An image can grab your reader’s attention or bring about emotion. It can encourage your customer to make a purchase.
Check out some statistics from Hubspot’s Amanda Sibley:
- 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M and Zabisco)
- 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco)
The power of visual content
“Seeing an image gives the user experience of being able to relate that image to a personal memory or emotion, tying you to it,” said Coles Multimedia Designer Kevin Moore.
With the growth of content marketing and social media, we continue to look for images to get our messages across. It seems easier than ever with countless images available online at the click of a button.
But it’s essential to take precautions when choosing images to make sure you do it legally.
Know the rules before you use
- Get familiar with fair use laws. These laws operate on a case-by-case basis, but there are general guidelines.
- Investigate the source of an image before you copy it from the Web. Just because you “can” copy an image does NOT mean you have the right to use it.
- Get permission. It’s best to get images you have authorization to use. You can purchase stock photos or use a free stock image website, such as Stock Free Images.
- Search smarter. You can search images under the “Creative Commons license,” which allows for images the photographers have released for common use.
- Cite appropriately. It’s safe to use an image for educational purposes. But when you use a photo this way, cite your source, giving credit to where you copied the picture.
Do your research or create your own!
How can you find the photos you want without getting a cease and desist order you don’t want?
- Use a stock photo site that, with payment, allows you to search and use copyrighted images, such as Shutterstock, iStockphoto or Getty Images.
- Creativecommons.org is a free way to find photos based on the type of license you are looking for.
- Also, use Compfight.com, a database dedicated to helping bloggers find photos.
Plus, here are more sources to discover cost-free content!
And if you can’t find the right photo, you can always create your own! Did you see the article “Six Simple Steps to Better Photos” from Coles VP Creative Tim Coulon? You should!
A picture may be worth a thousand … dollars
“Because images are so readily available and people are so used to sharing them through social sites, I think some may not understand the consequences of grabbing an image off the Web and posting it in a blog or e-blast,” Moore said.
He suggested using TinEye, a reverse image search website. You can find out where an image came from and how it’s being used.
“An image that may cost just a dollar to purchase can cost you thousands of dollars in a lawsuit if it’s used without permission and the proper citation,” Moore said. “Plus, there’s the embarrassment of being found out. It’s just not worth it.”Edit this post
In last month’s newsletter, I wrote about how more companies are trying to get their videos to go viral. I wanted to expand on how much video is now being produced that wasn’t intended for a typical 30-second TV spot.
Video is a burgeoning part of our business at Coles Marketing. Lately, it seems Videographer Shawn Sorrells, a news photographer and editor for years before joining our team, is always heading out to another site to gather content and then produce polished pieces for clients, such as auto dealer profiles for NextGear Capital.
With most companies having their own website, plus inexpensive video-hosting sites like YouTube, it’s easier than ever for businesses to produce their own pieces and disseminate them across many audiences.
More stories, less selling
These videos are part of the brand journalism movement, in which companies don’t hit people with a hard pitch for their goods and services, but tell stories about themselves, their customers and products.
In a sense, these “replacements” for TV commercials are a microcosm of streaming services like Netflix, which once merely distributed other’s content but is now increasingly a player on the production end, with shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards” racking up enough viewers and Emmy trophies to make the networks jealous.
Some of these Web-only commercial videos are deliberately playing coy with their relationship to TV spots. One of the prime examples is Go Daddy, which uses plenty of sexual innuendo in its pieces.
They generated a lot of attention for having a commercial rejected for the NFL championship game for being too racy. Now, they crank them out all the time — usually teased with a tagline like “Too Hot for TV!” Other advertisers soon followed suit, and now it’s a little cottage industry.
Real innovation goes a step beyond
Other Web-only videos move even further away from the “I-sell-you” mindset of traditional TV commercials. Take Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, which is more about empowering women to feel comfortable with their looks than fancy soap.
In one of the most-talked-about pieces, women were asked to describe themselves to a sketch artist, and then that artist drew them based on a stranger’s description of them. Shockingly, the women described themselves physically in much more critical terms than how other people see them.
(Just for fun, check out the parody version featuring egotistical dudes.)
It should be noted videos like this can sometimes run much longer than the traditional 30- or 60-second commercial. And people will watch, as long as they’re emotionally and intellectually engaged by the piece.
Reaching out in a new way
The point is smart brands are now looking at producing their own videos and taking them directly to audiences without even thinking about buying ad time on their local broadcast station. It’s essentially a brand new outreach platform, and one that can be extremely cost-effective.
Need a hand with creating your own Web-only videos? We’ve got the tools!Edit this post
After years of successfully growing the Indiana Eye Clinic into one of central Indiana’s premier locations for surgery and treatment of the eye, the doctor/owners knew their website design needed a new look.
The old site was cluttered and unappealing, with few photographs or graphics, and contained too much wordy medical jargon. And it didn’t scale to mobile devices.
“A website’s lifespan is typically three to four years,” said Coles VP Marketing Brian Coles. “If your website exceeds that time without a major update or redesign, technology is likely to have passed you by, and you risk losing valuable consumers.
“The Indiana Eye Clinic website was last updated more than five years ago,” Coles continued. “Not only did the current website not match their new look, but the current wireframe did not support mobile browsing.”
The Coles Marketing team, working in close conjunction with the Indiana Eye Clinic, undertook a ground-up redesign of the site. This included an elegant restructuring of the site’s look to match the look of the new Clinic logo, which was designed by Coles.
Copy was recreated and new copy added for every subpage of the website. Coles also included custom photography that featured the Clinic’s doctors, staff and patients in an appealing light.
Technology was updated to a custom responsive design, so the Clinic now has one website optimized for every platform, including mobile devices and tablets.
“Today, creating websites in responsive design is seen as one of the industry’s best practices,” Coles said. “Responsive design is also preferred by Google because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with and link to than content that lives on separate sites.”
Is your website screaming for a makeover?
Coles Marketing has the expertise to take your 24/7, greatest sales and customer platform — your website — to the next level.
“A clean, attractive website design does more than make your business or organization look good,” said Coles Multimedia Designer Kevin Moore. “It can bring in more customers and improve functionality for the ones you have.”
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