Pitch perfect pictures

Friday, 27 July 2012

Pitch perfect pictures

By Corrina Anderson, Account Director

It’s funny. So often when you sit down to plan out a publicity campaign, the first thing you think about is ‘what do I want to say?’.

Precious hours are spent drafting the perfect media release. You want to lead with a clever attention-grabbing headline (that is also packed full of SEO power – but that’s a tale for another blog). Next, an oh-so-articulate introduction that gives the media almost everything they need yet leaves them begging for more. With the following paragraphs you aim to take your intrepid journalist on a magical journey of enlightenment. Come the conclusion you want them to feel your media release is quite simply the most fascinating thing that has landed in their inbox this week – nay, this year - and they simply must relay the world-changing news to their readers via a 500 word front page article and/or drop everything and buy your product / purchase shares in your company that very instant.

Phew! So that’s the media release written. What’s next?

‘Next?’ you ask. Well there is a next I’m afraid, and it’s one that is not always given the attention it deserves. Stop hovering your mouse over the email send button and let me explain.

Take yourself back to the time when you last flicked through the newspaper, thumbed the pages of a magazine, surfed the web. Think about the stories you stopped and read. Think about the stories you remember. They just might all have had one thing in common – powerful imagery.

There’s a statistic somewhere out there in the Google-verse that says online articles accompanied by relevant images receive a whopping 94 per cent more total views than articles without images. Stats aside, in this age of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr and Google Images, it’s surprising that more brands aren’t leveraging their power.

So without further ado, if you want your next campaign to have the best possible chance of securing sales-driving, website traffic-accelerating, hysteria-inducing publicity, here are ten tips for pitch perfect pictures.

1. High resolution
For print media especially, there is no substitute for quality. Newspapers and magazines demand 300dpi high resolution images.

2. Approx 1MB in file size, jpeg preferred
If you want to be black-banned from journalists’ inboxes for life, by all means email a 10MB EPS file. If not, a jpeg image that is approximately 1MB in size should do the trick.

3. Don’t send large high res images until requested
While some journalists’ attitudes about this are changing, to be on the safe side send a web-quality (lower resolution, smaller file size) image first.

4. Accessible online image gallery
Send a hyperlink to an online image gallery where media can view a lightbox of images and download the ones they want.

5. Professional deep-etched product shot
For shots that pop off the page, ensure your photos look professional. For product publicity, having a deep etched photo of the product in question is a bare minimum.

6. Lifestyle or ‘in-situ’ photography
Some products aren’t pretty when photographed by themselves. Lifestyle or ‘in-situ’ photographs are a powerful way of telling a story and provide context.

7. Lots of colour
The media don’t always care about a product’s many bells and whistles, but rather what it looks like. If your product is available in a technicolour dreamcoat of shades, then be sure to show them the range.

8. Interesting form
Not blessed in the colour department? You may still have an ace up your sleeve. Products photographed in interesting, eye-catching ways are also popular.  Shooting from unexpected angles can make the everyday seem special.

9. Editorial not advertising
There is a fine line between images used for editorial purposes and those used for advertising. So fine, in fact that it is difficult to explain. Over-emphasised logos, the ‘floating hand’ holding a product, or a model looking straight at the camera are big editorial turn-offs.

10. Searchable
If you do have your images posted to online galleries or even featured on your website, make sure their file name includes your company name and/or the product name. Flickr allows you to caption photos and ‘tag’ each photo with keywords that will make them easy to find by search engines.

Got some tips you would like to add? Share them with us below.

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