By Artwell Nwaila
Sending sub-standard, low res images or no images at all does more damage than most PRs realise. There are millions of formulas to writing press releases that capture the imaginations of writer, journalists and the public alike. But they can all fall on deaf ears if the first point of contact, which is the image, is of bad quality or does not exist at all. The perfect press release document should be accompanied with an equally impressive image.
Good images are as important as a snappy headline as they are also attention grabbers. They also trick the mind into thinking that the content is less heavy than what it really is. Remember when you were young and you preferred reading books with pictures? None of us has outgrown that, we prefer magazines with glossy images, we like our news to be accompanied by a decent piece of photography. And we all avoid websites that don't have pictures, because they look dodgy and they may kill us with boredom. Adding visuals to any written piece gives it richness and provides the eyes a good rest when reading long copy.
In an article on Photo.net
, photographer Juha Kivekas tells us that in print publications, photos act like adverts for the article, when one is skimming through the publication. He goes on to say; "If a photo is interesting enough, the reader will stop and read the caption and if the caption is of interest, the reader will direct his attention to the article."
Online publications, websites and blogs may have shorter content but the use of good imagery is equally vital to print publications. Someone who reads an article online is more likely to do so at work or on the move, so the sight of heavy body copy may seem too time-consuming. Images can also contribute to more coverage in the online media space.
According to PR Newswire
data which analysed more than 10 000 press releases, the more multimedia you have in your press materials, the more hits you are bound to have. In fact, just by adding an image, the release will get 14% more hits. Other media such as video also increase the hits substantially.
Another issue is the lack of understanding of image formats. Having an image is all good and well but it will not go very far if it is 15kb and 72dpi and intended for a newspaper. Ceri-Jane Hackling, managing director at Cerub PR, points out
that newspapers and magazines can only use high-res images, so it’s essential that any images you send have a resolution of over 300 dpi (dots per inch) and are at least 1MB.
On the other hand, sending a CMYK, 600 dpi image to a blogger is impractical and will most likely bounce back when sent via email. The terminology might get tricky but having at least one person who understands the terminology in the office will make a huge difference.
When laying out or publishing the release, should there be no image that was sent through with the release, one should use a generic royalty-free image. There are plenty of free royalty-free websites that just require you to credit them wherever you use their pictures.
There should be no excuse for not sending an image or delivering a shoddy piece of photography to a publication in this day and age. It is not only frustrating for the publication designer and editor - not having a picture will also yield minimal benefits for you and your clients.