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Author Topic: Stock Media Content Producers and the Marketing Conundrum  (Read 3011 times)

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« on: January 18, 2018, 12:15 »
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Being self employed, I am often thinking about marketing. My full-time focus is producing stock footage.

"Wait, what?...why do you need to market yourself?" Some may ask. "Don't you have the marketing muscle of companies like Pond5, Shutterstock, Fotolia...etc?"

Well, sorta, they all have featured content and some type of social media marketing. But those efforts are spread across many thousands of users

I don't love the idea of turning over all responsibility for the marketing success of my livelihood to someone else. I would imagine that isn't a business model most people would feel too comfortable with. After all the big stock curation companies don't need each individual stock producer.

The professional stock producer has an interesting market to engage...people that need content so that THEY can make content!

Obviously making pertinent attractive content that buyers are looking for is a critical step...but there is a LOT of stock content to choose from.

How do I (and you) make sure we are giving our few DROPS of content a fighting chance in the OCEAN of stock footage?

Here is what I have done so far:
1) A large (mostly 4K) portfolio of high quality footage
2) Have my portfolio on as many (producing) stock curation sites as possible.
3) Have a website
4) Social media...well a facebook page...does that count?

Here is what I could do better:
1) Make more content.
2) Find more curation sites.
3) Connect directly with buyers. Who? How?
4) Better SEO on my site.
5) More social media sites.

I would love to hear what you have to say?
What obvious things am I missing?
Any input appreciated.


« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2018, 15:14 »
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Hi,

When you are talking about "marketing" your own business/footage, that is entirely different from what you are currently doing.

Right now - essentially you are helping to build other businesses (the microstock agencies) - and giving them more value when you submit. They have more stock, therefore more valueable, therefore people prefer 'shopping' there. (I.e., would you prefer to shop at walmart, or a lemonade stand in the middle of no where that only sold one product?) (It's incidentally in marketing called the network effect too. The more users on the site, the more valuable an asset it becomes, and the more users it gets. I.e., It takes money to make money).

Yes - you get a little bit in return in form of commissions for helping them build their business. But you don't have any control over your customers, (really) your rates, what to do about rejected footage, etc, etc.

While I think you can & should definitely continue submitting to the stock agencies, because (I am assuming) you are making some money from that...

If you want to market your own footage (something I have been considering as I understand this business more) - you need to do this.

a) Obviously build a website, shopping cart, nice easy to use layout, etc.
b) Learn about marketing. I.e., customer lists, reselling, cross-sells, upsells, 'featured' content, etc. (Essentially what the microstock agencies are doing. I'm not talking about SEO - I am actually talking about copywriting - the abilty to write persuasive copy, + market research, market segmentation, etc, etc).
c) Then - you apply all that, and you make sales. Of course - still do the SEO - so you can get the marginal sales. But learn marketing.

If you want to market yourself/your own business - I suggest you focus on a very specific niche.

I.e., if you try and be broad (1 picture of a cat, 1 of a wedding, etc) - it will be difficult to be successful - because you are too broad and in essence competing with the microstock agencies. But - if you become an "expert" say specially on cats, and have 1000 pictures of cats in different poses, playing with different balls of string - then it becomes much easier - because you are the 'go-to' guy for cats.

Hope that helps. What is your website currently? And what type of footage do you focus on?

« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2018, 15:21 »
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PPS - answering your other questions.

Just making a facebook page and getting people to like it is silly. First of all, facebook only lets roughly 10% of your users 'see' your content. (I.e., you have 1000 'likes' or 'fans' - *max* facebook will let you see when you make a post is 100, although I think that number is much lower now since when I last checked).

Second - you need to understand 'how' facebook works. Just saying 'buy my stuff' doesn't (really). But making it a conversational piece does. But - facebook has made it difficult really to make sales on their platform unless you pay for their advertising and master that.

Re: other 'social media' sites. You need to learn how to engage with your potential customers on all those different sites, using their unique ways. Again, on twitter - saying 'buy my stuff!' doesn't really work. But maybe having a viral tweet (which you have to figure out what becomes viral) - does.

Marketing is a little bit of an inexact science. Yes, there are certain fundamental principles that over time work. But whether a specific technique will make sales for you now is entirely different.

If you don't want to worry about marketing - then ramp up your submission efforts to the microstock agencies.

But if you do want to learn marketing - then, it is an entirely, entirely different thing that you'll need to spend a lot of time practising and becoming good at. But when you do - you'll have a *lot* of control of how much you make, when you make it, and how fast you grow.

Hope that helps.

farbled

« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2018, 19:28 »
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Here is what I have never understood reading people talking about marketing in relation to the agencies. Why would you fight in their arena using the same tools they use? It is self defeating. They use their millions to dominate the traditional advertising spaces.

If it was me, I would look for those arenas that the agencies do not use or don't use effectively. If I provide niche or unique content, who is my target audience? Do they all only use the big agencies? I doubt it. Having been a photo buyer at many companies, the vast majority had no idea how to source images (or footage) or could even name more than one (maybe 2) agencies.

