Marketing Pitfalls: Image Use

The wonderful world of Google search has made Marketing so much…. more complex! All high level Marketing and SEO aside, Google has made it incredibly easy to grab virtually any image and use it as your own. But what seems like a dream can quickly turn into a nightmare.

I Wish I Would Have Known

As a marketing professional it’s my job to think (a little too much) about images. It’s simply a part of my daily life. But as a pastor, youth leader, or volunteer – where and how you obtain images just isn’t something you typically think twice about. That’s natural. And that’s why this information exists.

It’s so easy to just hop on Google, type in “inspirational quotes” and save an image for your website. Why not? If it’s on Google it must be free right? Wrong. Google crawls the web searching for relevant images, free or not, to match your search. That means that just grabbing an image from a basic image search (regardless of search engine) could be illegal!

Above Reproach

Obviously as a church or ministry the last email or letter we want to receive is a cease and desist because of a silly image we added to our site or social media page. It’s important to know where your images are coming from and having full permission to use them. My advice: if you don’t know the source- don’t use it.

“If you don’t know the source- Don’t Use it!”

A Better Solution

But there’s a solution to all this. First, you can use your own images that your staff take. But this is time consuming, tedious, and often a lot of work. If you don’t have the time or resources for your own photos then check out some stock photo options.

I think I just saw you cringe at the word stock photos. What were the first thoughts that came into your head? Paying out lot of money for images? Tacky photos with as many different smiling people in as possible? Believe it or not, stock photos have evolved into some decent resources. Granted, you may have to be a little more creative. There are some great FREE options out there!

Stock Photo Resources

My personal favorite stock photo website is Death to the Stock Photo
Simply sign up and you’ll receive a free monthly packet of photos. There’s also a paid subscription for more options.

Another great resource for stock photos (and Marketing advise) is Hub Spot.
Hubspot offers not only their own photos, but more links to additional stock photo resources.

A third option is Negative Space.
Negative Space adds new photos every week and all are under a creative commons license. That means you can use them as you please without asking permission or giving credit.

Final Thoughts

Images are essential for making your website pop and your social networks engaging. Don’t skimp on images in fear of repercussions. Read stock photo licensing info to ensure they are free to use for your marketing purposes. Then, start a folder of stock photos and get started jazzing up your digital platforms!