Whenever I send a news release about something I’ve done to my local newspapers or trade journals, I hardly ever hear feedback from my neighbors or peers, even when I know it’s been printed.
But when I send my photo with the release and it’s printed, I hear a chorus that sounds like this:
—“I saw your picture in the paper!”
—“Did you know you’re in the most recent issue of PR Tactics?”
—“Hey, I was Googling last week and your photo showed up on a website for writers. I thought your article was terrific.”
That’s music to The Publicity Hound’s ears. That’s because in the majority of cases, a photo attracts readers’ attention and draws them to the news item.
Yet journalists remain continually frustrated by the inability of publicists and others who pitch to understand the incredible power of photos. Freelance writer Pat Luebke, who writes for the restaurant and aviation industries, says a lack of photos is one of her top pet peeves.
“People keep trying to get into more and more newspapers and magazines,” she says. “If they’d only understand that especially with the digital cameras that are available today, making photos available to editors automatically DOUBLES the space you receive.”
Gina Spadofori, who writes a syndicated pet page for Universal Press Syndicate, says she has a continual problem finding good images to fill a small hole on a page.
“The availability of high-quality, high-resolution art can tip a ‘maybe’ item into the ‘yes’ category,” she says.
In fact, one good-quality photo that accompanies your story pitch can automatically move a story from Page 21 to Pages 1, 2 or 3 in a newspaper or magazine. Craig Saunders, editor of Prism, Canada’s magazine for eye care, echoes what many other magazine editors say:
“In the front section of our magazine, nothing gets in without good photos–nothing!”
All three are contributors to my ebook “How to Use Photos & Graphics in Your Publicity Campaign.”
I have my own pet peeves regarding photos. One man gave me a photo that looks as though he has a plant growing out of the top of his head. A woman gave me a photo of her in a sleeveless blouse, with her bra strap showing. One person gave me a snapshot of him and his dog. The dog had the dreaded “red eye” problem that we see so frequently, leading us to wonder if all dogs, and even people, have red eyes.
A few hours learning the basics of photography, and a little experimenting with your own camera, could go a long way toward getting photos into newspapers and magazines so that you, too, start hearing “I saw your picture in the paper!”