“A picture tells a thousand words” is an age-old adage, which in this Instagram era holds truer now than ever.
Our appetites for what’s going on in the world can be satisfied by rapidly scrolling through a series of pictures, happy with getting a snapshot of a situation rather than spending time reading a lengthy article.
But it’s not just social media platforms that are powered by images – traditional media outlets, be that print and digital newspapers or magazines, are also hungry for good photography. A powerful picture can be enough to generate a double page spread in a newspaper, providing it has the right ingredients.
Brands should bear this in mind when pulling together collateral for a PR campaign. Supporting images are an important factor for most media sell-ins, and generally increase the attractiveness of a story to media outlets. Often a PR story will be rejected purely because there isn’t a suitable image to run alongside it. Conversely, if a story has a strong image, it will likely double the editorial space it commands.
So, to help brands increase their chances of media outlets using their images, we have listed below some golden rules:
- It’s a basic requirement, but if you want your image to be used in the print media, ensure the resolution is high enough – 300dpi is ideal.
- When selling in a product story, ideally offer journalists a range of options: ensure you have product ‘cut outs’ or products shot against a blank backgrounds, but also lifestyle shots featuring your product. While consumer magazines tend to prefer the former, trade and national media often select the latter.
- Don’t be too branded. Unless you are trying to get straightforward product coverage, a photograph should be more editorial in style i.e. the branding or product inclusion should be subtle, or non-existent. If you are taking a photo with the aim of generating coverage in the news section of a national news outlet, the less branded the better. If you are hoping to get corporate coverage on the business pages, visible branding is useful but should do more than just plug the product.
- Consider using a professional news agency photographer, such as one from PA Pictures or Solent News and Photo Agency. They can provide consultancy on what image will most effectively generate coverage for a brand but can also put the image on their news wires if they think they are strong enough editorially, significantly increasing the chance of being published.
- Think about how you can possibly involve an animal in any photography you want to land on the news pages of the nationals – the cuter, the better. It sounds like flippant advice, but picture desks and photo agencies openly admit that having animals in an image exponentially increases its chance of being used!
- And finally, never send a journalist multiple images attached to an email. If you have a number of images they can choose from, then send them a WeTransfer link or give them access to a Dropbox folder. Nothing will ruin your chances of editorial coverage more than blocking a journalist’s email inbox with large images.
If you would like to speak to someone about how photos can enhance your PR campaign, email email@example.com.