Grab your tea or coffee...and pull up a chair, friends. Today, I'm going to share top tips regarding using other people's images in your blogs....a big part of blogging etiquette.
This is an older post I’ve updated a little bit, given that #KBIS2019, the Design Influencers Conference and #HPMKT are all coming up this spring, 3 events where there will be lots of blogs written.
So, first, what is good blogging etiquette with respect to using another designer's images?
Ask written permission from the designer, whose work you admire, if you can use one of their images.
Make sure YOU, as the blogger, take the responsibility to ask the designer if they own the right to give you permission to use that image.
Some of you who are newer designers/bloggers may not realize that the designer/other blogger you are requesting permission from doesn’t own the right to give you permission to use the image you’re requesting. You could find yourself in an unwanted lawsuit, because you didn’t know that, so always ask > “Do you have permission from your photographer to let me use this image?
In this way, we also protect the livelihoods of our photographer friends.
NOTE: always get it spelled out in writing in your agreements with your photographers - before the photoshoot - where you have the right to use the image and who you have permission to give the image to, should a request come in for it. Don’t leave yourself open to a lawsuit from the photographer.
( And if you missed our most popular post: #GetPublished, Our 5 Top Tips For Great Photoshoots That Help You Get Your Work Published More Often, where we used images, with permission, from Laura Schwartz Muller of FourPointDesignBuild, click here to read that, after you finish reading this.
Always place a live link, (know in blogging lingo as *proper attribution*) back to that designer's website or blog, so they get the SEO (Google search engine optimization) juice from your blog.
NOTE: This live link from one blog to another is what’s known as a backlink. High quality backlinks from one highly ranked site with great content to another helps you build your SEO > your blog’s ability to rank higher in the search engines when consumers are searching for your services or products.
It is always a nice idea to ask the designer, when you are getting their permission to use their photo, where on their site they would like your live link to point to: their blog, their home page, etc.
A live link can point to anywhere! Maybe they want it to point to their email opt in giveaway...if they have that on a separate landing page, with a separate URL for it, like #DesignWealth Group member. Ana Damaris Then does of Miami based White Linen Interiors. See how she does it, here.
UPDATED NOTE: Very smartly, Ana has put her landing page link in her Instagram bio, so instead of driving people to linktr.ee or another similar site, her live link in her Instagram bio drives people to the custom landing page on her own website, thereby increasing her website traffic and giving her the opportunity to put front and center her priority call to actions, including signing up for her newsletter and blog.
Placing a live link in your post next to or below an image that says, *SOURCE* or *PINTEREST* or *XYX magazine*, is not considered proper attribution. I see so many well known bloggers and designers doing this and to me, it indicates laziness.
You can use Google's Reverse Image Search functionality to find the designer of any image you like. It may take a little time, but if you read the small snippet of metadata below each image you find on Google, you will eventually find the actual source.
Okay. Now, let's talk about affiliate product links. Unless you ask the designer in writing if it is ALSO okay to place affiliate product links on items in their image, it is not good blogging etiquette to do that.
Why? Well, would you want someone making money off of your design work, and/or photography work, without your permission? Probably not, right?
What happens when you do this, anyway? You create a lack of trust amongst your fellow bloggers within the blogging community and don't encourage their goodwill.
And you may say to yourself, "I don't care what my fellow bloggers think...and I am willing to deal with whatever copyright issues are thrown at me." And that’s okay and your right…but just remember….both brands and your fellow designers/bloggers are noticing and fewer opportunities will come your way as a result.
WHEN IS IT OK TO USE OTHER PEOPLE'S IMAGES FOR AFFILIATE PRODUCT LINKING?
The only time when it is okay to use images that are not yours or that you don’t have written permission to use for purposes of putting affiliate links behind them, is when those images come from a manufacturer's own site or when you are getting from a free resource or a site where you are paying to get a subscription for images, like Adobe Stock Photos.
If the mfg. has the image on their own site, and your affiliate link links to a product from that manufacturer, you are supporting the sale of the manufacturer's own products. Manufacturers appreciate that.
For instance, below you will see the covers of 4 of the 4 page mini-magazines that we have designed for four of our Savour Partnership clients.
In each of these magazines, there are affiliate links, but the images used for these links (that our clients curated and selected) came only from the manufacturers's own sites, and link back to that manufacturer, so that our clients are supporting the sale of that manufacturer's products.
In addition, all of the design work in these mini-magazines is the work of our own clients, so they are not using anyone else's images to support their ability to make passive income from their curated product selections, backed by affiliate links, that are in their mini-magazines, that live on their websites and blogs.
I hope this post helps clear up any confusion you have re: the use of other people's images, (#OPI) and if you all have any questions about other aspect of blogging etiquette, please ask them in the comments, or over in our Facebook Group, http://facebook.com/groups/designwealth, and I will be happy to answer them for you.
One last thought...that applies to blogging, too.
And one more top tip for you! The images I used in this post came from the site, www.unsplash.com, where all the gorgeous images are yours to use, for free. Another to use? www.pexel.com.
And if you have other free sites that you like for finding images, please leave that information in the comments, so this post on blogging etiquette using other people’s images will become a resource.
And, lastly...if you think other bloggers/designers/creatives you know, would find this post helpful, please consider sharing it with them!
The Kaleidoscope Partnership + co-owner, Savour Partnership