This is an example of an outline that I would typically present to our content management team when pitching an article. It includes a basic framework for the article, any relevant links that I’d like to include, topics to cover, points I’d like to make, etc. These outlines make it easy for us to adjust the messaging of an article before writing, eliminate any potential problems or legal issues, and agree on a direction before any extensive work starts.

Title: How to Pick Great Stock Photography
Vertical: Fitness/Health
Length: 1,500+ words

The Importance of Good Photos

Intro to discuss impact of presentation and “presenting your best side”. Link to – 2018 study on imagery and the business impact of what happens when you add photography, plus trends.

The aim of this section is to help people understand why they should add photos to their content at all, and how the quality of their photo content may affect their bottom line.

As a non-main point: We should stress that stock photography is a fallback option and ideally “social photography” or “authentic photography” are best – this is for when a small business, sole proprietor, or non-profit doesn’t have those resources (or is just getting started and needs something up right now). Maybe we can link off to arguments against stock photography here:

Know Your Sources

This section should explain how to find the best images at certain price points. Explain difference between royalty & royalty free, commercial use, etc.

  • Free: Unsplash, Pexels, Canva Photos, etc
  • Include warning to properly credit/source your photos to avoid legal issues
  • Low to Mid: 123rf, iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, Bigstock
  • Premium:  Adobe Stock, GettyImages

What to Look For/Avoid

Section to show bad stock vs. good stock. We should show actual imagery. Some points to include:

  • Branding (if any)
  • Application to your business/org
  • General Quality/avoiding overly “posed/staged” photos
  • Saturation
  • Lens flares
  • How to communicate abstract ideas


This ends with a conclusion for the article. Maybe we can plug in a “how to get started with photography” here to push them to take more applicable photos, or create product photography. I have a great tutorial for making your own lightbox for small products.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash