PR With Impact: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Issuing lots of press releases and wondering why they never go anywhere?  Are you producing great content and still not getting a look in with local, national or online media?  If you do get coverage, is it tucked into the back of the publication or buried in another piece?

Lack of success could be down to inadequate or no photography.  Having  interesting and relevant imagery to accompany a press release helps your chances of publication enormously.

In the battle for media coverage, a well-chosen image, info-graphic, photo, and we can now add well edited film clips to this list, will make all the difference when it comes to driving an effective media campaign.

Newspaper photographs are as important as the story itself.  A well chosen image can increase visibility and help secure the quality editorial your organisation needs to differentiate your brand and help you stand out from the crowd.

Here are my top tips for PR success:

  • Provide quality images.  Don’t give a journalist a reason not to use your article. Should they decide to print your piece, they expect you to have one or two high quality photos ready to go.  Make sure that you have the images ready, that they are professional standard and in high resolution colour.
  • Research Editorial style. It’s a good idea to check out the photos used in your target publications so that you can match your photos to their editorial style.  For example, some publications might prefer ‘action’ or ‘in situ’ shots to studio or head shots. It’s worth doing your research.
  • Build a photo library. Develop a media library of the few essential photos you will need to support your PR campaign.  Make sure you have up-to-date photos of your senior staff,  your logo and company’s offices.  Avoid clichéd poses.  Think about creating a press area on your website and make the photos available for download.
  • Write Captions. if you are issuing an image on its own, include a caption with the names of each person in the photo left to right.  Also include the date, location and name of the event at which the photo was taken.  Avoid spelling mistakes ! See example below.

Pictured at the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway Innovation Open Day, 17 July 2015, (L-R) Dr. Mary Murphy, CEO, Wiser Design and Matt Smith, Architect, Galway City Council .

  • Do it yourself! Not every event or release justifies professional photography.  If you have the resources, one of the best investments you can make is a good digital camera.  You don’t need a top of the range model, simply one that can take pictures of sufficient quality to be printed or posted to a website. Get snapping.  Issue to newspapers on the day and to post to social media.
  • Invite photographers to events. May seem an obvious one.  Be aware of the need to get photographers to your events.  In the run up to any event, speech, meeting or conference, make sure that your local paper, as well as sending a journalist, thinks to send a photographer as well.
  • Pay attention to formats. Always consider the publication to which you’re sending your images and send the images in an appropriate format. Printed media require a Jpeg image file that’s at least 500KB and 300dpi.  For online media, provide an image that can be easily uploaded without having to be manually resized.  Again, make it easy for the journalist or the photo editor. Don’t give them a reason not to use the photo.

A picture can indeed be worth a thousand words, especially when it helps you achieve column inches in local, national and online media, creating a buzz around your event, story or company announcement. Follow these simple rules and get snapping, sharing and posting!

About the author: Suzanne Shaw, MBA, is an independent marketing professional with 20 years’ experience in developing and implementing business development, marketing and communications strategies working in a wide range of sectors and businesses, from startups to SMEs and large enterprise.

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