A (good) picture is worth a thousand words

By Liz Dutton, senior PR account manager

When it comes to creating successful PR messaging, considered copy goes hand-in-hand with exceptional photography. Our senior PR account manager, Liz Dutton explains how to harness the power of photography to strengthen your communications.

Copywriters like myself would like to think that our carefully crafted copy alone would be enough to capture the attention of our audiences. But that’s not the full picture (if you pardon the pun). Successful content relies on a combination of copy and images working together to draw readers in.

 

Make your copy stand out

A strong image will grab the attention of your audience on social media as they scroll through the latest content. This is also true of print media as time-poor readers flick through a newspaper or scroll down a webpage, giving a cursory glance to each article – so strong images will draw the eye, followed by a snappy headline and engaging content.

This means that realistically you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of your audience – long enough to make them stop and take in the rest of your content. With a relevant eye-catching picture they will pause long enough to read the first part of your copy and decide whether to continue to the end.

The smiling people shot has long been a staple of the PR toolkit but for good reason – people like pictures of people! One of the benefits of digital and social media is that it offers tangible statistics we can easily track and we’ve seen first-hand the impact people shots have on social media platforms. Although it might seem like a lot of effort to get various people together plus a photographer plus branding for a group shot, it will be worth its weight in gold further down the line when it comes to putting your story out into the world.

Reinforce your messages

While photos are a great way to initially engage your audience, if used well, they will continue to support your PR activity. Photos add extra colour and context to your copy that will ultimately make it work harder as your target audience is more likely to digest and understand your full messaging.

A series of clear photos can be used effectively to add weight to your argument within a longer feature or blog, explaining different key points you’re making. That way, if readers skip over any elements of your article, they can still follow your case especially when photos are accompanied by short captions.

If you’re selling the benefits of a product it is vital to show how it looks or performs during use. You may well be able to paint a picture with words but being able to see it certainly speeds things up and saves your readers valuable time.

 

Encourage brand recognition

Of course it’s important to ensure your audience is fully aware of the link between your USPs and messages and your brand or product itself. We’ve all been there where we clearly remember an advert but can’t for the life of us recall what it was actually advertising.

Including the company branding or logo and products in some of the shots used helps to cement that link and make sure your audiences come to easily recognise your brand and make that all important connection with your products and services.

And here’s how we did it for our client, Sandtex Trade

As a full-service agency we have a talented in-house photography and video team on hand to strengthen the PR and marketing activity we undertaken on behalf of our clients. The Happisburgh Lighthouse project for Sandtex Trade stands out as a prime example as it scooped Gold for Best Use of Photography or Design at the CIPR PRide Awards Yorkshire and Lincolnshire in 2019.

The mighty Happisburgh Lighthouse provided a dramatic photography opportunity. Its location was testing and stunning in equal measure and our team certainly rose to the challenge. Their skilfully-shot film showed off the painting process up-close and captured the end result in all its glory with some dramatic drone footage.

Luckily our photography team have a head for heights as they accompanied the decorators in the cherry picker to get the best shots from the top of the lighthouse. Once the project was complete, they checked for the optimum weather (something that took a while but can’t be rushed) to revisit the site and take photos from every angle – even a bird’s eye view from the drone as well as stunning images of the lighthouse at dusk to complement the bright daylight shots. These all-important completed project photos were the ideal way to demonstrate how the Sandtex products used looked once applied and provided us with a choice of hero images to use in our PR activity – driving record coverage for the brand.

Photography and PR go hand-in-hand, each making the other work harder to attract and then hold the attention of your audience.

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