Why great visuals are essential for PR payoff

A picture is worth a thousand words. It may be an old adage, but when it comes to the media it’s never been more relevant. Or true.

And the value of a video? Well, you could easily argue it’s worth even more than that in this digital era.

That’s because when you have great visual assets, your story is more likely to get a run.

For example, you may have helped to build the biggest solar farm in the southern hemisphere, but a TV news crew is unlikely to cover the feat if you have no video and the farm is hundreds of kilometres from one of their offices, making it all but impossible for them to send out a cameraperson to capture the footage that’s essential for a story

Or perhaps you have built a robot capable of cleaning an entire bathroom at the touch of a button (now that would be a good news story) but have no photos of the actual robot.

Again, your chances of getting a run are fairly slim. Because a press release on its own just ain’t going to fill that TV news bulletin or newspaper page.

Get the picture?

So yes, you should get the picture! Or some video! Here are the compelling reasons your story is more likely to get a run if you supply quality visual assets with your press release.

  1. Resources. Or should we say, lack thereof! The simple fact is many media outlets are stretched pretty thin, particularly when it comes to photographers and video crews. A local television station, for instance, may only have one camera crew, so will be limited in the number of stories they can shoot or travel for on a given day. So, if you can supply good visual assets, your story suddenly becomes less of a logistical nightmare to run.
  2. Workload. Some journalists need to fill a lot of newspaper space or update their websites with multiple stories each day. They may struggle to have the time or resources to do this, so a newsworthy press release packaged up with a great photo and/or video can be an attractive proposition indeed.
  3. The threat of the trash can. Your story pitch could very well find its way into a journalist’s junk folder if it isn’t accompanied by any video or photo files. In fact, nearly one out of five journalists surveyed last year for Medianet’s Media Landscape Report said not having usable assets attached to the pitch email was ‘one of their biggest pet peeves’ when being contacted by PR.
  4. OMG! Did you see that photo? Sometimes a compelling photograph or video make the story. Sure, your story may be pretty interesting, but it becomes much more attractive to a journalist if it is accompanied by a high resolution and engaging photo they can put on their front page, or a funny video which might go viral if they put it on their news website.

“What’s my visual?” This is the question you must always ask yourself when brainstorming your press release and pitch.

Think about how you can best tell your story visually. And also how not to do it!

If you have just received significant funding to do a landmark study into the toileting habits of Australians, for instance, then whatever you do don’t take a photo of someone in your team receiving a cheque. Most reporters and editors think cheque and handshake photos stink, so don’t flush away your time taking them! A better option in this case, for instance, would be getting a photo of someone reading the journalist’s publication while sitting on the toilet.

Are you concerned a journalist won’t be bowled over by your photography or videography skills? If so, it may be worth considering paying a professional to take some photos or videos for you.

Want to discuss how to tell your story with the right visuals? Bespoken has former journalists who know exactly what assets are attractive to the media, so if you want to remove the guesswork, get in touch with the people who know media here.

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