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Understanding Image and Photo Rights for Content Marketing

Knowing How to Make Your Blogs Puhretty, Like

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Blogging is the core component of content marketing.

So you want to digitise your business? Until I’m blue in the face, I keep telling anyone in business that content marketing is one of the most important online Digital marketing activities for businesses in operation today — particularly those with a website. Successful content marketing is about creating original, high quality content that’s relevant to your “potential” customers. It also needs to be high quality in every way (relevancy is integral to quality) and this involves every aspect of the content you’re creating — copy, layout and design. This ain’t always easy!

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere on this blog before, but I stand by my geeky analogy that great content is like an equilateral triangle, in that all parts must be equal. Copy, layout and design are the three sides of your content, and if you prioritise one aspect over one of the others, your content will be unbalanced, just as your triangle would be.

Blogging: The Staple of Content Marketing

How best to content market to your audience? Well, I’d go so far as to say that you can’t have effective content marketing without maintaining a blog. Setting up a blog is actually pretty easy, especially if you use a content management system like WordPress for your website and blog. With WordPress the the layout is pretty much taken care of for you — just choose a theme and away you go.

Many businesses outsource copywriting to a contractor or freelancer, which in our view, is a wise move. Unless you’re a clear writer who can articulate your point accurately and economically (a good writer will know that I’m talking about word count), then you should outsource it. You also have to rather enjoy doing it and be fast at it — otherwise, despite your best intentions, little will ever get published.

A Word on Google Images

So, to design. In the case of blogging, you usually select an image to illustrate your blog posts, which brings us to the subject of this blog post: understanding image rights. Unless you intend to use your own photos and images that you’ve taken or created yourself (hands down, one of the best ways to drive search engine rankings and increase reader engagement, just sayin’) and therefore own the copyright to, then you need to understand image rights first.

As a general rule, never ever use Google Images to find an image for your blog. That’s not to say that Google Images isn’t a great starting off point if you’re creatively spent and in need of some inspiration. I frequently punch a few keywords or phrases into Google Images to see if the results turn up, and then go back to my image library, which categorises images in a more literal sense than Google Images does.

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This has a lot to do with indexing and keyword usage; put simply, think of Google Images as your own personal brainstorming team. Traditionally, brainstorming has always worked best when there was more one person, but if you’re on your lonesome, then this is where Google Images comes in handy.

You punch in a few key phrases or concepts and you can see how other people have illustrated their websites and blogs, based on those same phrases.

What makes the images from Google Images dicey is that, as a search engine, it’s not beholden to the laws of copyright usage and image licensing; it’s up to you to do your due diligence and find out what the terms of the image’s license are.

Image (Copy)Rights

Generally speaking, to use an image that you haven’t created, you must track down the creator and ask for permission to use it. Obviously, this would be a lengthy and arduous process if you had to do this for every image you found on the internet, so, thankfully, there are plenty of ways to find images where the copyright holder has already released the image with a license that allows specific uses.

Using an image in a way that isn’t allowed under the terms of its license is still considered copyright infringement, so make sure you’re certain you understand each image’s license before you use it on your blog or website.

Most online image libraries offer images with license terms that deal with:

  • Type of use: Commercial or non-commercial use, with the first being any use of an image to sell or promote a product, service, or idea.
  • Attribution: Credit may need to be given to the original creator of the image and required format (e.g. a link) specified.
  • Modification: The image may have to be used unchanged, or you may allowed to modify it and create new images or materials from it.
  • Number of uses: Some licenses may restrict the number of times an image can be used.

What license is offered depends entirely on the copyright holder or the creator. Some image libraries require the copyright holder to sign over certain rights of use to their images, while others don’t, which means you need to be vigilant by checking the terms of use for each image you use.

Of course, one way to avoid having to deal with image rights is to take your own pictures. As I said earlier, this not only gives your content its own personalised stamp of authenticity, but it also helps drive search engine rankings and reader engagement. This is very important in content marketing.

If you’re not able to take your own pictures, for whatever reason, then using an online image library is the best way to ensure that your content is not only looking great and will engage your customers, but that you’re also not contravening any copyright or licensing terms.

To learn more about content marketing, subscribe to our blog or register your interest in our forthcoming content marketing training course.  If you’re a bookkeeper looking to start out on your own, or start a small business, find out more about our bookkeepers’ directory, where we do the content marketing for you to help you find work.

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The New Year’s Approaching: Think About New Content Marketing for Your Business

The Value of Content Marketing

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Finding it hard to get started in content marketing? Register for our upcoming course.

