Free Photos for your Content Marketing

Top 10 places to bag yourself great images for free.

Did you know that a tweet with a picture is 18% more likely to get a click through that one without? Every business or personal account needs great imagery to accompany blog posts and social media content. So as we update our social media calendar and blog schedule, I’ve been on the hunt for great new images to accompany our content. Sourcing these images in advance may seem like a long process but it can save you valuable time throughout the year, helping you get your blogs and posts updated regularly and on time. So here are my top 10 tips on sourcing free photos for your content marketing:

1. You! The best source of imagery can come from you. Taking your own images allows you to tailor it to fit your theme or topic perfectly whilst adding more of a personal touch to your work. You don’t need a fancy, top of the range camera to take great quality photos when smartphones can offer great picture quality making it easier than ever to capture the perfect photo. The quality, however, does range between different smartphones and brands so just ensure that the image is a suitable pixel resolution – find out which smartphones have the best cameras here. But, like me, you may not always have time to capture that perfect image yourself so I have often had to resort to numbers 2-10

2. Unsplash Unsplash has one of the largest collections of great online images that I have come across. You can search by collection or keywords which make it easy and accessible for everyone to use. Unsplash doesn’t require you to set up an account if you don’t want to, which saves you from the unwanted emails that many free image websites can flood you with.

Here’s an example of how we have used Unsplash on our blog: How to write a PR Brief

3. Picjumbo Picjumbo, like Unsplash, offers stock photos which do not look very stock-y. Typical ‘lady sitting behind desk’ stock photos don’t inspire much interest, and  Picjumbo offers a great alternative to this – offering images that are a bit more interesting and unique.

4. New Old Stock This site is rather different, offering top quality copyright free vintage images from public archives. These images are great for adding a unique touch to blog posts or fitting in with a more vintage and retro theme. The only issue is that New Old Stock is very specific and it doesn’t offer what everyone is looking for.

5. Gratisography Although Gratisography may not have the same number of photos as Picjumbo or Unsplash, they make up for it in originality. Where else could you search the term ‘rabbit’ and get hits of a man dressed up as a rabbit in a tie reading a newspaper? Albeit, if you are aiming for a simple image of a cute bunny munching on a carrot, Gratisography may not be the free image site for you, but it offers eye-catching photos – all for free.

6. Canva Canva is my new obsession in the office. Not only can it be used to add text and layouts to photos and designs, Canva has a great stock of simple and transferable images you can use for free or thousands of others available from just $1. The great thing about Canva is that it is not everyone’s go-to site for free images, the photograph function is just one of the many of its features, therefore the images aren’t used as often as many, more obvious, stock photo websites.

7. Pixabay Pixabay is great for a range of top quality photographs. You can tailor your search to a particular orientation or photograph size making it easier to pick photos which cater to the specific requirements of certain social media sites. You can also narrow down searches by colour, meaning that if your blog or posts require a certain colour scheme you do not have to sift through endless photos to find your perfect match.

8. Life of Pix Life of Pix offers a platform for photographers to upload their photos for others to use for free. As a result Life of Pix is regularly uploaded with a whole spectrum of different styles and artists. You can even follow, like and share your favourite photographers and images creating a social-networking vibe to the site, presenting stock photos as more of an art and hobby than a corporate necessity.

9. Jay Mantri All photos on the website are taken by Jay Mantri himself. Many of Mantri’s images are from his beach holidays but he also includes many of urban landscapes and materials, with a unique and modern style. He releases new photos every Thursday and allows any use of all photographs.

10.  Death to the Stock Photo Death to the Stock Photo offers a great service where you sign up to a mailing list and each month you are sent a zip file with interesting and beautiful images. Once the month is over the images are removed and replaced with new ones, meaning that the stock photos are not often overused online.

So there we have it. 10 of my favourite sources of perfect high-quality images for your blogs and social media content, without any stress of copyright laws.

Amendment: September 2017

We are constantly coming across more great sites to bag yourself free images, so why stop at 10? Here are a few more of our favourite finds since writing this blog six months ago.

Burst: Although Burst is a fairly new platform, it’s image base is vast and growing every day. Search by popular categories, keywords or get the new images sent straight to your mailbox.

