If your blog content and social media updates aren’t receiving a lot of click-throughs or likes, it may be time to liven up your blog or feed with multimedia, especially video clips! Creating your own videos can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive, but fortunately, you don’t have to create your own videos in order to include videos on your blog or in your social media updates – embedding third-party web videos are a free and convenient alternative.

Your Blog Should Be A Group Effort

Good content marketing requires more than just good copy – to really make your blog and social media posts stand out, you need to include multimedia, such as photographs, charts, illustrations and videos. Taking photographs and creating simple graphics is relatively easy, but creating high-quality videos for your blog is considerably more difficult and expensive – you’ll need a good camera or a top-of-the-line smartphone, video editing software, a script, a proper backdrop and lighting, etc. However, thanks to video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, legally sharing videos created by others is both easy and free; that being said, there are a few guidelines that must be followed to ensure that your use of this third-party content is both proper, legal and ethical.

Wait, Is This Legal?

The legal ramifications for posting third-party copyrighted content can be costly and severe – if you were to include a copyrighted photograph in one of your blog posts without permission, you may receive a cease-and-desist letter from the photographer or the agency that owns the copyright to the photograph, and those parties may demand damages for the improper use of their intellectual property. However, in a majority of cases it is legal to embed videos from two of the most popular video hosting websites – YouTube and Vimeo.

Hosting Content vs. Embedding Content

It is important to understand the difference between hosting content and embedding content: Hosting content means that you are literally hosting, or downloading and subsequently uploading content on your own website or blog servers, while embedding content means you are presenting content on your website or blog that is hosted by a third-party. YouTube and Vimeo do not allow users to download videos that are hosted on their servers, and if you were to use third-party software to download a copy of a YouTube or Vimeo video and upload it on your website without consent, you would be violating copyright law and the website in question’s Terms of Service (TOS). Yet if you were to embed a YouTube or Vimeo video on your website, and you were to follow the website’s TOS, there would be no copyright or TOS violation.

Monetizing Content

At this point, you may be asking, “Why do these websites care who is hosting the video? Either way, my readers and followers are watching the same video!” The difference comes down to a matter of monetizing the content. When YouTube or Vimeo hosts the video, they can include advertisements, and both sites have programs in place to compensate the creator or copyright holder of the video based on views. If you were to host the video on your own blog or website, there would be no practical way for YouTube or Vimeo to monetize the content or measure the number of views. Since both the third-party website and the content creators/copyright holders make more money based on more people viewing the video, they have made embedding most videos a quick and easy process.

Choosing The Right Videos

It is important to note that although YouTube and Vimeo have made it easy and convenient to embed videos in your website, blog or social media posts, you should still be careful when presenting third-party videos to your readers and followers. It is important to make sure that the video you are presenting is not flagrantly violating copyright laws – although YouTube and Vimeo have policies and procedures in place to remove copyrighted content, some content may remain on their websites for a considerable amount of time before being removed. It is unlikely that you will be sued by the copyright holder, yet the possibility still exists.

Be Wary Of Copyrights

The easiest way to avoid this is to simply apply common sense when selecting videos. Don’t upload videos that include copyrighted music or full or extended sections of movies, television shows or other types of professionally-produced and copyrighted videos – these all constitute clear copyright violations and would most likely be inappropriate for a business blog or social media account in the first place. How-to videos, short news pieces on a relevant product, service or event, and humorous clips that are family-friendly are more appropriate, and most are uploaded by the original content creator.

Don’t Post Objectionable Content

Embedding videos from an established YouTube or Vimeo channel – including channels owned by local media outlets and well-known Internet personalities – are usually safe options, although it is important to make sure that the content you are posting is completely free of profanity or any other type of objectionable content that may offend your readers or followers. Finally, if you receive an email or letter from the video creator or copyright owner asking you to remove the video from your blog or social media feed, it is advisable to do so immediately.