Make the front cover with a stunning photo

#SillySeasonPR #7

Make the front cover with a stunning photo #SillySeasonPR

Make the front cover with a stunning photo

We spend a lot of time thinking about the text of a press release, but must not forget the power of photos and images.

I was lucky to take a photo of Ilfracombe, where I live, when the conditions were perfect and I tweeted the view. A lot of people loved the photo and a local estate agent asked if they could use it as the front cover of their magazine which is distributed across the UK.

Now, I try to help promote the town so I agreed, making sure I get a credit for the photo.

I always carry a camera with me to capture those ‘perfect’ shots and it’s a good practice to do this in business, so that when something happens that makes an interesting visual image, you can capture it there and then.

Planned photography, where you can set up specific shots, can be very powerful too.

So don’t neglect images. Very often I receive an interesting press release, but when I ask for a photo, receive a lousy image. These photos are often left out and the stories get lost because they are just a column or two of text. If they were headed by a stunning image, more people would read them.

Take action

Looking out existing photos or thinking up ones you can take is your #SillySeason PR task #7.

Good luck and do ask any questions you have.

Tomorrow: ? Visit to find out

Use the content and tips in our videos and posts below to boost your business.

 

Mix the right raw ingredients to cook up the perfect PR meal


Mix the right raw ingredients to cook up the perfect PR meal
I really enjoy cooking as a way to wind down.

I don’t know if it’s because it takes me away from my keyboard or because it results in a physical product, but anyway I find it very relaxing.

How do you make a meal from individual ingredients?

One of the things that fascinates me is how you take raw ingredients – today it was raw beef mince, onion, celery, carrot, tomato, butter, flour, milk, herbs and pasta – and combine them to make something new and totally different, but hopefully tasty. I was lucky in that today everything came together as a lasagne.

Combine your PR ingredients

It got me thinking that it’s the same with PR. You take your raw ingredients – your story, facts, quotes and photographs – to produce a tasty PR dish. The higher the quality of your ingredients, the tastier the story is for journalists. So if you have a mouth-watering photo, journalists are more likely to bite.

A press release on its own will not necessarily achieve success. It needs to be served in an appetising way, so a spokesperson with an energetic and enthusiastic manner is more likely to be asked for an interview on radio or TV and an eye-catching photo is more likely to be picked for the cover of a magazine.

As in cooking, we have to select the finest PR ingredients and combine them in a way that produces a ‘complete dish’.

Overcome fear to tell your story

All businesses need to create a presence so that customers know that they are there. Whether this is through marketing and advertising or from word-of-mouth recommendations, awareness is essential for getting work.

I find that many people are still wary of trying out many of the marketing tools that are available to them. In my role as a business writer for a local newspaper, I often receive phone calls starting with a business owner saying gingerly “I don’t know if you’ll be interested in this . . . ” and then going on to tell a cracker of a story. Of course, the opposite of this is the business owner who sends in press releases regularly with ‘news’ that is only of interest to them. I believe many businesses have good stories to tell and need the confidence to tell them.

While an effective PR consultant can help, businesses without a budget can . . . and do . . . achieve media exposure through their own efforts. With thought and planning, a clear idea of what you want to achieve and a focus on what you will and what you won’t talk about, public relations can be a very cost effective tool.

This applies not only to PR but also to blogging, social media and more. Perhaps you see your competitors getting exposure and feel that you offer a better service than they do, but how will people find that out? Often a voice can tell us that “no one wants to hear about that”, but it’s probably that we’re afraid of standing up and telling our story, a bit like the fear of public speaking.

I’m often encouraging people to talk about their businesses because so many are fascinating and deserve wider exposure. With social media, colleagues and associates can help to share your stories and support you.

There really are many opportunities to tell your stories and people who want to hear them.

Robert Zarywacz is a copywriter and journalist who has written thousands of magazine and newspaper articles. He also researches and writes press releases, case studies and newsletters for clients as well as managing social media and PR campaigns at z2z.com. Robert is the business writer for the North Devon Journal, chairman of COMBEbusiness and courtesy consultant for the National Campaign for Courtesy. Follow @robertz on Twitter.

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