Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Blogging, Copyright, and How to Attribute Images

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
by flickr user under CC BY license

by flickr user under CC BY license

I’m teaching a class on blogging this semester at Southeast Missouri State University. As we discussed the importance of images in blogging and storytelling, I told the class, “Just because it’s on the Internet does not mean it’s free!” I explained that you must attribute any image you use back to its origin.  Unfortunately, that was not explanation enough and apparently caused confusion.  As I struggled to explain more thoroughly, I thought there have to be others out there with this same perplexity!

“The law automatically grants full “copyright” over any creative work a person makes unless otherwise stated.

Copyright law is incredibly complex. Adding to that complexity is the fact that most of the laws governing copyright were written long before the World Wide Web. Regardless, here are some tips and best practices.

If you are unwilling or unable to pay copyright royalties, you have essentially three options:

1. Use free public domain images.

2. Use Creative Commons® images.

3. Use your own photos or use images you’ve created (from scratch—you cannot modify someone else’s image and call it your own)

Public Domain explains that a work of authorship is in the public domain “if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.”

These types of images are ideal for blogging or educational use.  Works may also be public domain if their copyright has expired or if they are uncopyrightable. Even public domain images should be attributed to and linked back to the source. Two sources for finding public domain images are The Public Domain Review and The Getty Open Content.

Creative Commons

If you can’t find public domain images that fit your needs, you can use Creative Commons-licensed images – as long as you correctly attribute according to the terms of the license under which the image is offered.  Some Creative Commons images only require attribution and link-back, others are only available for non-commercial use, or may be used but not altered. This infographic by adityadipankar is a great “crash course” in Creative Commons:

What is Creative Commons?

by Folography.
Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

There are a number of sites where you may find usable images.  Creative Commons and Wikimedia are two.  My personal favorites are Flickr and Google Images—but you have to filter on only those with a creative commons license. For example, on Flickr it’s at but on Google, you have to go to the advanced image search and scroll down to “usage rights” and choose “free to use or share.”  Keep in mind, Google protects itself with the warning:

BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Image Attribution Google

So, you found a usable image but aren’t sure exactly how to properly attribute the photo? This blog post (by Peter McDermott) does a great job of explaining and demonstrating:

The bottom line when looking for images to use in your blog posts (or web page, portfolio, etc.)… as Benjamin Franklin said, “When in doubt, don’t! “

What sources do you use for finding images? What advice would you add?

How to Engage Journalists and Influencers on Social Media

Friday, December 13th, 2013

flickr user Rosaura Ochoa

flickr user Rosaura Ochoa

by Alfred Cox*

Yesterday I attended the PRNews Media Relations Next Practices Conference in Washington, D.C., at which BurrellesLuce was also a sponsor. Some of the most persistent questions in media relations center on reaching out to journalists in the most efficient and effective manner.  I attended the session “Find and Engage With the Right Journalists and Influencers on Social Media,” which addressed these issues and more.

The sessions guest speakers were Kathy Grannis, senior director of media relations at National Retail Federation; David Ringer, director of media relations at National Audubon Society; and David Wescott, director of digital strategy at APCO Worldwide.

Grannis started out with her suggestions, and emphasized the importance of building relationships with journalists and influencers; she recommended keeping in touch through Twitter, to reach out and congratulate a journalist when they move organizations and positions. Such communication not only sustains a relationship but helps you stay on top-of-mind. Of course, communicating is key, but Grannis stressed that learning how to communicate correctly requires full-time dedication.

When it comes to relevant conversations on social platforms, Grannis recommends contributing transparently, positioning your brand as an expert on the subject matter. But Twitter is also about more than your message; Grannis point out you should be using Twitter to keep up with your competitors and what they’re tweeting, as well as what they’re publishing on other social media sites.

Finally, she advocated blogging. Content marketing has become integral to marketing, PR, and media relations strategies, but Grannis also pointed out that blogs are a tremendous source for getting your statement out there, and even stated getting your message out in your blog is just as important as getting your statement in The New York Times.

Ringer offered his insights next, and pointed out that too much email is boring. He said that Twitter is the best tool to interact with journalists, and that it’s important to find and engage with the right journalists and influencers on social media platforms. He strongly suggested following new journalists right away, and thinking of Twitter not as your personal account, but as your new Rolodex. The list-making function is a great organizational tool to make that happen.

Ringer suggested that once you’ve selected those key journalists and influencers, you should care about what they care about, even their more personal tweets, and interacting with those more personal tweets, and retweeting their tweets, helps build a relationship. But he also pointed out that everyone likes a name check on Twitter, so be sure to credit people for their work by @ing them.  And don’t limit yourself to interacting with well-known, established media figures; befriend those bright new media stars, too.

Wescott followed with his observations, saying that Twitter is the best tool for PR people, and that they must have a presence. Something else that enhances your presence is having Twitter public conversations as well as private conversations, which also helps build relationships that will get new business.

Wescott advised that Twitter and blogging are excellent tools for presenting yourself as a thought leader and a bridge builder between PR pros. He also advocated for citing sources with @s, as well as using hashtags for context and engagement. Wescott recommended finding journalists not just on Twitter, but also on sites like LinkedIn and Muck Rack.

What other social media strategies do you have for engaging journalists and influencers?


