What is Shutterstock, and How Can It Help My Podcast?

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Shutterstock can help your podcast stand out with great resources for music, brand images, and more.

The name implies visual media, and you'd be right to go with that instinct. Shutterstock started as a stock photo website back in 2003. You might think, “yeah, I guess stock photos can help my podcast, maybe.” Shutterstock has grown exponentially over time, and offers loads of tools which can not only make your podcast stand out from the crowd, but also save you time and effort.

This is a tool which we use here at The Podcast Host, and wholeheartedly recommend, so you'll notice that this post includes some affiliate links. Should you purchase any of Shutterstock's resources through one of the links on this page, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

What is Shutterstock?

What does Shutterstock offer for my podcast?

Again, Shutterstock's value is obvious. You can purchase royalty-free visual images for your podcast's cover art, blog and social media posts, and so on. More than that, though, you can get music, video, and other brand assets. The most helpful asset is Shutterstock Editor, with templates for social media posts etc. Additionally, Shutterstock's blog helps with different aspects of content creation and promotion.

How Does Shutterstock Work?

You can select a type of media from the menu bar across the top of the Shutterstock web page, and visit their categories and collections. Or, you can type a search term in the bar, and pick a media type. The search results include a side bar of filter options. This way, you can start with a broad search term and narrow it down.

Shutterstock music search interface example

For music, you add tracks to a cart and then pay. For images, you click “download now,” and then Shutterstock offers you a plan. You can either purchase assets (music, images, etc) individually, in packages of multiple items, or get a subscription. We'll go over pricing in detail later.

Shutterstock Images

When you think of your podcast, what are the first 3 words that come to mind? Type them into Shutterstock's search engine. You'll definitely find something relevant and useful. Artists who submit their work to Shutterstock want it to be as discoverable as you want your podcast to be, so they tag the heck out of it. Not only will you get images for future posts, you'll also get some inspiration.

Shutterstock Editorial Content

If your podcast is about current events, or if something big happens that's relevant to your podcast, you probably want a photo to show your podcast's relevance. Particularly with current events, you want to make absolutely sure that image is factual and reliable. For example, if a celebrity whose work is relevant to your podcast dies, and you post a photo of them on social media saying, “[your podcast] fondly remembers the legacy of [celebrity],” and the picture is inaccurate, you just sank your own credibility. With a reliable service like Shutterstock, you can make sure the information you present is valid.

Shutterstock Footage

Sometimes you might want to make a social media post with the impact of an audiogram, but try a different angle on your content. Or, maybe you want to share your podcast's audio on YouTube, with evocative video footage. Making a video can be as labor-intensive, if not more so, as making a podcast episode. Fortunately, Shutterstock can do this for you. An additional bonus is that since these are stock video clips, they aren't going to distract very much from your audio. As an example: Felix Trench makes hilarious short videos to promote the comedy podcast, Quid Pro Euro, on Instagram. Take a look at how he repurposes industrial video with text to make absurdist humor that piques your curiosity.

Shutterstock Music and Premium Beats

Shutterstock's most direct help for your podcast is their colossal library of music. After looking through it, I don't ever want to hear anyone say, “Can I use copyrighted music?” ever again. You can search by genre, moods, beats per minute, and more. If you want “Hey Ya” by OutKast, you can certainly search under “funk male vocal” and find at least three tracks that are just as catchy. Shutterstock's Premium Beat section operates under a subscription model, where you pay one monthly price per number of tracks, where Shutterstock's Music section lets you pay one price per track. Whatever you choose, getting great music for your podcast can be more fun than work.

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Shutterstock Templates

You want to make an eye-catching social media page, and you want it to look just right. In less time than it would take you to search for “optimal image dimensions for Facebook cover,” you can find twelve templates and a seven-step tutorial in Shutterstock. The templates aren't just for online assets: you can use them for print media, such as business cards, too. Which brings us to Shutterstock's most helpful feature…

Shutterstock image editor interface

Shutterstock Tools

Shutterstock's Editor helps you use any of their templates, and you can plan color schemes, make collages, convert file types, and resize images. They have plugins to integrate with WordPress and other applications. Their mobile app means that you can get work done quickly, anywhere.

Shutterstock Pricing

Not every project has the same kind of needs, so Shutterstock varies their pricing by type of media and how much of it you plan to use. They have subscription plans and a la carte options.

  • Images and Templates: The subscription ranges from $49-$249 a month, which lets you download anywhere from 10 to 750 images per month. The On-Demand packs option lets you buy what you need when you ned it, starting from 2 images for $29, or up to $229 for 25 images.
  • Music: You can purchase a subscription for $17 a month with unlimited downloads from their music catalog, or subscribe to Premium Beats for $64.99 a month.
  • Editorial: This is Shutterstock's most expensive option. You can pay $199 per image, or purchase a 25-image pack for $99 per image.

Do you need Shutterstock for your podcast?

Admittedly, using Shutterstock isn't cheap. However, it costs about the same as it could for you to hire a graphic designer. It definitely saves you plenty of time on research. Even if you only used Shutterstock's music assets, your podcast would be more memorable and unique. If you're podcasting on a slim budget, or you're doing not for the learning experience, then there are less expensive options. Try a visual editor like Canva, which is quick and elementary. Again, there are lots of options for royalty-free music. Only you can decide what's right for the unique value proposition of your podcast. Shutterstock has so many images, tunes and tools in one site, it's hard not to sign up.

Need More Help?

Making a podcast doesn't have to be difficult. The more you know how to do, yourself, the more unique and engaging your podcast becomes. In The Podcast Host Academy, we have courses, downloadable resources, and all sorts of ways to polish your ideas and share them with the world. Plus, our Weekly Live Q&As will help you with any aspect of podcasting you want to know more about. Won't you join us?