January, February and March of a new year, which is typically the quietest as people take a while to adjust to the work and school routine, is when a lot of businesses spend time setting goals for the year ahead.

Just as individuals set their own personal new year’s resolutions, many businesses use January and February to set some new year’s resolutions for their business’s marketing activities.

Business Blogs vs Paid Advertising

In 2016, there was an unprecedented uptick in the number of Australian businesses using content marketing to help drive their search engine rankings, increase customer engagement, and position themselves as opinion leaders in their industry. If the last 12 months is anything to go by, then, it’s fair to say 2017 will continue the content marketing trend.

Yes, I’ve been talking about content marketing a lot on this blog lately, as it’s a marketing strategy EzyLearn has been using, almost exclusively, for many years now, with much success — you are reading this blog post, after all!

EzyLearn and our partners continue to help many businesses establish their brand and build credibility online using content marketing — something we continue to do to great effect for real estate agents, to name but a few. Whether you are an agent, bookkeeper, small business owner, or just have dreams to start working for yourself, why not register your interest in our up and coming content marketing course.

Great Content is Like an Equilateral Triangle – All the Sides are Equal

As popular as content marketing has become in the last few years, many people still don’t quite understand that great content marketing requires you to pay equal emphasis on each component. This includes the word content itself in an ebook or enewsletter for instance, but also the layout and design, the SEO etc. It also needs to be free of typos!

I know, in the past, I’ve probably been guilty of rushing to publish content on our website because I’m so eager to share what we’ve created with you. But for content marketing to be successful in the long term, it needs to be approached holistically. In other words, the copy is equally as important as the design and the layout; the messages need to be consistent and you need to keep communicating with your customers — it can’t be hit and miss.

Just as every side in an equilateral triangle must be created equal, so too do you have to consider all components equally when content marketing.

Outsourcing is Okay

As a small business, you probably have at least one person in your team who is either a) design inclined; or b) a good, strong writer. If you’re really lucky, you may have both, but it’s not uncommon for a business to need to outsource part of this work to a professional, usually on a contract or freelance basis.

Take stock of the talent you have in-house already. If you have a competent designer, utilise them and outsource the writing to a professional. It’s unwise to try and do everything yourself. Producing high quality content is a time-consuming process, made even more so if there’s a particular aspect of it — the writing, say — that you’re not proficient at.

I would say that most business owners do most of what I would loosely term ‘designing’, themselves, which in the case of blogging is choosing an image that accurately reflects the message you’re trying to communicate in the main copy.

Think Outside the Stock Box When it Comes to Photos for Your Blogs

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Litter your blog posts with photos you have taken yourself – these are far more personal and usually more interesting than expensive, routine image libraries.

There is a certain art to selecting images for your blog. You want to avoid using ones that every other blogger is using, which means ditching your regular Google Images haunt and using a stock library instead. But this is where you need to do your research.

Many free stock libraries serve up the same images that you find in Google Images, which brings you back to square one. They’re also incredibly boring. At this point, next logical option probably seems like paying for a membership to a stock library.

Again, research is required here. Not all stock libraries, even paid ones, are created equally. Well known libraries — iStock Photo, for example — are expensive, while the other, lesser known ones are still boring. So what’s a content marketer to do? Get creative.

Take Your Own Digital Marketing Images With Your Smartphone

Remember, content marketing is about creating original, high quality content that’s relevant both to your customers and to your business. With this in mind, rather than paying for expensive stock photography and images, why don’t you take your own? There’s nothing more original and relevant to you and your customers than your own photography.

Publishing original content on your blog and website, whether it’s in the form of images, copy or videos (or all of the above), the harder it will work at driving your search engine rankings, while, at the same time, the personalised approach will have a longer lasting impression on your readers and customers.

Prioritise Content Marketing in 2017

Bookkeepers especially — take note!

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseIf you’re a bookkeeper looking to start your own bookkeeping business and find yourself clients, or grow you list of clients, and content marketing isn’t already on your agenda for 2017 —  it should be.

In terms of having the experience and know-how to content market to people we know what our students need to be successful to this end, after all, most EzyLearn students use our services for MYOB Training Courses, Excel Training Courses, Xero Courses and Small Business Management Training because they’re looking for bookkeeping work or want to start a bookkeeping business. Very early in the piece we started finding out why our students did our courses because it enables us to develop targeted products (and write content about) what they need.

