Thursday, September 06, 2007

11 Tips for Using Photos & Graphics for PR

With my new work at the Canadian Paralympic Committee, I've become more sensitized than ever to the need for effectively managing a database of photos and video for the media. At CPC, we manage an Image Bank specifically for interested sports media. With a ready source of print media ready images of athletes in action, we greatly increase our chances of good media coverage. With our focus directed at improving this service, it got me thinking of what many in the business take for granted: Snapping up headlines with good photos (emphasis on good) is part an parcel of media relations success.

In my search through the net, I came across a great article of real relevance in public relations. A woman whom I respect, Joan Stewart aka the Publicity Hound, had this to say on good photos and public relations:

Snap up some headlines with the right snapshot:

1. Make sure you have good-quality, above-the-shoulders photos of all your experts who are likely to be interviewed by the media.

2. Consider asking your photographer to shoot "environmental portraits" of your experts. An architect, for example, might be shown holding several rolled up architect's renderings under her arm. A construction executive can be shown holding a hard hat or other tools of his trade. Weekly newspapers that don't have big photo staffs would probably welcome these photos.

3. Have interior and exterior shots of your company available for the media. The interior shots can show people at work. Please, no cliche "on the telephone" or "working at the computer" shots.

4. Submit photos with news releases about routine announcements such as new hires, promotions, retirements, awards, etc.

5. Pie charts, bar charts and other graphics can often help readers understand complicated issues such as budgets. Offer to supply information to media outlets so they can create their own graphics to accompany the article they're writing about.

6. If you're sponsoring an event that doesn't necessarily warrant a story, call the photo desk at your local newspaper and let photographers know what's happening.

7. If a photographer from a newspaper or magazine takes photos at your company, never demand to see the negatives, or dictate what photo they should use with the article, or ask for free copies of prints. The negatives are the property of the media outlet, and the media maintain full control over their use. If you want prints, expect to pay for them.

8. Make sure all photos are scanned at print-quality 300 dots per inch and available for instant download at your website, preferably under a button called "Media Room" that can be accessed from the homepage.

9. Avoid using big clunky photos at your website because they slow down the time it takes a page to load.

10. Never, ever ask a newspaper or magazine to take photos of a check-passing, ground-breaking or ribbon-cutting ceremony. The media hate these staged events. And don't wimp out by uploading these cheesy-looking photos to your expensive website.

11. Offer an architect's rendering instead of a ground-breaking shot. In place of a check-passing photo, take a photo that illustrates what the money will be used for. Instead of a ribbon-cutting photo, how about a photo of a business person with a customer on the first day of business?

Are you starting to get the picture? Photos and graphics can be a powerful publicity tool--but only if you use them.

Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound, is author of the ebook
"How to Use Photos & Graphics in Your Publicity Campaign."
She also publishes the free ezine "The Publicity Hound's Tips of the Week."

Mark Buzan is Principal and Chief Magnifier in Action Strategies, a full service Strategic Communications, Public Relations and Public Affairs Consultancy. Make sure to contact him for advice on reaching audiences you may or may not have yet considered in your marketing communications and PR campaigns. Drop him a line if you are looking for help in developing a public relations campaign. You can view his website at www.actionstrategies.ca.

No comments: