Content given away for free? Are you crazy?

What makes someone feel they want to pay you for content?

What has copyright got to do with content providers anyway?

It’s interesting. I joined Pixabay some time ago and was impressed by the general quality of free images on the site that were copyright free. In act that might be an understatement: I was bloody delighted!

As a content writer, blogger and general digital marketing ‘ne’er-do-well’ I am always scrabbling about for killer images.   The whole image search problem has become quite an issue. Running into potential copyright tangles is always something I try to avoid.

So, earlier in the year I spoke at a conference run by BAPLA ( British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies). The conference focused on copyright. Various questions were raised and answered including:

Can I still license and what is the impact of copyright exceptions

what’s the future of copyright and then my area: social media: potential or pitfall?

I have to say I shocked the audience with my stance as representative of many social media marketers. I did actually hear a sharp intake of breath. I think I shocked some of the delegates when I stated most social media marketers don’t want to scrabble around for copyright – they don’t have time and they don’t have the budget to pay the massive charges some major picture libraries levy. That doesn’t mean we want to break the law, we just want a way round it.

In fact companies like Pixabay have understood the need and capitalised on it very effectively. I don’t even have to offer attribution for images. It’s an amazing service.

Therefore companies like Pixabay give us social media marketers a warm fuzzy feeling when we go looking for copyright images to share. In fact I use them almost exclusively unless I have the time to produce my own photos. Every day I see the same screen:

It’s a public domain stock photos site and it’s free. Of course if you want to buy Shuttlestock pics you can. But for mere mortals there is enough good quality and interesting photographs to solve most needs. What’s interesting is how the site is laid out. You are asked whether you would like to donate enough money to buy the photographer a coffee. It’s a straightforward bargain. You give me a photo, I’ll buy you a coffee. How could anyone refuse?

I have to confess to not doing it for a while. But each time I downloaded another pic the guilt increased. As I used Pixabay more and more I realised just how unfair I was being. What would I actually do without this service? It was a classic case of proving worth, creating need and then reaping the reward.

This week, dear reader, you’ll be delighted to learn I back paid my outstanding coffee bill(s).  I will continue to do it periodically. That really is the beginning of brand loyalty and as a further thank you I am writing content promoting Pixabay. I am a convert and an advocate. You can’t get better than that.

Click here for the current thinking re UK copyright and extended collective licensing which it has to be said, is a minefield.

Vivienne Neale is a content writer and social media strategist and digital marketer. She is currently working for companies, amongst others, such as The Institute of Maths, Tech Ventures and Reappraise Consulting

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