Do your photos make – or break – your press releases?

In previous articles, we’ve discussed your press release’s sales story, its search engine focus and the content itself. But there’s a make-or-break aspect which is nothing to do with the words, and that’s the illustrative material, normally in the form of one or two photographs. Whether you’re trying to persuade an editor to mention your news or are producing the press release for a website (including your own) which will simply reproduce it as supplied, having a photo used alongside is always going to increase the eventual response, and that’s what this is all about.

It’s amazing how many marketing departments just grab an image and attach it to an emailed press release, without looking at the image size (or even understanding that it matters). Those who know the importance only too well often agonise over the best approach. PR Consultant Theo Chalmers told me: “If you attach high-res images it can exceed the recipients’ space limits. If you paste them, they’re probably not high enough resolution, and they’re bothersome to strip out. If you say ask for them, or send a link, will they be bothered – or have the time/inclination to ask or access them?”

Alan Godfrey, who has been providing PR services for over 26 years, says that he surveyed editors last year and found that for a press released emailed out as a separate document, editors liked a thumbnail picture at the bottom with clear instructions as to how to retrieve a larger format image. He points out that “if they do (retrieve the image), it tells me they are likely to use it.” In addition, Alan says that “Editors who I know can accept attachments will also be sent an attachment picture of around 2MB.” PR and social media consultant Lydia Barber gives some specific figures, saying: “We attach the accompanying image at 300dpi so it’s print resolution, but re-size it to approx 15 x 10cm and save at no larger than 500kB. This way it doesn’t clog up in-boxes and ultimately annoy people!” Again, knowing the recipients’ preferences is essential, however. Many companies simply don’t understand what they’re sending out. Technical journalist Dr Charles Clarke, who I also quoted in the last article, told me: “I tend to ask for 300dpi JPEGs at 6 inches (or 1800 pixels) square, but it is a lottery what you get back. (One well-known company) once sent me two versions of the same image: a 100kB JPEG and a 95MB TIFF …and this was pre-broadband!”

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