MMT: Another great platform built off the back of a love for photography, the stock mainly features nature, city scenes and workspaces.

Kaboom: Kaboom is perfect if you have a photo in mind. Being able to filter results according to colour and orientation, makes it a great tool for finding exactly what you need.

Styled Stock: This platform provides stock photos of all things girly, from makeup to flowers to fashion.

Negative Space: Negative space once again has a wide range of high-resolution stock photos which are easy to search through and quickly download.

FINAL CREDITS

Image sourced from Unsplash.

 

Sam Hayes

Intern at Nellie PR

New PR and Marketing Intern

We have a new PR and marketing intern at Nellie PR and it’s me – Sam Hayes.

I’m following in good footsteps.  Other interns at Nellie PR have included Hollie-Anne Brooks and Luke Bristow who both blogged about their experiences back in the day: journalist turns PR intern and PR agency appoints PR intern and have gone on to do great things. Nellie PR also pays all its interns and champions better internships that are accessible to all so another big thumbs up from me.

So, I’m really excited to take on the challenge of being Nellie PR’s new intern. It’s a great opportunity to dive into the deep end and explore what PR and marketing are all about and gain some real-life business experience, and absolutely fabulous PR and marketing skills.

My enthusiasm and drive to learn as much as I can over my next year or so here puts me in a good place to take on any challenge that will come my way.  I’ve worked with a wide variety of teams and people throughout my work as a waitress and maths tutor, which I now hope to expand even further through my work for Nellie PR (but without having to make so many lattes or dealing with too many quadratic formulas).

Originally I come from just outside London, so the view of the gorgeous Devon coastline from our office in Teignmouth is a refreshing change. I’m currently in my second year of reading History at the University of Exeter. Off campus, I am learning (or attempting to learn…most of my time is spent falling flat on my face) how to wakeboard. My main off-campus focus, however, is hopefully to get to know all the lovely Nellie PR clients and contribute blog posts, interviews and much more to Nellie PR.

I am hoping that working for Nellie PR and consequently a whole host of different companies and projects, that I will gain a wide variety of skills that will set me up for a long career in public relations after university. One of my first and ongoing jobs is to run our social media accounts, so hopefully your timelines and newsfeeds will be full of Nellie PR news, updates and events soon enough. Please follow @nelliepr on Twitter to keep up to date on my work and efforts here at Nellie PR.

FINAL CREDITS

Image sourced from Unsplash.

Wakeboarding photo supplied by Sam.

 

Sam Hayes

Intern at Nellie PR

New Devon Office for Nellie PR

Teignmouth Pavilions

We have a new home – Nellie PR has opened an office at The Pavilions in Teignmouth and it is very much the start of a love affair with our new seaside business home.  Yes, we have a sea view :-)

So with this love affair well and truly underway, expect a regular We Love Teignmouth feature starting now – five things you might not know about Teignmouth.

  1. Let’s start with Muse. Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard all come from this quaint seaside town and all went to school at Teignmouth Community College. Their song Falling Down is even apparently based on their teenage years in Teignmouth. Keep an eye out for them popping back home every now and again.
  2. Donald Crowhurt, the British businessman and amateur sailor, set off on the Sunday Times Golden Globe yacht race from right here in Teignmouth in 1968. Crowhurt aimed to sail around the world single-handedly but infamously Crowhurt’s boat, the Teignmouth Electron, was found adrift and empty in 1969
  3. The Mercy, the biopic based on Donald Crowhurt was filmed in Teignmouth starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz.  Can’t wait for this film to come out (expected 27th October 2017).  Our only regret is that we didn’t move into our office in time to watching filming.
  4. Teignmouth was the last seaside town in England to have been invaded by a foreign army. Prior to this, Teignmouth has been the subject of many invasions by Saxons and Celts who fought a battle on the Ness, the Danes and the French, twice! In 1690 a French invasion even led to the destruction of a lot of the town
  5. The port of Teignmouth is perhaps more active today than it’s ever been! 200 year old ball and fire clays are mined from the lower Teign valley and are then shipped to countries from Finland to Italy.

Want know more, just give us a call at our Teignmouth office.

FINAL CREDITS

Image sourced from Pavilions Teignmouth.

