Think you can use that photo you found on the web? Think again!

It is way too easy to find images on the web. Go onto Google images and you can links to thousands of pictures. But can you use them? Not without permission.

Many people don’t realize that even if an image does not carry a copyright mark, the right to use the image belongs to the photographer. So, you can’t grab an image off the ‘net without permission and you also can’t hotlink to an image on someone else’s site.

What about the concept of “Fair Use”

Fair Use allows copyrighted materials to be used for specific purposes. Fair Use is, however, does not provide a blanket excuse for using copyrighted work without permission and it is far more limited than many people realize.

Fair Use is covered in Section 107 of the Copyright Act.

The fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include –

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

What does that mean? Doesn’t it say materials can be used for news reporting?

Yes and no. The first factor looks the new work, created by using the copyrighted materials, and evaluates it based on whether it is used for non-profit/educational purposes or is commercial in nature (preference is given for non-commercial use); whether it is used for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research (also linked back to the commercial/non profit element) and whether the new work is transformative (giving new meaning to the work) or merely illustrative. For example, if you use a photograph as part of a product review or commentary, you have created something new.  In the case of photos used on http://www.lolcats.com, I suspect that the addition of the captions is considered transformative. However, if you use a photo to support an article, the copy may not have added new expression or meaning to the image.

The second factor looks at whether the materials are worthy of copyright protection. In the case of photography, that actually happens the moment the photographer presses the shutter. Even if a photograph is not marked with a copyright statement it belongs to the photographer until he sells its use.

The third factor looks at how much of the work is used. Ideally you should use as little as possible of the original work — excerpting just enough to make your point. The subfactors include evaluating the quantity, quality and importance of the work used. For example, you can quote from a speech, especially when using the quotes in a new context, but you cannot reproduce an entire book.  With a photograph, that concept is trickier.

The fourth factor considers whether the use of the material will harm the commercial value of the original material to the copyright owner.  In the example above, the website included a photograph on its site that the photographer was selling to similar sites. This has the potential to harm the copyright owner because other people might not feel the need to buy the image either. Depriving the copyright owner of income is usually an indication that the materials do not fall under the Fair Use doctrine.

If you have any concerns about your own use of copyrighted materials, use one of the Fair Use evaluator tools to help you consider your use against the four factors discussed above.

Best Practices “Fair Use” of Copyrighted Materials

If you think your use of materials is “Fair Use” then there are certain protocols that you should follow. The most obvious first step is to ask permission. Many photographers will let you use an image on your blog, especially if you are a “hobby” blog with no commercial interests. Additionally, as was discussed earlier, don’t hotlink to images on someone else’s site. You should upload the images to your own site and then provide a text link back to the source.

I found these “best practices” recommendations on the blog A Photo Editor.

  • Always include the photographer’s name and links to both the image(s) you are writing about and their portfolio in your story or in the caption to the image.
  • The destination of the anchor link for the image should be the page where the image was found (most blogging platforms have the anchor link to a larger size image so this has to be changed manually).
  • The bare minimum number of images should be used to make your point. You want to pique the readers interest so they visit the photographers site to see a full selection of images.
  • Use a screenshot of the image (instead of downloading the file used on their site) and include as much of the surrounding page as possible so it’s obvious that the image came from another website.
  • The end result should always be that readers, who find the photograph interesting, click to visit the photographer’s site.

What does this mean for you and your clients?

To keep on the right side of copyright law you should never use a photograph without paying for the use or obtaining permission to use the photograph . . . in writing.

Make sure that when you purchase the use of a photograph that you spell out all possible uses and time periods that the image will be part of your/your clients’ materials. Over the years we’ve found that once an image is incorporated into marketing materials it “pops up” in other places because internal staff doesn’t realize that buying the use for the image in a brochure doesn’t mean that it can be used for an ad, or on the website.

In fact, here’s a real-life example of how a company got caught using an image downloaded from the web — and how much it ended up costing their agency.

