Avoiding errors when sending photos to news outlets, the benefits of infographics, and more

What are the biggest mistakes PR pros make when supplying client photos to news outlets?

What are the biggest mistakes PR pros make when supplying client photos to news outlets?

Photos

What are the biggest mistakes PR pros make when supplying client photos to news outlets?
Jim Sulley of Newscast says the three biggest mistakes are poorly or incorrectly captioned photos, poor-quality images, and sending images to the wrong person or department at the news outlet.

"It is important that images are properly captioned in the right style, and that the captions are embedded in the IPTC header," he says. "If an editor has to hunt down information, it's less likely the photo will be used."

The IPTC header, named after the International Press Telecommunications Council, is a standardized set of information included in photos sent to the news media. Those details include date, location, photographer, and caption.

Quality, both from a technical and composition perspective, is also extremely important. Poorly lit or visually boring pictures simply won't be used. And the images have to be the correct format, size, and resolution, stresses Sulley.

Even if all of the above requirements are met and you have a great image, if you don't get it to the right person, it will probably end up in the recycle bin.

"Most outlets have automated systems that send photos to the proper photo desks," Sulley says. "Make sure you know how to get your images into the outlet's system and that they are properly coded in the IPTC header so that they end up in the right place." And remember: E-mail is not always the best choice, as it can end up in a spam filter.

Video

Our client has a great story to tell using video, but we're unsure if it will get pick-up as a VNR. How else can we use video to reach our target audiences?
The evening news can be a crowded place and many worthy organizations often miss out on the opportunity for broadcast news coverage, says Tim Bahr of MultiVu. "But that doesn't mean you can't effectively use video to communicate your story to your target audiences," he adds.

Strategic placement of VNRs on cable and satellite TV, as well as site-based TV networks in retail outlets, hospitals, and on airlines, can help you reach your target audiences.

The web provides the biggest opportunity. "With nearly half of the US on broadband connections, video can be used to deliver news and information to 120 million Americans," he says. "By optimizing video content and distributing it to niche websites, you provide a direct channel to audiences that seek out information relevant to your content."

Infographics

How can infographics help our multicultural marketing?
Universally recognized illustrations and visual metaphors in place of text help break down language and cultural barriers when communicating to audiences, says Funnel's Lori Wilson.

"When illustrating people in an infographic, it is key to determine whether you want to reflect the diversity of your audience or take a more neutral, non-specific approach," she adds. "A more iconic style, similar to characters found on road signs, can focus a marketing piece more on the message and less on differences between various stakeholders."

Wilson advises communicators to also integrate infographics into internal communications efforts to enhance relationships with multicultural staffers. Using infographics to build awareness or comprehension of benefits, policies, procedures, product launches, or safety instructions increases the likelihood of materials being read and used, which ultimately can help improve productivity, customer service, talent retention, and job satisfaction.


Media relations
How can we improve the effectiveness of our media relations team during busy news cycles?

"Being prepared is a given, but you must also be able to adapt quickly and localize your story to make it relevant without compromising the message or trivializing the current news environment," says Laura Pair of News Broadcast Network.

When teaming with a client, Pair develops secondary message points in case the primary release points are compromised by the news of the day.

"This tactic usually gives the story legs well beyond the release date, so our team can continue to pitch beat reporters, specialty shows, and news-show producers for several weeks," she notes.

PR Toolbox is edited by Erica Iacono, New York-based reporter for PRWeek. Submit questions to her at toolbox@prweek.com. Also, please contact her if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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