Guess what? As a business owner in today’s digital world, you are going to need some digital materials. Yep, I'm talking to you...even if what your business actually does has little to nothing to do with the digital world. Whether they are for your website, your social media, your print marketing, etc., at some point you’re going to need some images, video, or music that you don’t already have. Obtaining these materials can be challenging due to time spent finding them and managing their costs. And then there’s the issue of being able to use the materials once you’ve actually completed the quest of actually finding them.
That’s why we at Flannel Creative would like to propose a little strategy to keep in mind as you go about this process. It’s ridiculously alliterative, so hopefully it will be easy to remember. And no, this isn’t a gold standard for every small business out there. Your business might have special requirements that cost more upfront. Cool. Here, we’re just speaking in good common sense generalities.
(All of the services and products listed below are for illustrative purposes only. Flannel Creative is not associated with or endorsing any of them.)
Step 1: Freebies First
There are a whole lot of free resources available if you look for them. Sites like Pixabay and Pexels offer free images. Free music based on an attribution system can be found at sites like Incompetech, Audionatix, Hook Sounds, and Purple Planet. Canva allows you to edit images and create all sorts of materials for social media, blogs, etc. without you ever having to spend a dime (although they do have awesome content and features that are not free, too). If you’re willing to learn how to use it, Audacity is an excellent audio editing software option that costs you exactly nothing. And go here to learn about free video editing software. So when you are just starting out and you need to stretch those dollars a long way, it’s good to make yourself aware of the free items available to you. Maybe those dollars can do yoga another day. 😉
Step 2: Look Low
As you progress, the next step is to look for low cost options to service your business demands. There are plenty of services that allow you to pay on a credit system for x amount of a material without having to commit to a long term subscription. PicMonkey allows you to do photo editing and much more for a low monthly fee. Services like Promo from Slidley, Animoto, and Doodly let you make quick videos from stock footage for a relatively low cost. And keep in mind that there are sometimes lower cost options for programs you may need to invest in, and it can be worth it to do a bit of research and read some reviews before you plunk down your money. For example, if you’re a Mac user (like us), you could get Affinity Designer or Photo for a one-time $50 purchase price instead of paying a monthly subscription fee for Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
Step 3: Needs Next
Now that you’ve been in business a little while, you’ve had a chance to better establish what your needs are. Are you using 10 images a month between blogging and social media? Well, at this point, an image subscription service that costs a bit more but has a better selection might be worth it for you. Are you needing a lot of videos? Maybe it’s time to invest in a higher end kind of software that gives you more video editing options or outsource your video production to save that time for other business needs. Are you tired of the attribution system for free music? Then investing in some music licenses for pieces that you love and will use many times would be a good idea.
As you begin your business, there can be a lot of people trying to sell you things that you “need.” By doing a bit of research and keeping this simple strategy in mind, it can help you avoid spending those precious pennies that you really wish you had back in the end and keep your focus on figuring out where you will get the most bang for your buck with your digital materials.