Bio: Alfred Cox is a rare commodity of a performer who combines a relentless drive to succeed with the ability to provide “first-person” touch to his clients, creating loyalty and repeat business. He has a hard-nosed work ethic in a results- driven environment and he is often called the “Network King.” Alfred has been in the PR industry for the past 18+ years and joined the BurrellesLuce team in 2011. Connect with him on Twitter: @shantikcox Facebook: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: Alfred Cox

Syrian Conflict and Viral Gaps: Hitting the Right Factors for a Viral Post

Friday, September 27th, 2013

How to get your content to go viral? Some savvy strategiesCan you guess which news service recently published the Syria news piece asking and answering questions like, “What is Syria?” or, “This is all feeling bleak and hopeless. Can we take a music break?” and “Come on, what’s the big deal with chemical weapons? Assad kills 100,000 people with bullets and bombs but we’re freaked out over 1,000 who maybe died from poisonous gas? That seems silly.” Are you leaning toward a tabloid’s coverage of Syria or coverage from a serious news organization like The Washington Post? If you guessed the latter, you are correct.

You might be wondering what The Washington Post and Mark Fisher, its foreign affairs blogger and the author of the article, were thinking with this piece. How did they pull off publishing rather sensitive content without being perceived as dumbing down the conflict in Syria? And why did the article generate such a viral response?

Fisher’s article,9 Questions About Syria You Were too Embarrassed to Ask,” published in a Q & A format, went viral with 3 million hits, 653,000 Facebook likes, 16,500 tweets and 1,279 comments on the Washington Post website.

How can PR and marketing professionals optimize their publishing on blogs and social media? Let’s take a look at some of the factors that made Fisher’s piece such a viral hit.

In explaining the success of his piece, Fisher said he realized that with the story of the Syrian conflict, there was a large, underserved audience that no serious news organization was writing for: news consumers who, around the end of August, were just starting to pay attention and figure out what was going on in Syria. He hit the target with his informal tone and colloquial phrasing of his questions, which culminated in, “Hi, there was too much text so I skipped to the bottom to find the big take-away. What’s going to happen?”

On September 15, Fisher spoke about the viral success of and response to his piece on CNN’s Reliable Sources. He explained that people who write about foreign affairs usually write for other experts. He realized that even though the Syria story had been happening for a while and people knew that the story was important,  “No one was writing for people just coming into it.”

His timing was perfectly coordinated. The piece was published on August 29, right after the U.S. stepped up its rhetoric about involvement. On August 27, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the U.S. had “no doubt” the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack. The following day, President Obama blamed the Assad regime for the attacks and all but warned the country that the U.S. was ready to step in.

Fisher provided valuable content that encouraged viral social sharing, which also led to higher SEO. Search engines rank content that has been shared or liked by a user’s connections (and that is relevant to a specific search) higher than non-shared content when the user is logged into a network (e.g., Facebook, Twitter). For more tips on enhancing your link building and SEO strategy, check out our BurrellesLuce newsletter.

Whether Fisher, whose material normally generates 100,000 hits, can repeat this viral success remains to be seen. You might also wonder what effect the viral hits and social sharing of the piece had on Fisher’s Twitter and Facebook following? With 37,146 Twitter followers and 1,774 Facebook subscribers, Fisher could have better translated that viral response into a more permanent following on those social platforms.

What were all the factors that contributed to the success of Fisher’s post? He targeted the right audience, created the right content, generated the right tone and format for his audience, and correctly calculated the right time to publish. How do you calculate the best time to publish content? What factors do you use for tapping into a viral niche? How do you make sure a viral response translates into permanent followers on your social platforms?

The Vision: Creating Content That Others Want to Share

Friday, August 10th, 2012

Washington-20120731-00089Visionaries define creativity in many different ways and how they motivate others to share their ideas often takes additional creativity. This was the topic of the D.C. chapter of She Says, an award-winning mentoring and networking organization for women in creative industries, during its kick-off event at Edelman DC.

The visionary panel included, Caryn Alagno, SVP, Edelman, Rachel Cothran, director of public relations, Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design, Laura McDaniel, director of strategy, AKQA, Amy Sherman, director of digital marketing, Lifestyle Brands, Marriott International, and Holly Thomas, editor, Refinery 29. Most of the panel blog both professionally and personally and they have found a creative community around blogging. Thomas is also a visual artist who taught herself to draw by watching tutorials on YouTube.

Creativity ideas and insights:

  • Creativity is subjective, but sometimes you need to self-define. Find a niche and fill it.
  • Having a second passion can help you be more creative.
  • Creativity is a moment of grace.
  • Accept that your first attempt may not work and give yourself the freedom to revise and try again.
  • Creativity is about connecting the dots in a non-linear way.
  • Keeping yourself busy keeps the creative juices flowing. Having different creative projects helps to create momentum.
  • There is a big difference between having a creative idea and having an idea with a plan.
  • Not all creative ideas break through the politics of decision making, so you need to share ideas with the right people. Then, get buy-in from the decision maker.
  • Put on your thespian hat. Not every pitch works on everyone, so sometimes you need to act differently with different stakeholders.
  • Say what you think, not what you think you are supposed to say.

Sometimes you have to take the pressure off and try something different. McDaniel suggested yoga. The panel touted the shower as a great place to do creative thinking.

How do you capture your creative ideas? Paper, online, apps, and documents were all mentioned. There didn’t seem to be a limit to the ideas. A favorite of BurrellesLuce’s Johna Burke is Evernote because she can use it from any of her many electronic devices, along with these 12 Mobile Apps to Boost Productivity.

What gets your creative juices flowing? How do you sell your creative ideas to others?