What are you doing to encourage inclusivity and represent diversity in your marketing images?
I’ve been thinking about this issue for weeks. Then a series of events happened.
- Amy Cooper called the police saying she was being threatened by an African American man in Central Park. The man, Christian Cooper, was bird watching and had asked Amy Cooper to put her dog on a leash. By the way, Christian Cooper is a Harvard graduate and a board member of the Audubon Society.
- In Georgia, Ahmaud Arbery, an African American, was jogging when two white men attacked and fatally shot him.
- In Minneapolis, former law enforcement officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the neck of George Floyd as he lay prone on the street. Floyd died, and the nation erupted.
What does this have to do with book marketing?
When I look at authors’ blog post images and marketing images, I only see white faces unless the author is black.
That has to change.
Even if the events mentioned above hadn’t occurred, I would still be writing this blog post.
We Need to Embrace Diversity and Immigrants
Let’s consider immigrants and the backlash they face despite their contributions to our society.
Immigrants aren’t only the backbone of this country; they drive our economy and are more entrepreneurial than native-born citizens.
On July 21, 2015, the Atlantic published an article titled Why American Cities Are Fighting to Attract Immigrants.
According to the article, “from 2006 to 2012, more than two-fifths of the start-up tech companies in Silicon Valley had at least one foreign-born founder.” It also stated, “… immigration, on the whole, bolsters the workforce and adds to the nation’s overall economic activity.”
In 2016, the Harvard Review noted that immigrants constitute 15% of the general U.S. workforce. Still, they account for around a quarter of U.S. entrepreneurs.
On January 12, 2018, the Houston Chronicle reported that Nigerians are the most educated segment of the United States population.
Finally, on December 1, 2016, U.S. Census reported that the “number of U.S. businesses owned by Hispanics grew by more than 1 million firms, or 46.3 percent, from 2.3 million to 3.3 million from 2007 to 2012. In contrast, the total number of all U.S. firms increased 2.0 percent during the same period, from 27.1 million to 27.6 million.”
The same census noted that 35.7 percent of Hispanic business owners have a bachelor’s degree. Also, 20.2 percent of Hispanic business owners work on average, 60 or more hours a week managing or working in their business.
Take my neighbors as an example. The mother is from Puerto Rico, and the father is from Mexico. Their daughter is in graduate school, pursuing her Ph.D.
How does all of this apply to you?
I want you to think twice or three times before selecting your images and to think about representing diversity in your marketing images.
Represent Diversity in Your Marketing Images
Before I proceed, I’ll admit that I need to get better too. What I am pretty good at, however, is representing diversity in my clients’ images.
For example, when I needed an image of a woman waking up, I selected this picture:
While working on a client’s Instagram account, I needed an image of a happy person. So, I selected this picture:
I needed a picture of someone reading a book for another client, so I used this image:
When I needed an image of a writer for another client, I selected this picture:
I don’t mean to represent myself as a paragon on this topic. You’ve seen my marketing images, and they too often lack diversity. I’m guilty.
But I plan to change that. Why?
I don’t have any illusions that including images of people of color will change anything in America.
I know that my contribution will be just a teardrop in the sea of unrest and racial hatred in our country.
But it’s a step. A tiny step, albeit, but one in the right direction.
So, I encourage you to take a step too. The next time you need an image of a person reading a book, use one like this:
Include Asians, Muslims, and people from India as well in your marketing images. When looking for blog post images, look for people of color.
When posting inspirational quotes, look for people of color.
When writing your next novel or short story, include diversity in your characters.
Just don’t be color blind.
I am an author and social media consultant for writers. My focus is on helping writers like you surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online and building their platform. I also provide content writing and email marketing services. Be sure to download my ebook on Twitter. You can get it now for free!