Easy Ways to Customize Stock Photos for Your Brand

You probably already know that stock photos can make your life much easier by saving time and $$$, BUT it's kind of annoying to know that you're using the same photos as a bunch of other people, right? Luckily there are a few easy ways to customize stock photos for your brand to make them look more unique!

OVERLAY TEXT

You're probably using stock photos for your blog or social media and adding a text overlay is an easy way to make them look more intentional. You can overlay text for blog post titles, quotes, testimonials or any other promotional messaging for your brand. Use your brand fonts and colors so that your graphics are easily recognizable – even if you are just using stock photos! For example, I use my own stock photos for most of the graphics you see on this blog, but since I'm using consistent fonts / styles for the text all of my blog post graphics have a similar look and are easily recognized when people see them on Pinterest.

OVERLAY COLOR

Many styled stock photos have excess white space where text can easily be added, otherwise you can always add a colored overlay over all or part of the image so that your text stands out. Adding a colored overlay over a whole (or part of an) image is an easy way to make stock photos that aren't entirely in your brand's color palette work for you. Since the overlay “hides” most of the colors in the image, you can be a bit more flexible with the stock images you use in this way.

You can also add a colored overlay over only a small portion of an image where you want to add text or other branded elements. If you're using neutral stock photos this is an easy way to infuse a bit of your brand's personality into your graphics without distracting too much from the style of the images.

In the examples below, you can see the original image in the top left – I've added a light overlay with dark text, a dark overlay with light text, a gradient overlay (a great option if you want to use multiple brand colors), an opaque overlay that covers part of the image, and a transparent overlay that covers part of the image. So as you can see there are a lot of different ways to use color overlays to customized stock photos for your brand!

Customize stock photos using color overlays

OVERLAY YOUR PRODUCT IMAGES

If you sell physical or digital products, use your stock photos to showcase whatever you are selling. You can overlay product images on stock photos with negative space or mockup style images with frames or tech elements where you can insert your work. I love the way The Spotted Olive used one of our stock photos to showcase these festive holiday gift tags on Instagram. You could also use tech mockups to share screenshots from your website, blog, or shop!

In the example below, I've used an image from the Styled Stock Society library and added a screenshot of my Subscription Creation Roadmap. This is an easy way to use mockups to promote digital products during launches or promotions and can increase conversions on your sales pages (because it allows people to actually see what you want them to buy)!

CROP / ROTATE / FLIP THEM

Last but not least, instead of sharing stock photos “as is” – most high quality images can be cropped, rotated, and/or flipped for a more unique effect. This is also an easy way to get more bang for your buck since you can crop stock photos in multiple ways and use them multiple times!

In the example below, you'll see one of the images from the Styled Stock Society and how it could be cropped / rotated to create 4 completely different images to share on Instagram. There are definitely other ways you could crop, rotate, or flip this image to create different graphics for your blog, website, or other social channels so don't be afraid to play around a bit to see how many ways you can use your styled stock photos!

TIPS FOR CUSTOMIZING STOCK PHOTOS FOR YOUR BRAND

If you're customizing stock photos for your brand using any of these methods, it can be helpful to use certain tools to make the process as simple as possible! Personally I use Adobe Photoshop for most of my customizations but you can use free tools like Canva to add text or other branded elements as well.

  • Create templates – regardless of what tools you are using to customize your stock photos, setting up templates can save you a ton of time. Setting up templates makes it easy to just switch up your stock image and text instead of starting from scratch every time you want to customize something.
  • Be consistent – if you're adding graphic elements, colored overlays, or filters to your stock photos, you should be consistent with the styles and colors. You want your images to be easily recognizable, so don't change things up too often!

CUSTOMIZE STOCK PHOTOS FOR YOUR BRAND

So those are a few ways to “customize” your stock photos so they are a better reflection of your brand. Stock photos are an affordable option for incorporating high quality visuals into your marketing (and I recommend them, especially if you have a limited marketing budget), but sometimes you may want the images to look more unique to your brand. Luckily there are a lot of different ways to customize stock photos with a little bit of creativity and free tools like Canva.

How are you customizing stock photos for your brand?

How To Repurpose Old Blog Posts Into More Useful Content

A guest post by Natalie Greagor of Strategist Cafe

The value of a blog is very important as it impacts the lives of others. As a new or seasoned blogger, it is important to consistently keep an updated blog and an engaged audience. Some days are harder than others when it's time to create new content. That's why it's important to have an effective content and blog strategy.

Over the past year, I’ve been able to blog a minimum of 100 blog posts due to this simple strategy: re-purposing my blog content.

