Effective Messaging
September, 2014

Exciting news: I'm teaming up with John Stahl for a first-ever Shawenon Communications Webinar:

On-line & Off-line: Effective Marketing Strategies to Boost Your Profits

John helps small businesses develop effective marketing strategies. You know what I do--email marketing. The session will be packed with action steps you can take to build your business.  

Save the date: October 23 at 4 PM EDT. Look for details in the October Web Words.

The second article talks about another "first ever." I met a pig on the beach--that's right, a pet pig. And the story actually connects to some business advice.

The first article discusses the legality of using photos found on the Web and tells what you can do to stay on the right side of the law.

In the column to the right - Free Design - you will learn of a money- saving offer from Constant Contact that will match your newsletter template to your website design. This is definitely worth checking out.

Thanks to Gloria Gordon for pointing out my Web Tips oops in the August issue. I really do know the difference between a browser (what you use to access the Web) and a search engine (what you use to find things on the Web). Duckduckgo.com is a search engine, not a browser. My bad.

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In This Issue
Legal Free Photos - photos you can use
Beach Pig - business distinction
Web Tips - Effective use of Word
Free Design
Legal Free Photos
I spend a lot of time searching for graphics to illustrate Web Words articles. For years I used iStock--a royalty-free but fee-based online site. I'd pay a buck or two for photos. They have a really good search engine and all was fine until greed took over. Photos suddenly got expensive. Minimum required purchases for credits went way up and time limits for using them went down. I was outta there.

The Facts

I started poking around online. Someone mentioned that searching Google images would produce lots of graphics I could publish. I used a few, but I was worried about the legality of my process. Then I learned that someone I know actually received a demand for a bunch of money from Getty Images for using a photo found online. I decided to do my homework.

I contacted Paul Rapp, a local intellectual property and arts and entertainment lawyer I've known for years. "I get a couple of calls a month from clients who have been contacted about their online use of photos," he told me. "Just because you find it online somewhere doesn't mean you can use it for free. In fact, you probably can't. Any kind of commercial use of a copyright-protected image, including by nonprofits, is going to be stepping on the copyright owner's toes." Web Words would be considered commercial even though I don't charge for it because the purpose is to gather customers for my business.

Paul suggested using photos listed under a Creative Commons license or using your own pictures. He also recommended reading the fine print carefully to determine the requirements for usage.

The Sites

I found a few sites that have really good free photos and allow commercial use. Many of them have search capabilities--some are better than others. Note that some require attribution--others don't. Watch out because some of these sites are affiliated with for-fee sites. Be careful as you browse to stay in the free sections.

Morgue Photo--the source of the photo above--has one of the better search capabilities and some lovely photos. Here is what it says about permission for this photo: "You are allowed to copy, distribute, transmit the work and to adapt the work. Attribution is not required. You are prohibited from using this work in a standalone manner." What does that mean? "You can not sell, license, sublicense, rent, transfer or distribute this image exactly as it is without alteration."

Flickr has a Creative Commons, commercial use category. This page explains the categories in detail.

The Open Photo Project is a photo-sharing platform created in 1998 by Michael Jastremski. Contributors have offered their images free of charge under terms of Creative Commons licensing.

Pixel Perfect Digital has some very nice images. Some are free with attribution through Creative Commons.

FreeMediaGoo.com has a limited selection of photos, but is good for backgrounds and textures.

Do you have a favorite source for free, legal photos? Please share.
Beach Pig
That's me with Millie--a two-year-old black pig who was the talk of Nantucket when we were there. The day before we encountered her at Surfside Beach, she was photographed at Madaket by a woman staying at our B&B.

A pet pig is pretty unusual and seeing one on the beach sipping water from a pink bowl--well that's downright memorable. Her owners were so overwhelmed with passersby wanting to know her story that it took them a half hour to actually begin reading their books.

What's your Pig?

Not everyone can have a pet pig. Most people don't even want one. But your business needs a Millie--something that will make your product or service stand out from your competition. What do you offer that no one else does? What is your specialty?

When I speak about getting noticed online, I ask everyone in the audience to stand up and say what their business offers--all at the same time. There's a big hubbub in the room. After a few minutes, I take the microphone and say, "How can I be heard over all this noise?" I do this exercise to illustrate how incredibly challenging it is to get your message out when there is so much competition. And that competition gets larger and more complicated every day.

Developing your Message

Discovering and wording your distinction takes time. It begins with finding the kernel--the key element--that will be the cornerstone of your communication. Here are some ways to get started:
  • Do an informal survey of your customers/clients and listen to what they say about your offerings.

  • Research your competition. Notice how they language their business and see where yours is different.

  • Hire a consultant to help you develop your message.

  • Read books or articles about USP - unique selling proposition.
Once you have your message, test it at networking events and with business partners and colleagues until you've mastered the delivery. Any questions? Give me a call - 413-528-6494.


Web Tips


If you use Microsoft Word, you know the program has an automatic spell checker that works pretty well. But it's also can be a bit of a pain. When the red wiggly line gets in your way, you can ignore the spell checker and then check the entire document at your convenience. Click the REVIEW tab and click the "Spelling & Grammar" button--or just press F7.

If Word keeps correcting a word--maybe a name--click on "ignore" and it will accept the word for the entire document. If it's something you use frequently, you can add it to the dictionary. Click "Add to Dictionary" and Word will remember the word in the future.

Check out this article from MakeUseOf.com for more details on how to get the most from Word's spelling and grammar checking abilities.

And Finally . . .

Shawenon Communications collaborates with small businesses, solopreneurs, professionals and not-for-profits to get their messages across in the written word.

We specialize in electronic communications, including e-zines and other forms of email marketing, Web sites and social media.  We also ghostwrite articles and other business communications. As a solution provider, we resell www.shawenon.com



First name
Susanna Opper
Shawenon Communications

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
Free Design 
Mauve SO headshot
Constant Contact is offering a free campaign design to new customers through the end of September. And I am offering an hour's free consulting as well, so now's the time to get started on email marketing.

The design will match your website so readers have access to your links as well as your newsletter or e-postcard.

Let me know how I can help you with Constant Contact.



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