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Inbound Marketing – A Lesson Learned: Transparency & Truces

By Vanessa KnipperAug 2, 2011

What happened when I posted a blog photo without credit, learn from my mistakeWe all make mistakes – and hopefully share them so the rest of us can all learn from them. One of my favorite examples of transparency in blogging is an experience I had with “accidentally” using a photo in a blog post without credit. Before you condemn me, let me assure you that it was TRULY an accident.

What Happened >>

Since this post was one of the first on a new blog, the image was likely just a photo that was used in a preliminary "mock-up". The person that posted the blog using the image had no idea that the photo was not purchased.

How We Found Out About It >>

The photographer posted a comment on the blog in which his photo was featured and our client (!) received an email notification. He simply asked how we found the photo. He was very non-confrontational, just curious…

How We Responded >>

We (I) responded as the marketing company for the client, as it was DIRECTLY our (my) fault. Here’s what I wrote:

“Hello Richard. We saw your comment on our client's blog regarding the… photo. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The photo has been removed.  We purchase images for blogs from iStock, so I can only imagine, since this post was one of the first, the image was likely found via Google for use in a preliminary "internal mock-up" for design purposes and somehow was inadvertently posted.

If this is the case, it truly was an honest mistake and I personally apologize.  Can we possibly make it up to you by writing a blog post about your photography with a link to your web gallery and promote it to (our client’s) fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter?”

The Remedy >>

We delivered as promised. We re-posted the blog with a purchased image from the photographer (and thank you, iStock for defaulting to Large, as I paid top dollar for a web-sized image – Karma!)

The Final Outcome >>

We are now connected on LinkedIn, Twitter, and FourSquare – and keep in touch regularly with the photographer. Friends.

Takeaway: “You can turn a negative into a positive.”

  1. Always be honest and admit when you’re wrong.
  2. Take immediate action to fix the error.
  3. Pay restitution.

PS: How did we find it? >> It was the first image on Google – kudos to the photographer for their SEO effort!



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The Author

Vanessa Knipper

Vanessa Knipper is the Marketing Director at Kuno Creative. She enjoys writing about social media and marketing trends. Vanessa is an avid reader of tech blogs and industry news, which she shares regularly on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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