Repurposing blog content means taking your most engaged posts and turning them into new pieces of useful content for your audience, plus new products and services that your audience wants and needs. Repurposing your blog content is the ultimate hack to creating more time and money for your business. There are 5 easy ways to transition your blog posts into viable resources that your audience can use today:

Turn them into paid products

Popular blog views help you understand what your audience likes to read and consume. The blog posts that get the highest page views should be repurposed into a product that will help you earn on autopilot.

You can either combine all of your popular blog posts into an e-book or an online course to help your audience apply your information more strategically. Or, you can convert each individual blog post into a practical priced product such as a workbook or guide.

Actionable step: Combine your top 5 to 10 blog posts. Elaborate on each topic, if there is more than one, to create a viable paid product to offer your audience. Or, create 3 to 5 paid products that you can create using the content from each post.

Turn them into opt-in incentives

Another way that you can repurpose your popular blog posts is to create an email opt-in incentive for each post. You can create a simple checklist or a small 10-page guide or workbook to give away for free in exchange for an email to build your email list. Simple opt-ins like these will attract leads so you can eventually turn them into paying customers.

Actionable step: If you have popular blog posts that gain a lot of comments, review all of your comments to find out what people had to say about your blog content for that particular blog post. Create a checklist or several checklists to complement your blog post for your audience to download in exchange for their email to build your email list.

Pro tip: You can promote the checklist(s) that you creates individually on social media by announcing their availability and collecting emails from your comments or inbox to also build your email list.

Repurposing blog content means taking your most engaged posts and turning them into new pieces of useful content for your audience, plus new products and services that your audience wants and needs.Click To Tweet

Turn them into fun quizzes

Use your most popular blog posts and turn it into a fun quiz with a tool like Qzzr. Ask your audience fun things related to your most popular blog posts and insert a quiz to collect leads. Or, create a quiz to send to your email to collect data from subscribers to understand more about their needs.

For example, one of my most popular blog posts is about earning passive income using Canva. I could repurpose the content in this blog post and create a quiz that asks my audience questions to determine which products are the best fit for them to create or earn from according to their lifestyle and business structure. Of course the title wouldn’t be that long, but the purpose of my quiz will be clear. As an added bonus, creating quizzes will help with research for your business.

Please note: This is an triple re-purpose strategy! It allows you to turn one blog post into a quiz and use that quiz to collect information, plus build your email list!

Actionable step: Use Qzzr to create a quiz for your audience to help you maintain high engagement while learning more about them at the same time.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 MORE WAYS TO RE-PURPOSE YOUR BLOG POSTS

Turn them into live stories

Video marketing works well for high engagement and conversion rates for online businesses. You can create 3 tips to help your audience accomplish or complete a task based off of your blog posts. You can also create Instagram story templates to describe the same 3 tips if you aren't a camera person. Remember, people who know nothing about you or your brand will find you online, so sharing tips from your blog posts will help you convert new audience members into new blog subscribers, new fans of your brand, and more!

Actionable step: Take 3 tips from one of your most popular blogs and present them to your social media audience on Instagram or Facebook to build the like-know-trust factor.

Turn them into new blog posts

Turn your most popular blog posts into a new blog posts by scanning your blogs and choosing profound statements and key concepts to create new topics that teach, inform, entertain, or entice your audience.

Actionable step: Revisit your top 5 popular blog posts and choose key points from each post. Create a blog list archive so that you have ideas of new blog post topics to write in the future. It's the perfect way to repurpose old blog content and create new content to serve your audience.

Never let old blog content go to waste. You can even repurpose old blog posts that don't get any traction. Simply re-purpose and/or revamp your old blog posts by following these steps. There are a ton of re-purpose strategies for your blogs. It truly is the best strategy for consistency online. Before you go, here’s 10 more ways you can re-purpose your blog content to not only get the most out of your blog content, but to get your brand in front of new audiences.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 MORE WAYS TO RE-PURPOSE YOUR BLOG POSTS

Do you repurpose your blog posts? If so, how have you repurposed your blogs in the past?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Natalie Greagor, creator at strategistcafe.com,  is a personal brand and online business strategist who teaches creative entrepreneurs how to build influence in their niche, grow their brand online, and get paid on autopilot.

Follow Natalie: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest

5 Reasons Your Marketing Isn’t Working

5 reasons your marketing isn't working (and how to fix them) - if you're feeling overwhelmed with marketing your business but aren't seeing results, here are 5 reasons your marketing might be failing you.

A lot of business of owners “hate” marketing, but if you want customers / clients who are not your mom – it's pretty much required. While marketing isn't exactly rocket science, it's more than just pretty pictures and strategically placed fonts – it's how you communicate your value and build relationships with potential buyers. There's not a single “right” way to go about your marketing, but there are a few things you should definitely avoid!

