You’ve just finished putting the final touches on your blog or social media post. After finding the right topic and formatting your content for maximum SEO and social media viral appeal, you’ve made sure your content truly delivers. Everything, it seems, is in the right place… then you screw it all up with one move.
Sadly, too many otherwise awesome social media and blog posts fail to stand out and make an impact because of one often overlooked-yet important-factor: graphics.
There are no two ways about it: unlike books, blog and social media posts are judged by their cover. Mess this up and your audience will most likely overlook or scroll past the content you worked so hard to research, SEO or viralize, and format. Text only posts simply aren’t as engaging as those with image headers and pictures.
The problem? It’s too tempting to use the same tired, generic sources of free stock photos as your competitors. It seems everyone and their dog are using Pixabay and Pexels for blog and social media image headers only to settle for lackluster content performance.
We’ve put together the top 5 royalty-free sources of stock images successful social media influencers and blog publishers turn to when they create memorable content their audiences crave.
How we picked our recommendations
When putting together the list below, we focused on 3 key factors crucial to social media and blog content publishing success: selection, variety, and per image value.
Selection: No matter how specialized your topic, a great stock image source has you covered. Not only does it have photos of everyday objects, people, concepts, ideas, and emotions, its inventory should also be deep enough to portray vague or new trends or ideas.
Variety: It’s not enough for a royalty-free stock photo site to have images for ‘vague’ or difficult topics that publishers usually have a hard time finding. The source must also show a wide variety of these images so the posts or social media content they are used in won’t look ‘generic.’
Per image value: To maximize the value of your money, we picked royalty-free stock image sources that offer some of the lowest per image rates anywhere.
The grand daddy of royalty-free premium photo content, Shutterstock has over 350 million images available. Use their intuitive yet powerful search function to quickly zero in on images that will truly make your social media and blog content come alive.
Even though this site has one of the biggest image collections online, it continues to add 98,000 new images every single day.
You can sign up for a subscription plan which enables you download a certain amount of photos every month or you can pay for a fixed package of images whenever you want-all for a one time payment. Packages start at $49 for 5 images.
2. Adobe Stock
Stacked with over 100 million images, Adobe Stock is no slacker when it comes to image variety and selection.
You don’t have to worry about your Adobe Stock images making your blog posts look generic because of this provider’s Premium Collection. Simply find a premium photo content creator that specializes in your niche to give your content that distinctive ‘custom’ look. Given how competitive blogging and social media posting can be, anything that makes your brand stand out can give you an edge.
Adobe Stock offers both one time download credit packs and subscription plans. When you take out a subscription, you get credits for a month. If you fail to use up all your credits, they roll over to the following month of your subscription.
3. Envato Elements
Boasting over 50 million different stock photos, Envato Elements doesn’t just offer images for your social and blog content, you also get access to music tracks, website and graphics templates, video templates, and other types of content. You can even enhance your customization of Envato Elements content through their tutorials and courses-all included in one subscription.
When it comes to affordability, Envato Elements packs the most value because you get unlimited access to all their digital assets across a wide range of content types for one reasonable monthly subscription fee. Whether you need just a handful or hundreds of images every month, there are no limits to the amount of high quality multimedia digital assets you can download from this platform.
Loaded with over 219 million photos, vector images, music, illustrations, and videos, DepositPhotos is no slouch when it comes to selection. In fact, its theme-based listing system greatly increases your chances of finding just the right multimedia content for ‘vague’ or ‘hard to classify’ blog posts and social media content. This comes in handy when your content is trying to convey an emotional state or a fairly vague concept that generic image stock can’t communicate.
DepositPhotos offers a flexible pricing program through two packages: on demand and subscription. Its on-demand offer gives you access to a fixed set of images for a one time payment. Different subscription tiers come with different amounts of download credits. Just like Adobe Stock, if you don’t use up your subscription’s credits within a month, they are automatically added to your credits for the next month. You can cancel your subscription at any time.
Formerly known as iStockphotos, this platform offers two collections: non-exclusive and exclusive images. It’s non-exclusive photos are submitted by photographers and creators to several platforms in addition to iStock. For bloggers and social media posters looking for rare or unique photo collections, iStock offers its exclusive collection for placement with content that requires harder to find images. This platform also offers music and video clips.
What makes iStock stand out is its curated organization. One of the biggest challenges of finding the right blog header or post images is proper tagging and categorization. It can take many searches at other leading royalty-free stock image platforms to get to the right photos. Not so with iStock. You can quickly find what you need when you need it.
The Final Word on Royalty-Free Media Sources
Let’s face it-to get a leg up on your competition on social media networks and on search engines, your audience need to quickly see the value of your post. They simply don’t have the time to click on link after link. In most cases, you just have a split second to catch their eye.
Snag the attention your topnotch content needs by using photos and image headers from the tried and proven royalty-free stock photo platforms we’ve listed above. Not only do they have the wide selection you need to make even your most obscure topics stand out, but they deliver the variety and value for money you need to succeed.