When it comes to creating enough fresh content for your website and social media channels it can be tempting to try to cut corners. One of the most common areas where businesses tend to do so is in sourcing good quality images. At one time or another, everyone has given in to temptation and just performed a quick Google search to find a photograph to accompany their carefully crafted blog post. However, this practice is not only going to devalue your content, but it could cause some major problems for you down the road.
Let’s take a look at why sourcing good quality images is such an important part of your content marketing plan.
Why Great Images Matter in Content Marketing
There is an old saying that says ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ This adage rings particularly true when it comes to capturing the attention of your target audience. It is a sad fact of human nature that most of us have short attention spans, especially when browsing online. Lengthy explanations and blocks of text have proven to be less efficient than visual content. Scientific research has shown that the human brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text, and we can also retain more information when delivered in a visually appealing format. That means that when you share a relevant and visually appealing image alongside a blog post or social media update, it is far more likely to attract the attention of your online audience. This ability to attract attention is one of the reasons why every powerful online marketing plan should include visual content.
However, it is not just having images or other visual content that matters. It must be of high quality. Like it or not, in online marketing appearance is everything. It takes a matter of seconds to form a first impression, and if your potential client’s first experience with your brand is grainy, out of focus photograph in your latest blog post, then you are not going to make a great impression on them. Therefore, it is important to invest in high-quality visual content, whether that means hiring a professional photographer, finding a great graphic designer, or purchasing some high-quality stock imagery. Your online marketing plan should include this as part of your content strategy.
Why You Shouldn’t Harvest Images from Google
As mentioned above, there is a common trend for businesses to simply search on Google for an appropriate image for the content they have just written. Everyone has done it at some point, and it may seem harmless. However, this type of activity has the potential to cause some far-reaching consequences for you and your business. Not only can it be damaging to your online status since you are likely using the same images that 100 other companies are, but there can also be legal ramifications.
Let’s look at the reputation aspect first. If you are pulling images from a Google search or even from one of the many free stock websites, then there is a good chance you are choosing boring or sub-standard imagery. The photographic stock shared on free sites is made up of the images that didn’t make the cut for high-quality stock websites.
Using these types of images conveys the message that you were too cheap or even too lazy to source unique images which can completely devalue a killer piece of content because as we have already mentioned – first impressions matter. There is also a high chance that images sourced from a Google search have already appeared a hundred times or more in connection with the same topic, so regarding marketing, they are going to do nothing to help you stand out from the crowd. They could even damage your brand’s image.
Now on to the legal issues surrounding using Google sourced image in your content. The photographs that come up on Google Images belong to someone, and unless they have signed off on their rights, it remains the creator’s intellectual property. If you grab an image that came up in a Google search to use in your online marketing, then you have no idea who the photographer or designer was. If you then go ahead and use that image without permission, you may soon find yourself receiving an attorney’s letter regarding copyright infringement, and that can result in a lengthy and expensive legal battle not to mention damaging your company’s good name both online and offline.
The bottom line is this – do not settle for cheap or poor quality images for your online content. A huge part of having a powerful online marketing plan is knowing the value of good visual content, so do not sell yourself short.
To Your Best Online!
Ingrid Maddox, Internet Marketing & Strategy Consultant. bluedress INTERNET MARKETING, an Internet Marketing Company headquartered in Knoxville, TN. Internet Marketing Developed, Implemented, and Managed to Full Circle! Organic Internet Search Engine Guru. Turn-Key Internet Optimization Programs Placing You Everywhere and Anywhere You Need to Be Online.