Curate, License or Create? A Guide to Sourcing the Ideal Images and Video for Your Marketing Strategy.

Curate, License or Create? A Guide to Sourcing the Ideal Images and Video for Your Marketing Strategy.

Curating the right type of content for your business initiatives can take nearly as much time -- and, if you're not careful, end up being just as expensive. Do you need to create your own, or should you license stock imagery? Free -- Curating content created by others. If you need to produce content regularly, you might try simply aggregating the best materials you can find online and curating those selections. Use the "Share" option -- it was created for a reason. And that doesn't include expenses or licensing the images for your brand. Content creators upload their work to websites such as Shutterstock, Getty Images or Adobe Stock, and you can pay per image or via subscription, at a fraction of the price charged for custom content. Getty Images and Adobe Stock allow users to locate content with an aesthetic search. Creating and producing your own content is one of the best ways to bring your vision to life, but it’s also one of the most expensive. It's like a tattoo: Good work isn’t cheap, and cheap work usually isn't all that good.

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Curate, License or Create? A Guide to Sourcing the Ideal Images and Video for Your Marketing Strategy.

Content is king, it’s unlikely to be dethroned any time soon. It’s simply too effective to reach new audiences and engage with potential clients. While no one questions content’s power as a marketing tool, creating, finding or curating material can pose unique challenges. Sourcing the images and video needed to support all that content marketing and advertising brings its own costs and potential risks.

Take it from a content creator: It’s both expensive and time-consuming to produce your own pieces. Curating the right type of content for your business initiatives can take nearly as much time — and, if you’re not careful, end up being just as expensive. If you’re not sure what you need or where to to look, you’re virtually guaranteed to expend too many resources in the pursuit.

To be clear, I’m not referring to content that’s readily sharable on Facebook, Instagram or other social-media platforms. I’m focused on the imagery and video needed for company emails, websites, brochures and other collateral materials. How can you source the right type of content that’s cohesive with your brand and your initiatives? Do you need to create your own, or should you license stock imagery? These all are valid questions to consider as you craft campaign pieces with a purpose.

Think of the overview that follows as a primer to help demystify the options. I’ve outlined three tiers of content, organized by price. Each includes a list of pros and cons to assist in your decision-making. Remember: You don’t have to adhere to just one tier. You can combine categories to suit your specific needs and market your brand in the most effective way.

Free — Curating content created by others.

If you need to produce content regularly, you might try simply aggregating the best materials you can find online and curating those selections. It’s one of the best, most straightforward ways to increase engagement with the part of the message you’re creating.

Let me be explicit: You must use content legally. Many successful social-media pages get great results by sharing content from other sites. However, that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to repurpose the same content as paid advertising for your business.

Jeep, for example, has been known to distribute its clients’ photos and videos via its own Facebook page by using the “Share” option. Broadcasting those experiences gives Jeep a way to sell the “lifestyle” behind its brand. But you won’t see Jeep using those images on its website. Why? The content isn’t Jeep’s to use commercially.

Rear Adm. Grace Murray Hopper — also a computing pioneer who earned a Ph.D in mathematics from Yale University — was famous for saying, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.” That usually works if it’s a good idea in the first place. There’s a fine line between curating content and stealing content, and that line is called “permission.” Rather than write a lengthy article on curating versus stealing, I’ll instead note the top three best practices on sharing:

  1. Follow and operate within the law. Use the “Share” option — it was created for a reason.
  2. Give credit and attribute the work to its original author. Summarize the article in your post, but don’t lift entire passages of text.
  3. Create honest work that…

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