content marketing success.

When you scan over the projects featured in the Talent Gallery, you’ll find compatible creative talent that’s created work like the work you want created, at a price that’s within your range.

In the case of selecting a writer for a project, you will no longer rely on words alone to assess the writer’s tone, style, and creative talent. Instead, all our talent’s profiles will offer samples and examples that give you assurance that they can grasp your direction and deliver on the performance goals.

The key to making this all work is providing freelancers with the tools they need for success. Just last week we launched a new Portfolio Builder that enables freelancers to submit URL’s of work they’ve published on the web that features their byline. For self-promotional samples by industry, product type, or expertise, freelancers can access one million images in the Storyblocks library to include with their written work.

Advanced portfolio and profile building features like this are essential to our success and execution of our vision, and part of the complete rebuild of our platform launched on April 20 of this year.

Beyond the Gallery: Images Add Power to Your Marketing

Let’s test the power of visuals theory yourself by asking which stats you draw from the following chart:

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Infographic from Venngage

It’s likely that you ignored the text-heavy captions, and went right for the colorful pie charts.  

In short, people tend to process visuals much more easily than they process text – especially if they happen to be visual learners. A notable 60% of the population falls into that category, with only 30% falling into the auditory learning category and 10% categorized as kinesthetic learners.

What’s more, 90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual. Visuals are just so much easier for our brains to compute.

Images are processed rapidly and simultaneously. Text is processed slowly and sequentially. How slowly? Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. We’re also inclined to remember a striking visual for the long haul – even if we don’t want to. How many times have you wished you could “erase the image right out of your mind?”

On the text side, most people only remember about 20% of what they read. Another stat says when it comes to online articles, people only read about 20% of the words on a page to begin with. Put the two stats together, and people are retaining only 20% of 20% of your text, or a total of about 4% of what’s on the page.

Incorporate an image that reinforces your message, and the retention rate suddenly skyrockets (and so can conversion rates and sales).

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Infographic from Venngage

All that said, we have a good feeling that our new Talent Gallery is going to make it easier, faster and more interesting for you to find your next hire. But that’s not the only place you’ll get to engage with the power of visuals.

We Can Help with Visuals in Your Content

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You may already know that you can access close to 300 million images from Getty, Shutterstock, and Storyblocks in the WriterAccess Content Creation Platform. Even better, you can hire writers to select images with your next order, for a small $5 research fee.  And even better than that, you’ll be able to hire illustrators, animators, or photographers to create custom images for you, starting in the fall.

The Bottom Line: An Image Says a Thousand Words

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If you continue to doubt that images stick heavily in people’s minds, all you have to do is recall a really bad photo you wish never existed. You know the ones. They can haunt you forever.

But when it comes to matching your marketing needs with freelance talent, images are really required to help make the match. They get people’s attention in a way no other content component can. Whether you’re looking for just the right talent for your next project or just the right photo for your next blog post, you’ll be able to find the best content creators that have the tone, style, and expertise you need quickly at WriterAccess.


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By WriterAccess

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