Why you NEED Original Content

Original content. We've heard this phrase over and over lately. And for good reason. With the boom of social media gravitating toward photo and video, everyone is becoming more conscience of the types of content that is being posted and shared online.

If you are thinking to yourself, what is 'original content' exactly? That's okay. Original content is basically any content, whether it's a graphic, image/photo, video, meme or anything else that you create for yourself. Yes, that means you (or your hired photographer) is the one taking the photo, adding the graphic overlay and editing until the final image is produced.  Sounds like a lot of work, right? It can be. But it's so important for you (yes, you!) as a business owner to create your own content.

So...why create your own content when there is a vast tunnel of stock images, Google photos, fun quotes, graphics, and just about anything you need at the tip of your fingers? The answer is simple: you are your own brand and your brand needs it's own content. You may find an amazing stock photo online, but most likely so did 500+ other business owners. And they are using the same image multiple times, just like you. You may scroll through social media (particularly Pinterest & Instagram) and find the most amazing quote or graphic. It's easy to screen shot and immediately re-post. But that is called stealing. And beyond just the legal implications with copyright infringement, you are regurgitating the same content that hundreds (or millions) of others have shared. You aren't sharing your own story, ideas, insights. It's repurposed. 

Going back to the legal implication because that is scary and I'm sure jumped right out at you...(note: I am NOT a legal expert, get a lawyer if you have detailed questions) but I do know that there have been cases where photographers, artists and content creators have taken action and filed suit against those that have 'stolen' their work. If you are using any image/photo/graphic/quote without permission or without purchasing, you are running a major risk. A risk that may lead to lawyer fees and potentially much more down the line. Learn about copyright infringement (and how it can cost you $8,000) here

So at this point, you are likely saying to yourself, 'whatever, everyone does it.' I get it. I see business owners share or re-post images on a daily basis to their own social media profiles. And yes, they often give photo credit (with the camera emoji or a simple tag back), BUT that doesn't mean that is okay. You need permission from the original source before sharing and sometimes just providing the photo credit won't make the cut. If you're still thinking...I'll be fine. Take that route - the easy one, if you dare. But as creators get smarter, there is more risk involved in stealing content. And why steal when creating your own content is so easy and fun?!

Here is an example. I currently manage 8+ social media accounts at once. When I first started social media management, I would often re-post or share content that others were creating, as long as it connected with the brand. This is fine and worked well, for the most part. But I knew deep down that this was not the best option for myself or the businesses I worked with. After doing my research and learning more about the importance of creating original content, I transitioned to curating my own (and my client's) social feeds to only incorporate original content. That means I physically take my own photos - using an iPhone or DSLR, edit, add on graphics and text overlays, until the image is complete and ready to be shared. Yes, it is a more time consuming process. But the results are so much better. And the risk? None.

I was recently looking at my Instagram feed and had to 'pat myself on the back.' My last 38 photos are all photos that I took and edited myself. Woohoo! That may not seem like a huge feat, but I challenge you to scroll through your own IG feed and evaluate how many of the images you have actually taken? And are there more than 10 or 15 in a row that are all original to you?

So, we've talked about the risk of sharing others content for your business social media, blog or website, but what about the benefits of creating your own content? This answer is also simple. By creating your own content you are giving your audience an authentic view of your business. You are showcasing your services, products, experience, clients and anything else that makes your brand unique. People want to see what's going on behind-the-scenes. They want to see what a typical day looks like in your world. Re-posting content from other brands or individuals does not do that. It is showing a perspective from another brand's story. The results? My clients have seen a huge boom in engagement online and uptick in followers. Same for my personal brand. The work pays off, as I receive more client inquiries that lead to contracts. Want to know a few easy tips to create your own original content? Here ya go!

1. Set time (1x per week or 1x per month) to create styled photos. you can use your iPhone for this or invest in a starter DSLR camera! Make sure to focus on great natural lighting. Keep the images stockpiled on your iPhone or Dropbox folder for easy access when you need content. 

2. Not the best at photography? Hire a photographer to snap your monthly images. If you are worried about budget, try to find a local photographer that can offer a discounted rate to a fellow biz owner in exchange for promotions. Or contact your local college to see if any photography students are interested in a 'photography internship.'

3. Download free and affordable apps to create graphics and overlays. a few I use daily include Canva, Picmonkey.com (pay the $33 yearly subscription, so worth it!) or try apps for your iPhone like WordSwag (around $1.99 to download). 

Make creating original content a focus for you and your business. I did it and it's helped my brand tremendously. So much that I have clients that pay me to create original content for them! What are your favorite tips, apps and programs that you use to make your own content?

Want to learn more about my social media services? Let's chat.

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