Legal lesson learned: Copywriter pays $4000 for $10 photo

http://blog.webcopyplus.com/2011/02/14/legal-lesson-learned-copywriter-pays-4000-for-10-photo/

My Favorite Free Communications Tools

I am frequently amazed by how many excellent communications tools are now available for free. Just a few years ago they were either not available at all or were expensive. Now, with a little time and ingenuity you can express yourself (or promote your clients) in ways we only dreamed about.

Here are a few of my favorites.

  • WordPress: This blogging platform has now evolved into a full fledged Content Management System that rivals Drupal and Joomla but which (IMHO) is much more intuitive to use for the non-programmer. Not only is the platform itself free, but there are thousands of free templates, to give you a customized look and feel, and innumerable free plug-ins that provide a wide variety of functionality. I use both WordPress.com and WordPress.org, depending on the application. Certainly for the complete novice, the hosted platform at WordPress.com is a blessing. My 11 year old daughter set up a blog by herself in less than an hour on WordPress!
  • Freeconference.com: This free webconferencing service is easy to use and works pretty well. Only once have I had a problem with the sound quality.
  • YouTube: With a little imagination you can create your own broadcasting channel on any topic you want. While it’s helpful to provide your own content, even that’s not necessary: You can bring other people’s videos into your Channel using playlists.
  • Blog Booker: Turn your blog into a PDF book in less than five minutes. It works like a charm!
  • Self-publish your e-Book in a number of electronic formats including Amazon Digital Text Platform (DTP), Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble PubIt. While these services don’t charge you for creating your book, all do take royalties on sales.

Of course there are also platforms such as Twitter, FaceBook, and LinkedIn for people who want to stay connected.

The hardest part is keeping track of all of the new offerings. I’ve really been enjoying the proliferation of these new digitally available platforms and products because they have allowed me to manage my own content on line and present it in visually appealing packages. I was shocked recently to find that I was able to recreate a site that in WordPress that I paid major $$ for someone to build for me in Drupal. The real kicker? Mine looks better.

The benefits of an enhanced YouTube Channel

You may have heard people talking about Enhanced vs. Standard YouTube channels. What exactly does that mean? Standard channels are the ones that anyone can set up using a Google email address. Enhanced channels have additional features and functionality.

Enhanced channels are available to colleges and universities through YouTube’s EDU program or from a Google Content Provider like CMTv.

Here are some of the benefits of an Enhanced Channel as compared to a Standard Channel.

High Impact, Interactive Banners:

Enhanced YouTube Channels feature a “clickable” banner at the top of the page. This allows you to link your Channel directly to your Web site and also to reproduce the “look and feel” of your Web site. This provides direct integration with your existing outreach and provides a more professional look. In fact, YouTube banners are completely mappable so you can link directly to different parts of your school’s website, like the DSU banner, or to different YouTube channels, such as Northwestern. Standard channels have no banner; the only branding is at the top of the screen like you can see on the Curry College channel.

Delaware State University uses mapping to link directly to pages on their website.

Northwestern University highlights its YouTube play lists in its banner.

Curry College has a standard channel. There is no banner; the only branding comes from the college name.

“Instant On” Video:

Enhanced Channels have a “featured video” which plays as soon as you visit the page, immediately engaging your viewers. Standard channels are static. Many colleges and universities use this feature to play a 60-second promotional video.

Branding Boxes:

With an Enhanced YouTube Channel you have blocks to sign up subscribers, link to specific topic areas, and fully active links to other pages and sites. This helps you “push” visitors to the most relevant parts of your Web sites and create direct links to areas of interest. Standard channels have no branding boxes.

Branding boxes allow you to link users back to pages on your Website or other social media.

This box links to a description of the college's video contest.

Curry College uses play lists to help organize their content and make it easier to find.

Comprehensive Analytics:

Enhanced YouTube Channels have access to more extensive data than Standard Channels. This data can can help you fine tune your marketing outreach and target specific geographies and populations.

Extended Play Videos

Break the 10 minute barrier! On standard channels, videos on YouTube are limited to 10 minutes. Enhanced channels can host videos that are several hours long. For colleges and universities this gives you the opportunity to leverage one of your most important assets: your courses. UC Berkeley had made a commitment to offering many of its classes on line. The response has been amazing. Just look at the views on these videos! Think about all the data that they collected by attracting so many viewers.