5 REASONS YOUR MARKETING ISN'T WORKING

1) You don't have a target audience

Marketing to “anyone with money” is not a thing. I've shared my thoughts on defining your target audience before, but I promise you – having a target audience will help you tremendously when it comes to your branding, your marketing strategy, your copy, and the products / services you offer. If you're trying to appeal to everyone, you're probably appealing to no one – so the more specific you can be in terms of who your product/service is for, the better!

Marketing without a target audience is really just putting stuff out into the world and hoping someone will buy it. I'm pretty sure that NO ONE would agree that's the best marketing strategy – or is that even a strategy at all???

FIX THIS: Define your target audience. Figure out what makes them tick. Figure out where they hang out online – What social media platforms are they active on? What communities do they belong to? What blogs do they read? What problems do they have? If you're just getting started, there's a handy worksheet to help you define your target audience linked in this post!

2) You don't have a strategic plan

You can spend hours and hours on “marketing” but if you don't have a strategic plan, you could be wasting a ton of precious time! You can't just post whatever you feel like on social media or spend hours taking pretty flatlays or writing blog posts or creating free downloads without a goal in mind. Your marketing actions should always have a purpose, and you should be leading your customers down an intentional path.

FIX THIS: Think about your client / customer journey – for example, most of my clients find me on social media. Either they come across my Instagram and click through to an opt-in form or they come across a pin that leads to one of my blog posts. From there, most people read a blog post or two and then may opt-in to my email list via a content upgrade or some other free offer. Once people are on my email list, they get a series of emails (depending on how they opted in) and eventually get pitched my paid products / services.

I find it easier to work backwards from your end goal (whatever you are selling) and reverse engineer your content paths. Mapping out a strategic plan will not only help you figure out what content you need to create and share, but it will also keep you on track to actually accomplish your goals.

3) You plan but don't take action

What's worse than not having a strategic plan? Actually taking time to make a plan and then not taking action. You can research and strategize and plan for months, but if you don't take action – you fail before you even get started. It's easy to get caught up in doing everything “just right” – trust me, as a recovering perfectionist (and former financial planner), I've spent wayyyyy too much time on “perfecting” plans – but in reality there's no such thing as a perfect plan. 

FACT: Some things will not go as planned. FACT: You need to learn to adapt. FACT: It will all be ok.

FIX THIS: Set aside time each week specifically for marketing activities. Put it on your calendar. Find an accountability buddy. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you're dedicating time to taking ACTION rather than just making to-do lists. If taking action is holding you back, I recommend setting specific goals to help move the needle forward – for example, instead of putting “do guest blog posts” on your to-do list, set a goal to pitch 5 different websites with specific guest blog post ideas. Instead of scrolling through Instagram and liking pretty photos, set a goal to connect with 10 potential clients and actively engage with their content leaving meaningful (not spammy!) comments.

Marketing isn't something you can do for a hot minute until you get busy + forget about it...Click To Tweet

4) You aren't consistent

For 99.9999% of people, success doesn't happen overnight. If you're not showing up consistently to connect with your audience, to build brand awareness, and to promote your products / services – then you're doing yourself and your business a disservice. Consistency breeds credibility. Marketing isn't something that you can do for a hot minute until you get busy and forget about it. Only a fraction of your audience is seeing your social media posts or reading your blog posts or opening your emails – so if you're not being consistent, you're not maximizing your reach.

FIX THIS: Scheduling + automation are your BFFs. When it comes to social media marketing, I definitely recommend scheduling your posts in advance. Create an editorial calendar for your blog/vlog/etc. and post as frequently as you can be consistent – quality above quantity, always. Here's a helpful post to help you plan out your blog content! You should also have a regular schedule for email marketing and if possible, using automation can help save a ton of time and ensure that you're communicating consistently (here are a few ways I use email automation)!

5) You aren't paying attention to your analytics 

If you “know” me at all, you should have seen this one coming (I'm an analytics NERD) – the only way to really know if you marketing is “working” is to track your results. 

FIX THIS: Use the available tools to track your marketing activities each social media platform or scheduler has it's own analytics, you should set up google analytics for your website / blog, and your email marketing service probably has it's own built in analytics as well. And for your analytics to be relevant, you need to establish specific goals – so for example, if one of your goals is to use Pinterest to drive more traffic to your website, then you should be tracking your referral traffic from Pinterest and identifying which pins / boards / etc. are driving the most traffic to your website so you can do more of what works and less of what doesn't.