 

Sam Hayes

Intern at Nellie PR

New Year Business Resolutions

New Year Business Resolutions
I don’t believe in New Year resolutions – business revolutions are more my thing and at any time of the year. It just so happens that the best time of the year for me is now. Why?

The Power of Time Off

I’ve taken some time out thanks to maternity leave and have come back with a renewed passion and excitement for my business, for me and the people I work with and the work that I do. The sun is shining (right now) and Nellie PR will be celebrating its 10th year anniversary next year so I’m giving myself a rare pat on the back for getting this far and writing down my New Year business revolutions.

And, with all revolutions, I’m breaking the rules – not setting specifics goals – I’m just writing my wishlist down to keep me on track. Here goes – these are the changes I want to make.

The Business Wishlist

  • Write, just write more. I’d forgotten the joy in writing, writing for yourself, for and about your own business and sharing your knowledge. My goal is to write (at least) a weekly blog post providing PR tips and advice, and share the ups and downs of my business as I grow. I also want to set up my own personal blog
  • Become Watertight. A few years ago I was on the first cohort of the Watertight Marketing masterclass aimed at putting a watertight marketing plan into action to grow your business. It took me a while to get going but I’m finally on it. I’m fixing my leaks, finished my marketing plan and back out there, marketing again, growing my business
  • A new name. Nellie PR was named after my mum. Not the rapper, not the singer and most certainly not the elephant. Whilst I don’t think it has lost me business, I don’t think has done me any favours either and doesn’t really reflect what I do
  • Buy some great stationery, organiser and a pen. I going to buy this bright pink Filofax. The Filofax is Made in England so I can support our manufacturing industry while at the same time indulging in my love for a to do list, pretty paper and the magic of good-looking stationery. I’ve also got my eye out on a new fountain pen. I’m really fussy on the pen front so this could take a while, but I’m going to make a conscious effort to write down my ideas. A decent office chair (good on the old back) is also on my shopping list and being brave enough to take my fitball with me when I’m hot-desking
  • Get a view. I ditched the office a while ago. It is amazing what a difference a great space can do to motivate and inspire you to produce better work and be more creative. I want to seek out more creative places to work like Unit Seven with its fabulous harbour view, and sort out a new home office
  • Exercise more. This business girl can and will commit to exercising more, at least three times a week. Not only is it good for my health and figure, it also makes great business sense. You’ll be surprised how many ideas you come up in while busting your aqua fit moves to the Ace of Spades
  • Sort out my image. When I look at the Nellie PR website I shudder – it doesn’t reflect what we do and doesn’t look good. I’m building a new brand. A new website is just one part of it and you’ll be getting a sneak preview soon. When you look good, you feel good, and I’m definitely going to sort out great images to go with my blog posts
  • Offer more. I’ve been asked time and time again to provide training, to run workshops, to help businesses and business people do their own PR. No more excuses, I’ve got out there and been doing it, and I’m busy working on a range of PR and content workshops. Hope to tell you about these very soon
  • Don’t do it alone. I’ve expanded and taken on a small team of content writers and a PR consultant, and looking for more talent to join our team. I want to collaborate, share and get out more, build a stronger network and start up my own regular event
  • Stop waiting for the right time. In making these revolutions, I realised it doesn’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to wait until everything is ready. Just writing my wishlist is enough, enough to start doing, to start making changes
  • Take time out, regularly…

How about You?

Over to you – are you making changes, setting up new business goals? Don’t wait till the New Year – I would love to hear from you right now. Come on drop me a line, tweet me a tweet, pick up the phone, and share your New Year revolutions with me.

FINAL CREDITS

Photo by Lauren Peng @Unsplash

Ellen Carroll

PR champion with a passion for profitable PR and newsworthy content. Setting up Nellie PR in 2007, Ellen has over 20 years’ experience in the PR and marketing industry.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook

How to Write a PR Brief

Looking for a new Public Relations agency? A PR brief is key to finding a good match.