UC Berkeley features its courses on its YouTube Channel. Take a look at the views!

Turn your blog into a book . . . in less than five minutes

If you’ve been blogging faithfully you’ve probably amassed quite a lot of content. That’s content you want to safeguard, save or maybe repackage it.

But, it’s trapped in WordPress or Blogger so what can you do that’s quick, easy and free? With http://www.blogbooker.com you can turn it into a pdf file that can then be bound into a book or edited and used in other ways!

This program is way cool and, even better, it’s free. First you export your blog files (in WordPress, that’s a tool function), then you upload them onto BlogBooker. Your PDF book is ready almost instantly.

I used it to create a PDF book of the first year of posts from http://www.equineink.com. The book ran slightly more than 450 pages and it includes the text, the images and the comments.

Some people may be able to run with the copy just like that but I’m now editing and reorganizing the files to make them work better in a linear format.

While this is fun for your personal project, think of how it can be applied to professional or client blogs . . . it has never been easier to make your blog into a book.

BlogBooker
Turn your Blog into a PDF Book/Archive.

BlogBooker

Ford’s Social Media Success with Fiesta Launch

Here’s an interesting interview I read in Larry Chase’s newsletter. It really underscores the power of social media when it’s used correctly. Below are excerpts from the interview.

Using Social Media to Pre-Launch a Car in the US

Larry Chase: I saw a statistic about the upcoming US launch of the Ford Fiesta. It said there’s already 37% awareness among those in Generation Y, even though you haven’t spent any money promoting it via paid media. How are you getting that kind of awareness without any media spend?

Scott Monty: The current number is 38% awareness of a vehicle that is not in the market, which is equivalent to the awareness level of vehicles that we have had in the market for two to three years.

Our 100 “agents” out there have produced over 700 videos total. [Note: “Agents” are the 100 people, called “Agents of the Fiesta Movement,” whom Ford chose to drive a Fiesta and to blog about their experiences and create online videos.]

We’ve had over 4.8 million views of the agents’ YouTube videos, over 600,000 views of their Flickr photos and over 3.2 million impressions on Twitter.

LC: How did you get the word out? Did you give these cars away?

SM: They were lent to people for six months. We did a grassroots effort where we used connections we had and connections our agency had and basically got the word out online.

We got over 4,000 applicants for those 100 slots. We narrowed it down, using a number of factors to determine whom we actually selected.

LC: What were your criteria for choosing them?

SM: We looked first and foremost at their ability to create a monthly online video, because that would be a requirement of every agent.

We looked at their “social vibrancy:” how connected they were across a number of social networks and how many connections they had within those social networks. We also looked at the geography of each person.

In reality, this is not just an online campaign. These people are out driving on the street. We needed to think about where they actually were around the country so that we had a pretty good spread out of home as well as online.

LC: How do people find out about these first-person videos about the Fiesta in the United States?

SM: We have aggregated them on FiestaMovement.com. As you can imagine, each of these agents has a significant social network. They all know people who know people who know people. It’s a matter of word of mouth just working its way around.

Cumulative Effect of Paid Media, Earned Media and Owned Media

LC: Tell us about the cross-pollination of Ford’s digital media spend and how the social component is folded into that.

SM: We look at the social component through three forms of media: Paid media, earned media (blog posts, news items and whatnot) and our owned media, material that we produce on a regular basis.

If we can get the three of those interplaying together, it’s going to have a much more powerful effect than relying on social as a grassroots, bottom-up kind of approach and relying on PR and paid ads doing their own thing.

Measuring the Social Media Investment

LC: How is Ford measuring its social media? Are they asking, “Are we getting a proper bang for the buck based on the amount of money we’re paying Scott Monty and his staff and the time and attention of our employees worldwide? Are we getting more out of it than we’re putting in?”

SM: I was the only social media staffer here for a year, so the notion of a global manufacturer having this huge effort is not necessarily the case.

