Visual content… we all know we need it, right? Though the benefits of standard text posts have been well established for everything from community building to SEO, visuals remain important as part of the Big Picture. Without good visuals, you are likely to find yourself stranded regardless of your efforts. But can you actually benefit from your visuals beyond basic content marketing? How can you make money directly from the visuals themselves, perhaps as a form of passive income on the side? It is totally possible, and many people are already doing it. Here are five ways that you can, too. #1. Sell Your Photos At Stock Photography Sites This may only work if you take your own photos. But if you do, that’s the most obvious way to make some extra cash! Many stock websites also allow you to upload and sell your own photos for either personal or commercial use, based on your own specifications. They will provide information on setting up licenses during the submission process, and give you a percentage of all profits as royalties. This is a bit controversial for many people, who feel that it would be more profitable to find a freelance position and get paid for full ownership of images in one bulk sum. However, stock sites have the benefit of only allowing use of an image, and so the earning potential can go up with time as it is downloaded again and again. Plus, you don’t have to go looking for buyers, which is difficult for photographers in particular as freelancers. Your best bet is to find a good site or two, and be patient. If you upload around 200 images per site, you will find within a few months you are making a decent income. iStock gives 15% as a base rate, or up to 45% for Exclusive members. Fotolia (the parent site to Dollar Photo Club) gives a 33% base rate. Here are more recommended sites for photographers to sell their photos. And this article also lists some specifics (approval rate, ownership, etc) #2. Monetize Your Original Visual with an Affiliate Program Think how many of your site images can actually become great posters. Motivational quotes, nature photography, design ideas… Why not let your readers print them out? You can brand your visuals slightly for your readers to take your brand home with them! If you are looking for quick turn around something more passive, you might try the affiliate program from PrintMePoster. They allow users to print their custom photos which is where you can direct your readers to. They give an average of 20% for all affiliates as a commission, and they give monthly payouts to either PayPal or as an ACH to bank accounts. You can also get custom widgets, coupons and more to entice people to click. So if you have a high or medium traffic website, this might be a valid option for you. #3. Monetize Your Instagram Account Your Instagram itself isn’t a source for profit, but it is a potential source of lead generation that can convert to sales. That includes to stock image sites like the ones mentioned above. Make sure to fully optimize your Instagram. Put in a link to your website. Write a good bio for you, and personalize or brand it. Regularly update, and take part in the community. Show images that will really entice people to want more. Tag and describe images for easy searching. Customize meta data like the file names to further improve searchability. You will have valuable leads in no time. Tomoson is another way you can make money with your Instagram account. It connects brands to Instagram influencers for sponsored selfies (which are also properly disclaimed so you won’t lose your followers’ trust). If you are considering turning your Instagram into your additional revenue source, make sure you take it seriously though: Make sure you have carefully read Instagram Community Rules as well as the rules on promoting the sale of regulated goods or services (Instagram doesn’t allow promoting the sale of products like alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and adult products) Monitor your Instagram stats: The simplest, most affordable and convenient way is Cyfe. It comes especially handy if you are monitoring several Instagram accounts: Cyfe has no limits! #4. Offer Your Services As A Visual Content Creator You are showing your stuff all over the web. Why not offer yourself as a service provider to those same people? Nowadays you don’t need to be a professional designer to be able to create and sell awesome images. Check out these tools! FirstSiteGuide lists even more image and graphic editing tools (scroll down to that section) You can even edit your images using your phone. SnapSeed which was recently featured over at BestAndroidApps is one of the most obvious choices. Visual content is always in demand, so let people contact you for hire. You would be shocked by how many sites and businesses are desperate for a good freelance visual creator who can work in their corner. Photographs, presentations, logos, infographics, comics… you name it, they need it! #5. Try In-Image Ads Did you know you can put ads right into images? It is true, and Imonomy [Disclaimer: I haven’t personally tried this platform but the ads look nice!] is a quick and simple way to do it. For this method you don’t even have to be an image creator! You can use images from Imonomy database which is huge! They seem to be a great way of generating income without the obtrusive ads that you see everywhere else. Have other ways to monetize and generate profits from your visuals? Let us know in the comments! 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