Join our Bookkeeping Directory TODAY

We’ve launched a new bookkeeping directory which is aimed at helping people (our students primarily) find bookkeeping work or start a bookkeeping business, but it’s also a great way for small businesses to find bookkeepers who are close to them. We’re also taking registrations for our content marketing online course.

To find out more about how you can be more than just a bookkeeper, and start a bookkeeping business, including promoting your bookkeeping services to a much wider circle of people and engaging in content marketing, read more about listing yourself on National Bookkeeping.

If you’re interested in content marketing, either for your business or because you’d like to become an independent contractor offering content marketing services to other business, you can learn more by subscribing to our blog.

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How do you manage your online content marketing?

What’s all this about content marketing?

Content marketing and automatic marketing response marketing can help real estate agents standout and build credibility for property vendorsWe’re busy developing a new content marketing course because as a form of online marketing, content marketing is finally starting to come into its own. Content marketing has actually been around for many years – it’s been known as custom publishing, branded content, branded journalism, and custom media – but as it became more popular, marketers began referring to it as content marketing to make it easier to for their clients to understand.

Content marketing is basically the process of creating valuable, informative content – blog posts, email newsletters, ebooks, etc – and sharing it online to help attract and retain customers. But because it requires a lot of content to be produced and regularly, many small businesses are outsourcing their content marketing needs.

Your content marketing needs to have a purpose

To make the most out your content marketing, you need to have goals and a strategy in place to achieve them so you’re not just wasting your time. This is the same as traditional marketing activities, which we cover in our Small Business Management Course. You also need to be able monitor how each piece of content is going at achieving those goals.

If you’re also hiring a content writer or strategist to help you with your content marketing, you also need a way to easily collaborate. Now, if only there was a way to monitor and analyse your content marketing AND schedule and set content marketing tasks for those people you’re working with…

A tool for schedule and managing content marketing

Well, as we’ve recently discovered, there is! It’s a cloud-based content marketing and editorial calendar called CoSchedule and it allows you to schedule and create content marketing tasks, assign those tasks to your team, create and publish blog posts, share links to content via social media, and monitor the success of your content and the social media platform all within the CoSchedule app.

It’s a very powerful, very useful tool for small businesses that work with a number of remote workers who are based around the country, as it allows complete collaboration with your team and also integrates seamlessly with WordPress. It also helps you to optimise your blog titles and your social media sharing to help drive your web traffic.

By providing you with detail stats – and also integrating with most web analytics software, including Google Analytics – you can see what content performs well and what doesn’t, so you can improve you content in the future.

You need to know your readers to succeed

Because content marketing is about creating engaging and interesting content, whether it’s blog posts or ebooks or something else, it’s vital that you know what content your customers like and what the don’t, so you can ensure you’re always keeping them engaged.

In a post I wrote about content marketing not so long ago, I mentioned how important it is to know and understand your reader, because that’s what’ll help you to engage and interest them with your content. If you have highly engaged people consuming your content, they’re more like to share it with their friends, family and other people in their social networks.

This helps to spread the word about your business, which will bring you more customers and make you more money. But better than that, it’ll also help you to see new opportunities and areas into which you can expand your business.

Content marketing can help expand your business too

We used the feedback we received from our content marketing activities when we decided to develop the Xero training courses and the currently in-development content marketing course; it also guided us in our decision to partner with National Bookkeeping who are taking on licensees and helping them to start their own bookkeeping business.

Yes, we got all that from content marketing! Because through our content marketing, we got to know you, our readers, and what you were interested in and that allowed us to look for the types of courses and business opportunities that would interest you. You can do the same for your business too.

Learn about content marketing from the experts

If you’d like to learn about content marketing, our new content marketing course is currently in development. We’re working with an Australian journalist, a successful small business owner, and a digital marketing specialist to create a relevant, easy-to-follow course that’ll guide you through the process step-by-step. In the meantime, you can subscribe to our blog to continue reading our posts, where we’ll keep you updated on how it’s progressing.

If you’re looking for the opportunity to start your own home-based bookkeeping business, we recommend you get in touch with National Bookkeeping, who is taking on licensees. We’ve made all of our courses available to them, which will include our content marketing course when it becomes available so their licensees can learn all about starting and operating their own bookkeeping business.

What about content marketing for real estate agents

We’ve recently become aware of the need for real estate agents to build their own personal profile and credibility online. Property vendors who want to sell their property are (like the rest of us) increasing looking online for selling agents who have good experience and great reputation to sell their properties at the highest possible price and as quickly as possible. Watch this space as we learn more.