In this post our blog PR expert Lesley Singleton talks about the importance of good quality photographs for your PR campaigns.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words, yet I’m often surprised at the high number of businesses placing photography so far down on their list of priorities when it comes to running a PR campaign.
It’s not just that business owners don’t always see photography as a priority; it’s that they tend not to realise the impact a decent, professional image can make. Recently, I requested a shot from a client to illustrate a news story their local newspaper wanted to run… I was emailed a grainy, blurred, photograph which, it later turned out, had been taken on a mobile phone. Needless to say, we lost the coverage as well as the kudos with that particular journalist.
A good quality, high res shot can really make the difference. In some cases, it can be the deciding factor in whether a story runs or not. In others, it can help double the amount of space your feature actually gets. You never see a full page of a magazine dedicated to text, but you will see great product images being splashed across glossy spreads.
Regional newspapers in particular are crying out for great images, so make your news stand out from the hundreds of stories they receive every day by offering them an accompanying shot. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you before you embark on a new media relations campaign:
- Before you attempt to launch your product, service or news, DO think about how much of the story can be told with a picture
- DO try to be original – what new ‘spin’ can you put on that image? If it’s a new product, aim to show off the item ‘in use’, but don’t forget that some publications will want straight cut-out product shots too (which could also be useful for your own website, brochures etc.)
- If your story is about people (new appointments, the people behind a new local business etc.) DO aim for a selection of poses which reflect the story and brand – DON’T go for suits and formal if that’s not what you’re about; show-off who you are, what you do!
- DON’T expect a picture crammed with logos to grab the imagination of the picture editors – they’re looking for legitimate shots to compliment editorial content
- DO invest in a professional. No matter how good your camera is, or how great that evening class was, there’s no substitute for a professionally executed photo shoot. With a clear brief and direction from you or your PR representative, a good photographer will get you exactly the set of shots you need, in the formats preferred by the media
- Once you have your images, DON’T send them out unsolicited to journalists! Always pitch the story (or have your PR pitch it) first, then offer the images as journalists hate having their inboxes clogged with large attachments they haven’t asked for
- DO find out the technical requirements of the publications you’re pitching to – a good rule of thumb is 300dpi minimum, jpeg file, usually around 1-2mb in size
If there are specific publications or website you want to see your story in, one of the best things you can do is flick through a few copies, look at the style of images they use and have your shots tailored to match their look and feel. It’s always worth creating specific shots for specific magazines to ensure your efforts really stand out against your less-slick competitors.