Beyond PR

Oct 08, 2012

Tips for Using Photos for PR (#ConnectChat Recap)

Every other Tuesday, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. EDT, ProfNet hosts #ConnectChat, a Twitter-based interview that covers topics of interest to media and communications professionals. You can also find recaps of previous #ConnectChats on ProfNet Connect. Interested in being a featured guest on an upcoming chat? Find out how.

Visuals are playing an increasingly important role in companies’ PR and marketing efforts. A good photo can increase visibility for your news release, and photo-sharing sites like Pinterest and Instagram are more popular than ever.

(Take a look at images people have pinned from PR Newswire press releases on Pinterest recently!  PR Newswire  press releases on Pinterest.)

So, what makes a good photo? What should companies be thinking about when looking to increase their use of photos in their PR and marketing campaigns?

Jill Ulicney, PR Newswire’s manager of photo products, answered these questions during a #ConnectChat in September.

In her role as manager of photo products, Jill oversees PR Newswire’s image distribution options, which include delivery to the media, online distribution, placement on the Reuters Sign in Times Square, and photo archival. She also manages PR Newswire’s assignment photography service, which provides customers with event coverage, executive portraits, and product shots. To view PR Newswire’s Photos feed on Twitter, follow @PRNphotos.

Following are highlights from the chat:

What kind of images are good for press releases?

Logos are important to include with press releases. They draw attention and add branding.

For product announcements, it is essential to add a product shot. Would you buy something without first seeing a picture?

Charts and infographics are also helpful and can convey a lot of ideas within one image.

Can you recommend any resources for creating charts and infographics?

Both and Piktochart have great infographic-creation tools.

What about for intangible products, like software or services?

For software, I would suggest using screenshots. For services, a logo is always helpful.

Any other types of images that are good for press releases?

When announcements mention executives, it’s a perfect time to include a portrait of the executive.

What makes a good executive portrait?

Executive portraits should be appropriate for the position and industry of the subject.

Professional photographers excel at portraits. They can suggest what to wear, how to pose, background, lighting, etc.

A tip from our staff photographer: Environmental portraits can have more impact than a traditional portrait and can give more context. For example, an executive of a restaurant chain can pose in a kitchen. Personality makes the photo stand out from hundreds of similar shots.

What are the benefits of using photos with press releases?

PR Newswire’s Web analytics show that adding a photo to a release can increase views by up to 1.8x. Distributing a photo with a press release results in broader reach than if the photo or release is sent alone. Press releases with multimedia content are shared more often than plain text releases via social media. Multimedia news releases have longer online life. They generate visibility for an average of 20 days vs. 9.4 days for a text-only release.

How many photos are ideal?

I always suggest using at least one. Use your logo if you don’t have other images handy. Research shows that sharing multiple photos in a Facebook album can result in a large increase in clicks.

What makes a good photo?

PR photos should be high-res, at least 300 dpi and nine inches on longest side. Clear images with good lighting and composition are key. Larger photos are preferred because an image can retain quality if it must be sized down, but quality is lost when enlarged. Mobile device cameras are improving, but photos from digital SLRs are still preferred.

Also, action shots are more interesting to viewers. Show the subject doing something instead of having them pose. Posed large group shots don’t always read well and are less likely to grab attention.

Professional photographers are often the way to go. They have experience getting the best shots and top-of-the-line equipment.

What are the typical rates for professional photographers?

Photographer costs depend on lots of factors: image usage, time, location, subject matter. For a half-day photo shoot (under four hours) and PR/editorial usage, photo-shoot prices are around $900.

Besides the photo itself, what else should PR pros consider?

It is important to remember photo captions to give context to your images.

What makes a good photo caption?

Major keywords should be at the start of the caption, which should not exceed 2,000 characters. Photo captions should hit the five W’s — who, what, where, when and why – and can include the URL for the company site.

What about photo SEO? Any tips for optimizing photos?

For photo SEO, descriptive captions come in handy. Use 3-4 keywords for the image name instead of using a vague image name straight from your camera. “IMG_0037.jpg” will not help SEO.

Don’t forget alt text for your images. Use 3-4 solid keywords as alt text to further optimize your images.

Are there any photos you can recommend as good examples?

This release uses an interesting action image to bring attention to the company’s product.

One more example: Here’s a great food image.

ProfNet, a service of PR Newswire, has helped journalists and experts connect since 1992. Writers can search the ProfNet Connect database of more than 50,000 profiles; send a ProfNet query by email to thousands of subscribers around the globe; or get timely experts and story ideas by email.

1 Comments on Blog Post Title

Marcel 07:02 EDT on Oct 9, 2012

Useful insights and very helpful answers. Should try some of it.

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