Visual content is a very important aspect of Content Marketing. It is vital to provide your audience with stunning visuals that will capture their attention along with great written content that will add value. Using stock images for every single news article, area profile or social media post can become very pricey and you might find yourself tempted to just use any image on Google - but don't. Most images are protected by copyright, and it is important to be aware of the rules before using any image.
The good news is that there are various image solutions that will ensure that you don't have to severely dent your marketing budget. Public domain photos, Creative Commons images (if you abide by the rules) or images that you create from scratch with online tools are safe to use and very cost effective.
• Creative Commons - Creative Commons is an NGO that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through legal tools. Photographers can publish their creative work under a Creative Commons license of their choice. When using images published under a Creative Commons license, it is vital to give credit where credit is due. Make sure that you familiarise yourself with the various licenses before adding these images to your website/social media platforms.
• Public domain - Images in the public domain are those whose copyrights have expired or forfeited. Images that you find on Google are not necessarily public domain. Make sure that you click through to each website to read up on the terms and conditions.
Original is best
Real estate marketing is very dependent on visuals. A listing's image gallery should provide your audience with a superior visual experience and has to evoke a sense of emotion from them.
See every photoshoot as an opportunity to gather more visual content. You are not only selling a property, you are also selling an area/neighbourhood. Use your photography sessions to take photographs of the surrounding views and iconic landmarks. These images can be used on your website for news articles and area profiles or on your social media platforms.
Adjust how you search for images on Google
Using Google to find images is a great way to find a vast amount of images, but don't think that these fall under public domain. Most of these images are protected by copyright. Google allows you to filter your search results and search for images that are labeled for:
• Reuse with modification
• Non-commercial reuse with modification
• Non-commercial reuse
Simply click on "Search Tools" and then "Usage Rights" to find these filters. If you find the perfect image, click on "Visit Page" rather than "View Image" to ensure that you read up on the terms and conditions of each image.
Here are some of our favourite image resources.
1) Searchable image databases
Searchable image databases allow you to use keywords to find relevant images. Many of these websites require a free registration before you can download the images.
2) Free-form photo collections
Sometimes you just need some inspiration. Free-form photo collections allow you to embark on a visual journey. These websites have no search function (some of them have categories that will make searching a bit easier), but they do provide you with a unique visual experience and might just help you to come up with some creative posts. Some of the below websites allow you to register for a weekly or monthly image pack that is sent to you via email.
3) Create-your-own image tools
You don't have to be a designer to create visually appealing artwork. There are some online tools that allow you to create your own masterpieces to share with your audience.
Let's recap. Visual content is a very important aspect of Content Marketing. Providing your audience with a superior visual experience will capture their attention and make them pay attention to your message. While original visual content is always the best to use, there are some great online resources that you can use to find images that are safe and free to use on your website and social media platforms. Always give credit where credit is required and take extra care to read the terms and conditions of each image.