Sometimes a good photo can illustrate a story more than words. I guess that’s why they say “a photo is worth a thousand words.”
When we had our men’s socks company (which due to a ton of media coverage, attracted a buyer less than a year after we started it), one of the things we struggled with was, “how on earth do we show photos of boring men’s socks?”
The whole point of the company was to sell something mundane that people forgot to buy or replace, but do it in a clever way (socks by mail subscription) so people never had to think about buying socks again. What kind of fun things would they do?
I suppose this is a branding exercise as well, but we had to make sure we had photos that would communicate this tongue-in-cheek message. We did that by having photos showing what men would do where we could feature our socks in the photo – from sitting in a cool sports car and sipping wine on the couch, to more ‘risque’ shots like half-naked men getting dressed and even, a man and a woman in bed, underneath the blankets –him with socks, her without.
The point of this story is, we got a lot of press without having to send out our product. Some media would just run the story and use our photos. This saved us money.
It also saved us time, because the process of having to send out the product, confirm if the editor received it and waited for them to use it could take weeks. There were times they ran our story within a few days of receiving our media pitch.
In fact, if you’re a small business, you don’t want to be mailing out your products willy-nilly. Get your target reporter interested first, and then ask if they want to have a sample. Don’t waste your money unless it will help sell the story.
Most often, reporters will just ask for a few product shots. Make sure they are good ones and illustrate your brand identity. If possible and appropriate, have shots where your logo is clearly visible.
At the very least, have on hand professionally shot photos of your product, yourself and partners if you have them. You can have headshots of course, but try and come up with creative ways to have yourself in the photo, while also illustrating your service or product.
Although you can take your own photos with a digital camera, this may be the time to splurge on a professional photographer with a creative eye.
And remember, don’t email photos, especially high resolution ones, unless you’re asked! Send low resolution ones first and let them pick what they want. You don’t want to clog someone’s in-box.
How have you used photos successfully in your PR efforts?
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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