Savvy entrepreneurs know that providing clients and customers valuable content is key to developing long-term relationships. While there are several ways to provide this type of content, most business owners gravitate toward writing blog posts or sending out regular e-newsletters. Others prefer to focus on social media sites like Instagram or YouTube videos.
As with any marketing strategy and tactic, you need to know who you're trying to reach and what you're trying to accomplish. For many companies and brands, it's stepping up their content marketing in the form of blog posts and articles on their website, sending emails filled with relevant and interesting content, or updating their social media pages more regularly. In the process, they're finding they need to add visuals but don't always have the time or money to secure appropriate assets.
I face this dilemma regularly with my own clients who hire me to write their content but don't have assets such as high-quality images or b-roll to accompany the stories I write, whether it's for their blogs or emails to stakeholders. Whenever possible, I strongly advise clients hire professional photographers, videographers and graphic designers. My specialty is writing and communication and I know all too well what goes into creating any type of professional and creative work.
In many cases, my clients do hire creative professionals but in cases where they can't, I've started a library for them where I store images I find from various sites that provide free and royalty-free images, audio and video. Royalty-free (or RF) means you have the right to use copyright material without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use but it's important to read the fine print because some material can only be used royalty-free for a period of time and in some cases, you cannot use them for commercial purposes.
Depending on your content needs, here are some sources I've found with a solid selection of free and royalty-free visuals, audio and video. I've also included a couple of sources to help non-designers develop effective and professional-looking infographics and charts.
For free and royalty-free images
For free and royalty-free images, illustrations, vector and video
For free and royalty-free audio
For free and royalty-free infographics and charts
This list is not exhaustive by any means and content marketers and companies have their favorites but if you're looking to increase your own library of assets, these sites are worth visiting.
Keep in mind several free and royalty-free images, video and audio require attribution while others recommend you include attribution. It's important to read the fine print with any use of these assets so you're not violating any terms by using them in your work.