For footage, again, who uses it? I would think those who have the skills who can place/edit/build content. Which is not usually the end user, but those companies who provide that service, like web design companies or contractors. They have their own forums, sites, resources... That's where I would go.

When I was self employed, I direct-marketed my photo services (not stock) to designers and other creatives who had a use for them within a very specific industry that I provided niche content for (anyone who has read me over the years knows my niche). They were a good audience and I could tailor shoots directed towards their needs.

Simply putting up a website and battling for SEO space on social media, I don't think it would be terribly successful even with top notch content. If I had to do it again, I would likely partner with a marketing expert and split with them, rather than work for a tiny commission.

Tyson Anderson

  • www.openrangestudios.com
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2018, 03:44 »
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I love hearing that you're trying to expand past the constant grind of shooting, processing, and uploading stock footage.  I've been at it for almost 3 years and I know it can leave you wanting to do more, even after you get to point of paying all your bills with it.  Over the last couple years I've been slowly building a website to act as a home base for all the multi-media content I produce.  It started simple with just links to all my portfolios.  I then used Nimia to embed my portfolio on different pages of my site, but saw very few sales from that.  Over time it's been evolving in the direction of a production company website.  The plan is to offer stock footage/photos, art prints, and video/photo services.  I've started accounts in various social media sites but Youtube and Instagram have been the main focus recently.  Some of this is already happening and some is almost ready to be live.  I'm definitely not done making mistakes to figure this whole thing out but I thought I'd share some of my strategies on this topic.  The website will continue to look more professional over time, but I don't think I'll stop the grind of submitting to micro stock agencies.

Here's the site if you wanna look around:
www.openrangestudios.com
(Please take into consideration I am not a website designer and it's still being built)

« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2018, 11:51 »
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Hope that helps. What is your website currently? And what type of footage do you focus on?

SuperPhoto thanks for taking the time to respond. Solid stuff. I don't think I can compete with the big stock companies though...the best I can do is try to bring attention to my few items on their shelves.

Your logic is solid though. I agree in principle, just not sure I have the resources in practice.

My site is www.lathepoland.com and I have an array of content topics. This is in part because I get bored with same topic after awhile, and secondly I think of myself as being in the "hook" business. Lots of fish out there maybe they will like one of my hooks.

Having been a photo buyer at many companies, the vast majority had no idea how to source images (or footage) or could even name more than one (maybe 2) agencies.

Farbled...That is an interesting point. I guess I need to figure out how to get infront of more of those people.

StockbyNumbers

  • www.StockbyNumbers.com
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2018, 21:58 »
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Ive been a commercial editor for almost a decade and have just gotten into producing stock footage over the last year and a half or so. My take on this might be a bit different as Ive usually been the buyer rather than seller.

I found myself often just googling the stock footage clip I needed rather than going to one site over another. Most of the time this would lead me to YouTube. Some contributors and agencies seem to list Footage there. I would either then go back to the agency or a contributors site to buy it.

Seems like YouTube kind of creates a more level playing field, as an ad at the start of the video would often play for a Stock Footage agency ( I assume since I was using stock footage as a keyword in google) but the YouTube video of the subject itself that best fit what I was looking for would be from any normal stock contributor or producer. So the mega ad buys from the agencies seem to miss the target and google just finds whatever clip matches best.

All of that is to say it might be worth trying to list some watermarked clips on YouTube that link back to your site or portfolio.

Is that how you are using it Tyson?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2018, 22:48 »
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Question.

If you were a buyer - would you prefer to see a regular 4k, but 'watermarked' clip? Or - would a downsampled (i.e., 480p or 360p) with no watermark be okay? I decided to put up a youtube channel - but have gotten very minimal traction over several months for about 100 clips. (I.e., I think '20' visits to my videos)...

Ive been a commercial editor for almost a decade and have just gotten into producing stock footage over the last year and a half or so. My take on this might be a bit different as Ive usually been the buyer rather than seller.

I found myself often just googling the stock footage clip I needed rather than going to one site over another. Most of the time this would lead me to YouTube. Some contributors and agencies seem to list Footage there. I would either then go back to the agency or a contributors site to buy it.

Seems like YouTube kind of creates a more level playing field, as an ad at the start of the video would often play for a Stock Footage agency ( I assume since I was using stock footage as a keyword in google) but the YouTube video of the subject itself that best fit what I was looking for would be from any normal stock contributor or producer. So the mega ad buys from the agencies seem to miss the target and google just finds whatever clip matches best.

All of that is to say it might be worth trying to list some watermarked clips on YouTube that link back to your site or portfolio.

Is that how you are using it Tyson?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

StockbyNumbers

  • www.StockbyNumbers.com
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2018, 22:51 »
0
I never really gave that much thought as I was never buying 4k. But no preference if it was watermarked as long as the resolution was good enough to judge its quality.

I might give it a try when time allows and will probably do 720p so it still looks sharp.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

StockbyNumbers

  • www.StockbyNumbers.com
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2018, 23:05 »
0
I actually just tried this again and realize I may have spoken too soon. Shutterstock and Pond5s videos now appear on the videos tab on google search. That used to just show YouTube videos. Not sure when that changed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


 

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