Yes, we’ve had agencies support us, but ultimately, 90% of social media is just showing up, to borrow a phrase from Woody Allen.

A lot of the credit we’re getting for social media is because we (Ford) are showing up. We’re present.

Our social media activities are really geared more around awareness and changing perception and the broad end of the sales funnel rather than the narrow end. It’s not that we put out a Tweet and we sell a car although we have had instances of it.

Humanizing Ford

LC: Somebody bought a car because of Twitter?

SM: In one Twitter conversation, one person says, “I only bought a Ford because of Twitter.” And then he goes on to say, “I bought the Ford because my interest was piqued because of Twitter, and a relationship was created, and they make a great Escape.” And then he responds to someone, “… They built a relationship with me, and I trust Ford.”

Ultimately, we want to break through that barrier of trust. If you look at the Edelman Trust Barometer, it shows that 77% of people trust corporations less in 2009 than in 2008.

Whom do they trust? They trust third-party experts such as Consumer Reports and The New York Times, and they trust people like themselves.

This whole notion of humanizing Ford is to show consumers that there are people just like them at Ford who are intelligent, talented and passionate about the company for a very good reason.

Resource List

Follow Scott Monty on Twitter: @ScottMonty.

Read his personal blog, The Social Media Marketing Blog.

Add your own images!

WordPress templates make creating a blog or a website incredibly easy. There are many choices available at WordPress.com and even more at wordpress.org (.com represents sites hosted by WordPress; .org is where you can download the platform for self-hosted sites).

However, just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean you should be lazy. A fairly high percentage of the blogs I see using WordPress still have the template header photos intact. The whole point of these templates is that you can upload your own images! Talk about making your site generic. Every person who has browsed through the WordPress templates knows what you’ve done.

One of the worst abusers I saw was a self-styled social media maven who left the lovely image of a Caribbean island as her header.  Come on. If you’re going to preach the benefits of blogging, at least learn how to upload an image. Or, if you prefer, use a template without one.

Social Media Consumers More Likely to Buy, Recommend

For those skeptics who don’t believe that Social Media has a measurable impact:

According to a study conducted by research firms Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies, two-thirds (67%) of consumers who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to buy those brands after becoming a follower, and 51% of Facebook fans are more likely to buy after becoming a fan. Moreover, 79% of those who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to recommend those brands after following them, and 60% of Facebook fans say the same for Facebook.

Are companies embracing digital PR with new job titles?

Last year when he published “Sticks and Stones” Larry Weber wrote that companies would need to hire new types of people, in new types of jobs, to fully leverage and embrace social media.

Here’s an interesting interview from Larry Chase’s newsletter with Chris Nadherny, Mr. Nadherny is a senior director of the executive search consulting firm Spencer Stuart, where he is a partner and has led the Digital and Direct Marketing practice since 1997. It gives an idea of how this concept is playing out in real life.

You can read the full interview here. I’ve pulled out some highlights.

Recent Placements in Top Marketing Jobs

Larry Chase: You recruit for Fortune 500 companies. What kind of placements have you made recently?

Chris Nadherny: We worked closely with JCPenney to identify, assess and recruit a head of Digital Marketing. It’s a part of the ecommerce program but specifically responsible for all search engine optimization, search engine marketing, mobile, affiliate, banners and the like.

The candidate we placed had been with [multichannel retailer] Coldwater Creek in its ecommerce business. She was responsible for all Digital Marketing, segmentation, positioning and various digital channels.

LC: Do you see a lot of people with a traditional Direct Marketing background making a smooth transition to Digital Marketing?

CN: The catalog companies were some of the first people to grab onto the Internet and Digital Marketing.

As the funding that’s going into Digital Marketing has increased, the Digital Marketing role has become prominent across the organization. We have seen a move to upgrade the talent as a result.

At one time, a company might have started with someone who was an Internet Marketing specialist. As the business has grown and succeeded, they’re finding at the next stage that they need someone who brings more maturity in management leadership and financial acumen.