In my time at the PR coalface, I’ve managed numerous PR agencies and been on the receiving end of countless PR briefs – the good, the bad and the downright shameless i.e. expecting a marathon hoop-jumping exercise and the most over-ambitious of requirements in return for the tiniest of budgets. I’ve also written my fair share of briefs and what follows is my handy checklist – whether you are appointing your first-ever PR agency or freelancer or seeking a new agency to replace your incumbent.

Choosing a PR agency is always nerve-racking experience – mainly due to your fears of appointing the wrong one. That’s why getting your PR brief in order is so important – it reduces that ‘poor choice’ risk and means that you are more likely to find a good match for you and your business.

A good PR brief should challenge and inspire people to want to work with you and do a great job. It should also act as a deterrent, putting off the wrong people for the job.

In terms of the basics, try and limit your brief to a maximum of three pages, invite responses from at least five agencies and select three of the best to come meet you and present their recommendations. Always give feedback and enjoy a great relationship with the people you choose. People always work at their best and their hardest for the people and businesses they like.

Checklist – What to Include in your PR Brief:

Your Brief

A summary of your brief and requirements – you’ll go into more detail later in your brief, but don’t be afraid to sell yourself, especially if you are a start-up or an unknown name. If you are passionate about your business and what you want to achieve, your brief should illustrate that and help encourage the passion and talent of the best PR people to take up the challenge of responding to your brief. You want them to want to work with you.

Background

In this section, you should provide some background information about your company, team, target audiences, key products or service, and your core focus. It is also useful to note some of your competitors and whether, for example, you’ve used a PR agency before. You can refer people to website links for more information.

Objectives

List what you want to achieve – your overall objective and aims.

Don’t be afraid to say what is on your ultimate wish list or what success would look like to you. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Or, in the words of Nora Roberts: “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

Requirements & Measurement

Actual specifics in terms of deliverables – the measurable outcomes you want to achieve. You can also use this section to include the remit i.e. UK-only focus, 12-month campaign, tactics you want including such as social media management.

How the PR agency will be able to demonstrate return of investment will be core moving forward, so outline how the success of the campaign will be measured, and list your key performance indicators (KPIs) such as specifics on deliverables and outcomes i.e. on share of voice, number of leads generated etc.

Budget

Always include details of your maximum budget. Even if it’s a ballpark or sliding scale, the inclusion of a budget will ensure that the responses to your brief are on target. The inclusion of a budget will also help exclude those agencies that ‘don’t get out of bed for less.’

The Process and Timetable

It is always useful to include a timetable of what happens when. For example, when the pitch interview and presentation will take place, and the end date for receiving initial responses. Let the agency know how many agencies you will be inviting to pitch and limit this to a maximum of three. Any more than this – a lot of agencies won’t be willing to take part.

Expectations

Be very clear on your expectations for pitch the process and the next steps.

For example, confirm that you require the presentation to be carried out by the people/person who would be working on the account. Some agencies, unfortunately, bring out their best people to wow you at the presentation stage, only to leave the business lumbered with an inexperienced junior.

I always also recommend that you ask for testimonials and contact details for their clients you can speak to.

Confidentiality and Any Other Business

In this section you can add in important clauses such as confidentiality.

In order to understand your business better, some agencies will want to talk to some of your customers and key media and to ensure they get a better feel for your business and what you need to achieve. Be very clear if you DON’T want this to happen.

Contact Details

Stating the obvious here, but include your details so the PR agency has a point of contact to get further information and knows who they can speak to as part of their research.

Need to Know More?

Hope you’ve found my checklist on how to write a PR brief useful. If you want to know more, or require a little extra help, please give me a shout. If it’s writing a marketing brief you want help with, check out this blog post on how to write a marketing brief by our friends at Watertight Marketing.

Finally, some tips from those in the know on what you should include in your PR brief:

Daljit Bhurji from Diffusion: “Be crystal clear on your maximum budget and set very clear measurable KPIs for your prospective agency.”

Patrick Smith at Joshua PR: “Be honest about your real requirements.”

Bryony Thomas, Watertight Marketing: “Why people would be interested.”

FINAL CREDITS 

Photo by Dustin Lee at Unsplash

 

Ellen Carroll

PR champion with a passion for profitable PR and newsworthy content. Setting up Nellie PR in 2007, Ellen has over 20 years’ experience in the PR and marketing industry.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook