Looking to boost your online marketing game? Visual and written content are both must-haves!

Whether you’re interested in strengthening your brand identity with quality social media graphics, or you want to spice up your website with beautiful stock images, you’ll need to make sure you start on the right foot.

With the rise of independent artists and the mass availability of online material, businesses need to be on the alert against copyright infringement in their marketing.

Here are three reasons it’s important that businesses produce and distribute materials that are unique to them:

  1. Your brand identity will suffer from a lack of originality.

  2. Stolen or unlicensed images (found from Google) are likely to be poor quality files that have been manipulated and mass-produced.

  3. It is illegal to use copyrighted images without author permission or accreditation.

So we should only use original, ethically-acquired photography for our visual marketing. Where do we start?

Use Open Source Images in Your Marketing

When it comes to visual content like graphics or images, you need to be sure your materials are in the public domain, and not subject to copyright law.

Here are some tried and true ways to stay in the clear…

  • Use your own photos. It’s great for marketing when businesses have their own quality photography! This can be as simple as hiring a trusted photographer to take pictures of your location, products, or services in action.

  • Use stock photography. There are some resources out there that are well worth the subscription. With photo banks like iStock and Getty Images, you have access to millions of quality pics. Looking for a cheaper option? Check out royalty-free alternatives such as Freepik, Stocksnap, Unsplash, and Pexels.

  • Use vendor photography. Are you a licensed retailer of existing products? You can find or request top-quality images directly from vendors, providing the perfect option for royalty-free marketing.

Most free stock photos aren’t licensed or subject to copyright restrictions. This means you can copy, modify, and distribute them, even for commercial purposes, without asking permission.

On the other hand, some photos may require author attribution. When we encounter this at Sprout, we’re sure to credit the photo in a caption or in the text body. If you’re not sure about certain materials, try to hunt down the source or author to determine which license they fall under.

Avoiding Plagiarism in Your Written Copy

This one is straightforward enough. As a general rule, never copy and paste written material from the web for your own purposes without citing the author or receiving direct permission.

Here are some ways to share great content without getting in trouble:

  • Share it! As in, hit the share button. Social media content is a great way to promote relevant industry content. It includes all the necessary accreditation, and links directly to the source.

  • Create your own content. Hire a trusted partner to write your marketing materials, then share them via print, blogs, or website copywriting. This then becomes original material that you own. 

  • Use client or vendor material. Businesses can share and promote excerpts of written content in the form of client testimonials or approved vendor messaging. Make sure you cite your sources appropriately!

SEO and Plagiarism

If you’re considering the copy/paste route for some quick and easy marketing, think again. In addition to potential legal action, Google also penalizes a website’s SEO for plagiarism.

As a system of digital robots, Google is constantly scanning the web for duplicated content. Copying and recycling material, even from yourself, will diminish the SEO value of your materials. This is because, in addition to legal protections, Google strives for spamless content. If a business has thousands of web pages out there, all saying the same exact thing, odds are they’re trying to cheat the SEO game so their site gets found in searches, all at the expense of fresh, quality content.

Infringement-Free Marketing With Sprout

Visual Marketing

  • We purchase quality stock photography or use approved client photos in all of our marketing for businesses.

  • We create custom graphics for our clients in-house, ensuring complete originality and client ownership.

  • We use the trusted graphic design resource 99Designs for logo creation. This resource comes with its own copyright checker, ensuring one-of-a-kind design.

Content Marketing

  • We write quality original material in collaboration with business owners.

  • When promoting existing materials (social media posts, testimonials) we cite all sources.

  • We provide skillful SEO copywriting for businesses seeking to produce numerous targeted landing pages.

Not sure whether your marketing is up to code in terms of copyrights? Get started marketing with Sprout today! Let’s see where we can help.