A story without an image is like a dog with no bone… barking mad!

A blog by Marketing and PR Assistant Chloe Finch.

Since joining Pilkington Communications last October, I learned that stories are at the heart of many clients, and the marketing we produce for them. As a journalism graduate, storytelling is something that is ingrained in me, finding the right angle and asking that extra interview question (even if it is embarrassing at times!) However, capturing that perfect image is just as vital as the words you write in creating impactful and brilliantly crafted stories.

Chloe Finch

When producing press releases, blogs and social media content, how are you going to ensure you stand out? How do you secure that coverage, or reach your target audience on social media? Research shows that social media posts with photographs or other images get exponentially more interaction and engagement.

As important as an image is, your CHOICE of image should be suitable. We regularly encourage our clients to consider hiring a professional press photographer as they understand exactly what the media want and this will massively increase the chance of your story being published.

A few weeks ago, I shared my desk with a fellow University of Northampton Marketing student Lizzie Coupe, who came to us for a few weeks of work experience. When she told me her forte was photography, I knew I had the perfect job for her.

As a company, we needed some fresh photography of our team. So, the whole team got together and we created a photography wish list, often referred to as the photo brief.

Here’s how you can have similar success:

1. Make sure you have a brief – Create a wish list of images that are perfect for your organisation and will help you with all your future marketing. Start with staff headshots and group photos, and you may want shots of your offices (we have some great ones of our quirky Delapré Abbey office). We recommend you stage some photos. For example, if you run training courses, a good shot could be of someone (pretending) to present a PowerPoint.

2. Think quality – If an image tells a story, then the quality of that image will matter. If it looks blurred, the people in it are tiny against a boring landscape or it is not clear what the image is meant to be, you’ll lose people’s interest. When we were doing our photography, we had to retake a few pictures because of pesky computer wires.

3. Resolution is important – If you’re using a professional photographer, remember to ask them for both high-res and low-res images from your photographer. If you don’t, you’ll spend ages having to resize photos. Low-res images are often needed for social media and websites, whereas journalists prefer high-res quality.

4. Give yourself plenty of time – As the saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, so spend that bit of extra time perfecting it.

It can be tempting and very easy to use stock photography. Although this can be handy, try to use your own because stock images can affect the credibility of your beautifully-written words.

And finally… now you’ve got a bank of new imagery, why not use this photography to tempt a journalist into running a story about you and your organisation?

Here’s how:

• Firstly, never ever send a press release to a journalist without including an image (unless it is tv or radio). Journalists and bloggers will be far more likely to cover news that includes an image (although a terrible image could be just as bad as not including one in the first place).

• Make sure your image is professional, tells the story and perfectly reinforces the message in your press release.

• Ensure you name your photo correctly when you save it (eg the names of people in the image).

• We recommend you send it in JPEG format to the journalists.

A genuine photo of your organisation (whether it’s your offices, or your hard-working team) will always trump a stock shot downloaded from an online image library, that lots of other organisations are no doubt also using. Be genuine, be original and showcase who you are.

I once read a quote by photographer Irving Penn that said ‘A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.’

Happy snapping! Check out some of our pictures on our Facebook Album.


1 Comment
  • Shirley Finch
    Posted at 23:49h, 17 June Reply

    Great points raised , I am a lover of photography’ and capturing moments as I work with young children and their families , I will use your advice to revamp my advertising /paperwork and maybe one day reach out to you and your contacts for visual aids and website and social advertising , Good luck to you and all who you meet along the way. , I hope this story can be shared more and more viewers will comment

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