How a Stunning Photograph Can Lead to Media Coverage

I often remind my PR clients and CEO friends to create stunning photographs if they want big media attention. A clear photo with great lighting that tells a story can be the difference between starring in the lead of a story, being buried in the last graph or not being mentioned at all.

Therefore, prior to a publicity push, hire a photographer, like Paul Sakuma who is in the Silicon Valley, or take some clear and pro-like photos with a high-end smartphone. Only use your phone as a last resort. Maybe you have bootstrapped, early-stage startup. A quality photographer’s work is priceless and the investment will be well worth it.

Photo credit: Canva

For executive head shots, go to a nearby studio or set up a shoot at a nearby park. (And follow the pro tips for head shots like don’t wear a logo on your shirt and long sleeves look better than short.)

A phenomenal set of images can mean the difference between being featured in several minutes of a TV spot or 10 seconds.  What’s neat is that a set of photos can be run as a video on a TV or online show. CNBC, Cheddar, Bloomberg TV, or the local and national networks like ABC, CBS and NBC all appreciate a nice set of photos.

My neighbors run an IT company that helps Silicon Valley companies set up their new offices, onboard new equipment or workers, and transition employees to work anywhere roles.

Early on they were asked by The Mercury News for an interview about how a husband and wife can work so well together personally and professionally. This was around Valentines’ Day. They asked me for a tip before the interview. The franchise PR team had set it up. I was asked for the special sauce in helping the reporter.

I told my friends, “Own the photo. When the newspaper writer asks if you are free for a photo shoot, say, ‘Yes,’ or proactively invite them to your office for the shoot.” They did and they ended up being featured in a big part of the newspaper section that morning. Their photo was large and it got their brand positive attention. People saw it and their brand name whether they read the story or not. They starred in the lead of the story.

The co-founders of the IT company have been in business about a decade; they just acquired another franchise office so they are doing well. 

A photograph that is clear and tells a story will be welcome by journalists. photo credit: Canva

The other example happened recently. Although I’m known for technology media relations for software as a service or SaaS companies, I also volunteer helping local not for profits, e.g. the Boy Scouts of America council. (The big campaign we conducted recently was telling the world about the first female Eagle Scouts: That got awesome coverage by the way.)

Anyway, a local major broadcast network wanted to cover various summer camps opening up after a lot of people in Northern California got the COVID vaccine. The TV reporter asked for photos of a particular camp, Hi-Sierra for the show. Note that these were photos for a TV spot. Most people think you have to have b-roll. You don’t. Anyway, the BSA team had a stunning collection of high-resolution camp photos all in one place. I was able to scan the group and pick out the top ones to make the journalist’s deadline. They were featured in a slide show on TV along with an interview with the camp director. It was beautiful coverage.

Just yesterday a business reporter asked me if any of my PR agency clients had photos of their cool local work sites I could share. At about the same time a trade reporter asked for photos for a story based on a press release about an award. I was pleased when my clients gave me quality images for them. The writers were quite pleased as well.

In summary, if you want your organization to star in a story or get more time in a TV news spot, hire a photographer to take a set of quality photos for your next public relations campaign. As an aside, a phenomenal image can also make your social media posts pop.

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Michelle McIntyre consults for Aircover Communications. An IBM PR vet, she also runs her own freelance PR practice and is a ranked future of work influencer. @FromMichelle on Twitter.

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