Are Internet Marketers Too Specialized to be CMO?

LC: We at Web Digest For Marketers also look at specific disciplines such as SEO and Social Media. Do you find a lot of people come up the chain through those disciplines?

CN: Yes, but the danger of someone being in a specialist role and focusing solely on mobile, social or SEO is that he/she has a view of part of the equation but not the entire equation. We recruit at the more senior level, and our clients are looking for people who can lead and manage the entire equation.

We also placed the head of global online services for Hilton Hotels in a role that is responsible for all the Websites, content, marketing on the sites, analytics, creative and so on. The client wanted someone from the travel and hospitality industry, and we came across some good people but not with experience as broad as our client wanted.

We convinced them to look at an individual who had been with Chrysler and was directly responsible for its Digital Marketing strategy, Websites, search, analytics, lead generation for Chrysler and had previously been with (the agency) Organic.

What convinced this client at Hilton to look at someone from automotive was the parallel between providing services to dealers across the country and providing hotel services across the country. In the end, the client did choose the person from Chrysler.

Demand for Talent Outstrips Supply

LC: Do your clients prefer to hire within their categories, or do they want someone from outside their business?

CN: Generally, they prefer to hire from within their category, but it’s really on a case-by-case basis. Although 1998 was really the first “e-Christmas,” we still have not had enough time to fill the talent void.

LC: So, the supply has not really caught up with the demand. Will it?

CN: It will take a while. Things continue to develop at a rapid pace. A lot of our clients feel that as soon as you get your head above water, and you think you understand what’s going on, something else happens that you need to test and develop.

Can You Get to the Top with Only Digital Marketing Experience?

LC: Are there people at the top of Fortune 500 or major marketing companies who have spent their entire careers only on the digital side, or do they have traditional experience?

CN: Digital-only experience is less common because in those roles, you also have multiple marketing-channel environments.

Someone who understands just digital is often viewed as too narrow in perspective. If they have always been in digital and are younger, then they have probably been in more entrepreneurial organizations and didn’t always gain management training and discipline along the way.

For someone who’s coming up directly through Digital Marketing right now, it’s very easy to be passionate about the space, and there are a lot of reasons to want to be there. But, at some point, they’re going to run the risk of being compartmentalized or curtailing their advancement because they haven’t broadened their skill sets

LC: Will those at the CMO level be mostly traditional people with an innate understanding of digital or the other way around?

CN: I can only go by my experience, but here are another couple of casepoints:

We recruited the president of direct at [women’s clothing retailer] Charming Shoppes for all their ecommerce. He had come from Sears, where he was responsible for the Website, ecommerce and the catalog. Before that, he was in management positions with Forrester [Research] so he had gained management leadership all the way.

LC: So, you really need a balance.

CN: Another great example, and a rare profile, is the person who was heading up Digital Marketing and ecommerce for QVC. Before that, he had spent a number of years with JCPenney in the stores environment, where he had hands-on retail experience, worked on the catalog and then migrated to Internet merchandising and marketing.

Moving to a pure [Web environment] and leading that effort makes him very unique, having tried-and-true tri-channel experience.

LC: Which attribute is hardest to find?

CN: A progressive career track within a limited number of companies. In other words, some career stability and not a series of job hops. We always like to see someone promoted within a current employer and not always having to switch companies for the next title. We also look for business and management maturity.

Skill Sets You Need for the Big Leagues

LC: How does company size affect what you look for in a candidate?

CN: It depends on the size of the company. The types of skill sets and qualities or traits you seek in candidates for a company that does less than $50 million a year in ecommerce are very different from those for a company doing more than $1 billion.

For a smaller company, you’re looking for someone with more hands-on experience and an entrepreneurial outlook, with a distinct building mentality, an ability to influence resources within a matrix environment, and a certain resourcefulness and ability to impart a sense of excitement throughout the organization.

Contrast that with a larger ecommerce effort, where you’re looking more for broad-based business leadership and top-level credibility with the senior executive team. It takes a greater level of complexity in scope and scale. You’re also looking at more international experience and exposure and increased financial acumen.

