Agencies trying to depict several communities on individual local websites may have trouble finding suitable images. Some tips on how economic developers and tourism professionals can help provide direction.

An Easy Way Communities Can Empower Agencies to Tell Their Story

When agencies and customers we work with bring innovative ideas to the table, it makes me so happy. We’re always looking for sharp, new ways that our clients can use MarketSnare to deliver a truly localized experience for their visitors. What frustrates me is when they have a great idea but it is difficult to execute.

One recent project involved an agency with a customer who wanted to set up a network of local websites to replace the existing solution, where each location had a few pages on the customer’s corporate website. In becoming our partner, the agency took the spirit of MarketSnare and sought to give each of its customer’s sites a localized feel. The new strategy called for recognizable local images to be prominently displayed on each home page and on many other pages throughout the sites.

A Challenge for Agencies Serving Clients with Multiple Locations

The challenge for our agency partner was securing images. In an ideal world, each location would have an images of its own that could be used for their own website, but the reality is that good photographs for all of this customer’s locations weren’t readily available. Images might possibly have been secured from the local economic development or tourism agency that serves each location, but when you’re talking about close to 100 websites, that effort can become time- and cost-prohibitive.

The solution was to go online and search stock photography sites for the best images our partner could find of the communities that would be served by these websites. not only was this solution cost-effective, but it also actually produced solid images that we could use.

Now, in fairness, some areas are more picturesque than others. As much as I love my hometown, Fort Wayne doesn’t have much on Miami when it comes to spectacular vistas. That said, this agency partner of ours still managed to find an image for its customer located in my hometown that I felt showed off Fort Wayne very well.

Some communities were not so fortunate. Out of curiosity, we did some searches ourselves and found that there were some locations that just did not have many images available that were representative of their community. The images that were available didn’t really showcase anything unique or notable about their community. While, of course, we didn’t put any poor images up on sites to highlight these locations, I know that some areas had notable features that could be better showcased if there were just available images that could have been utilized by our agency partner.

How Communities can Assist Agencies

As localized search engine optimization becomes more and more important, agencies are going to be looking for ways to showcase the communities served by their clients. Tourism and economic development organizations have the opportunity to meet these agencies halfway by making good quality images available for purchase on these stock photography sites.

I have yet to find a community that doesn’t have plenty of photographers who are ready and willing to take those images that best capture their town. Location marketing professionals can tap that local talent to showcase their communities the way residents would like them to be seen by others.

Making such images available online and assigning key community-related terms to them is a simple and relatively inexpensive way for marketers to put their best foot forward and stay visible. Offering to license the images at a competitive price will only further incentivize agencies to use those images (provided they are of good quality). view history While the costs of this effort could be recouped through licensing fees, the investment is worthwhile because the real value is to have that community presented in a light that truly reflects the pride of the people who live there.

Some action steps communities can take:

  1. Find the images representing your community that are out there on commonly used photo licensing sites. A popular site is iStock, while I make regular use of FreeImages. My colleague Kevin Mullett has a list of several other stock photo licensing websites you can investigate.
  2. Identify whether there are images already available you’d like to encourage agencies to use.
    • If there are images, then contact the owner about licensing photos so you can promote their use.
    • If there are no good images available, then make a list of what you would like to have captured, connect with a photographer to create those pictures, and upload them to the relevant websites.
  3. Monitor usage of these photos and be on the lookout for other ways your community can be depicted, particularly when there are significant physical changes to the community (new athletic facilities, changes to skyline, etc.).
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