Anyone working in PR knows that being able to provide journalists with the beautiful, high-res images they need is a massive leg up when it comes to getting coverage, but often the quality and availability of photos you have at your disposal isn’t something you have control over.
However, here are seven things you can control, to keep yourself in favour.
- Send images before you’re asked – if you’re sending commentary on a requested topic, and you know you have some strong, relevant images, send them even if you haven’t been asked to. If the journalist is choosing between several similar quotes and already has suitable images from you, it could be the decision maker for using you over a competitor. It also increases your share of the overall feature. Similarly, if it’s an interview, share a headshot before they ask. Again, it just shortens the process and is one less thing for them to do. Not only does this make them more likely to use you for this piece, but for future pieces too.
- Send the right types of images – familiarise yourself with the types of images this publication usually uses, e.g. do they tend to use lifestyle or cut-out images within the features you’re hoping to be included in? If they’ve made specific requests – e.g. portrait, landscape, or specific dimensions, make sure to double-check that’s what you’re delivering.
- Know when to send in high resolution – if a journalist or editor asks for high-res images, for the love of god, make sure you’re sending high-res images! But even if they haven’t and you know this is a print piece, it’s best to send in high res anyway. The only time I wouldn’t worry too much, is if you’re sending images out with something you’re issuing more widely like a press release. Because high-res images are normally too large to send in normal emails, you’d slow yourself down too much. Instead adding a sentence into your cover email about following up with high-res images if people are interested should be fine.
- Send in the right format – if you’re planning to reach out to one specific journalist, it makes sense to do a bit of research first to see how they prefer to receive images. Some hate zip files for example, while others might not open attachments from people they don’t know. A tool like WeTransfer is on the whole a safe bet for sending images too large to attach to a normal email.
- Give them long enough to download – if you are planning to send images via WeTransfer or similar, make sure they’ve got a reasonable expiry date. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a ‘this transfer has expired’ notification. Don’t assume the journalist will download your images there and then – often they plan in advance and may download all the files they’ve received when they get around to planning the article. From conversations I’ve had, a week seems to be the general consensus on what’s a reasonable amount of time.
- Include relevant caption info – another pet hate of journalists is not receiving any information about what you’ve sent them images of. If you’re sending photos of people, make sure you include the full names of those people (and in what order they appear). If it’s of a product, provide details of that product, including a price (or price range). Even if it’s just a shot of your premises, include the location.
- Pay attention to your file names – there’s a good chance your images will get separated from your email, especially if the journalist is downloading all the images for this feature at the same time. Therefore it’s really important to name your images appropriately, for example, with the name of your company and what the image is of. This also just helps ensure you’re properly credited.
There’s no substitute for great images, but there are ways of working with what you’ve got, and making your pitch more appealing to the right journalists.