Get Out of the Stock Photo Mentality

Does it seems to anyone else like all the fresh ideas out there are taken? I mean, it’s what you’d expect from living on a planet with around 8 billion thinking, creating humans, most with access to the internet. Ideas spread, and we find out we’re not so different from people born thousands of miles away, which is the good news, but the bad news is that it makes it awful difficult to come up with something one of those other 8 billion people haven’t already.

Case in point: stock photos.

Google “women laughing alone eating salad” and you’ll get what I mean. I’m sure some blog out there absolutely has to have that perfect image for their “11 Great New Ways To Ingest Lettuce” page, but otherwise is it necessary to have so many? I love that others have noticed and ran with it, creating entire websites just to point out the strangeness of THAT MANY women laughing over the hilarity of raw veggies.

Stock photos try and put cliches into words so that people don’t have to. Do a Google image search of any well-used phrase, and see what comes up. I tried “Raining Money” and oh buddy, did I get more than I ever wanted to see of white people in suits with their arms out while money floated around them.

Remember that your audience is smarter, and more cynical, than you give them credit for. Show them a picture of someone pointing a whiteboard with the word “synergy” on it, and your readers will see right though it, to lazy and oft-repeated marketing. To keep your viewers from immediately clicking away to a more sincere-looking site, you have to get out of the “stock photo mentality.”

This doesn’t just come from stock photos. It can also be marketing phrases: how many times have you recently heard, “in these uncertain times…”? Does it still seem genuine when you read it now, after months of “uncertain times”?

This comes from the easy and comfort of familiarity, and the fear of not going too far into the unknown of interesting marketing. I’ve seen far too many businesses keep doing the same things over and over in their presentations because they were afraid that the audience wouldn’t be comfortable with something too different.

Ask yourself “is this expected, or is this original?” and making content from there. It’s great to try out images and posts that break the mold and don’t lead your viewers right to the easy or the predictable, and your audience will reward you with click-through rates, page likes, shares, and hey, maybe even some dollars. Make your marketing original, and make it “rain money.”

Experience & Interaction Strategist, Creator of Brand Personalities, AcroYoga Teacher, Doodler of Comics

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