Using Twitter effectively

Everyone talks about Twitter . . . but how do you turn from one more background noise to a tool that reaps results?

Here’s a great round up of companies that are using Twitter effectively.

If you haven’t already discovered this newsletter, Larry Chase’s Web Digest for Marketers, you should sign up as Larry Chase always has something interesting!

Best Twitter Feeds for Sales Lead Generation

You see a lot of “how-to” articles on ways to use Twitter for marketing. But, what is missing is a list of the best examples showing how Twitter actually is used to sell products and services.

From such a list, you can learn best practices to employ for your own Twitter feed.

Sr. Editor Janet Roberts reviewed over 500 feeds and came up with this list of finalists, written in Twitter style (more or less). First up are the B2C examples, followed by the B2B examples.

Handmark

This mobile-app developer (78,000 followers) uses prolific and quirky tweets to announce and promote product launches and provide some customer support.

Denny’s (Dennys Allnightr)

Restaurant chain’s Allnightr feed caters to late-night dining with evening meal deals timed to launch when the munchies strike, plus regular menu promos.

Visit Chicago

Tourism bureau tweets a wide range of area attractions and events, especially the offbeat, plus tips and ticket deals for discovering Chicagoland.

Dell Outlet

With 1.6 million followers and $3 million in annual sales, Dell’s Twitter outlet is doing something right. It’s the model to follow for content and frequency.

Groupon

The original limited-inventory, fast-expiry group coupon retailer now has a Twitter feed for each city it covers (70+, sampling Vegas here), each one tweeting a daily coupon special.

Wilton Cakes

Bakeware/cake-decorating manufacturer tweets daily product deals, tips, two-fers and trouble-shooting. Also cross-promotes to its Facebook fan page.

Synchronicity Theatre

Broadway, take note: Small but active Atlanta theatre group tweets last-minute deals to put fannies in seats, get noticed, raise funds and build its community profile.

Bloomingdale’s

High-end retailer tweets price-driven daily deals, celebrity visits, store events and fashion news/advice in a zippy, shopper-friendly tone.

Walmart

Daily Tweets get sorted into “departments” (HBA, mp3 downloads, electronics, limited-time or “while supplies last” deals, etc.) but support mainly Web shopping, not printable coupons.

Travelzoo

Cruises for under $50/day, half off at hip NYC boutique hotel, NYC to London for under $100/day. Travelzoo tweets hot deals like these plus travel advisories, tips and quips.

PR is more than media relations.

To many people public relations = media relations, and that includes practitioners. We have PR professionals that guard their media lists like gold and are looking for ways to quantify the value of their “clips.” Yet, at the same time they want to establish that Public Relations encompasses a broader scope of activities.

Practitioners who want more need to focus on strategy rather than tactics. I have nothing against media relations, but it is just one way for companies to reach their publics with their messages. I think practitioners have fallen into this trap because it’s relatively easy to quantify. Look, they say, this press release ran in a gazillion small newspapers and was picked up on websites globally. That means that more than 8 gazillion eyeballs saw your message and that’s why you pay us the big bucks.

Ironically, current evidence points to a diminishing role for traditional media. Readership is down. Staffing is down. Increasingly magazines and newspapers are closing down their print presence in favor of online media and turning to citizen journalists for news and content. In light of these trends aligning your business with traditional media may well bring about the demise of your practice. Yes, there will always be practitioners who have the ear of the top journalists at the best publications, but as for the rest of us? Better to focus on more ways to communicate your client’s messages.

Increasingly I see opportunities for companies to contact their prospects and customers directly — enewsletters, websites, webinars, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter all create ways to engage your customers in a dialogue and communicate your messages directly with the people  your client/company most wants to reach. Not only are these methods direct, they are also measurable. Everyone is feeling the pinch of hard economic times and it is essential that communicators can show how our efforts support the sales function.

Sure, moving into new areas will take time and education. You need to be able to show your client that these methods are effective. You may also need to explain to them that any activity that influences their target audience’s perception of their company is public relations, not just media relations. It will benefit everyone.