Most press releases are little more than text. They’re published without the important bells and whistles that draw readers’ attention. Lacking photos or graphics, they merely convey information, leaving the reader to decide whether the story is engaging enough to actually read.
That’s leaving a huge opportunity on the table. Our eyes tend to gravitate toward images in a way that text cannot match. Whether real-life photos or computer-generated graphics, images attract our attention and help us connect with and remember the content.
Ask yourself: have you ever seen an effective marketing brochure that didn’t use photos? Have you ever seen a high-converting sales page online that lacked them? Probably not. And neither should you distribute press releases without including some type of image that supports your story.
Why You Need To Include An Image With Your Press Release
There are two main reasons to include photos in your news announcements. First, they play a major role in reader engagement. Nothing tells a story better than a well-thought out picture.
They also help to differentiate your announcement from others. Editors are unlikely to ask their peers, “Did you read the press release about the Maryland dentist doing gum rejuvenation?” Instead, they’ll ask each other, “Did you see the release with the photos of the receding gums?” Stunning images stand out in people’s minds.
The second reason is that they can help your rankings in Google. If your images are properly named, relevant to your story, and tagged with the right keyword terms, they’ll send a signal that Google should pick up on.
When Should You Use Photos In Your Press Releases?
The simple answer is always. Any news announcement worth publishing is worth publishing with a feature image. The image helps the reader to create a connection in their mind between your company and the subject of your press release.
They may forget what they read in your release, but they’ll remember the photo you used. The association it creates in the reader’s mind will stick around long after they click away.
Let Your Feature Image Tell The Story
Pictures tell stories. They can capture the essence of a story, providing context and conveying to the reader what the story is about. The right image can describe in a moment what your press release says.
For example, suppose you’re announcing the hiring of a new sales manager. Include a headshot of the manager with a caption providing his name and the role he’ll play in your company. If you’re announcing the launch of a new product, include a photo of it and describe its main benefit and when it will be released.
Here’s an example of a press release that uses an image to great effect. The image of the vicious dog makes it clear why dog bite laws exist. The release goes on to explain how laws vary in neighboring states, and how a dog bite attorney can help.
Here’s another example that uses an image to instantly tell the story of a mobile app that digitally opens your car doors.
And here’s another news release with a photo that attracts attention. Without even reading the title, you know it has something to do with yoga.
Hire A Professional Photographer For The Shoot
Don’t use your iPhone to shoot images for your press releases. And don’t ask your friend who’s just getting into photography to do the honors.
Hire a professional.
Your photos and images need to be clear, captivating, and high-quality. A professional photographer will know how to arrange the shot so that it tells a story rather than just putting people or products on display. He or she will know how to set the tone, use special lighting, and frame the subject matter to grab the viewer’s attention.
Include A Clear, Descriptive Caption Under Your Photo
Any image you add to a press release should be accompanied by a caption. A great caption can make the picture come alive. A poorly-written caption can ruin the effect and can even be confusing to readers.
If your photo shows a person, identify him or her and explain who the individual is. If the person is doing something, describe the action, but avoid editorializing it. Don’t assume the reader knows the context of the photo. Explain it, but be concise.
Avoid humor in your captions. Not only is there too little room, but there’s a good chance the humor will be lost on the reader.
Finally, don’t forget to optimize your image captions for SEO. In addition to being able to include a description or caption, Online PR Media also lets you add an alt tag. These are the words that will display in the event the image doesn’t load. When you include keywords, it also helps Google understand the context of the picture as it relates to your press release so that it can be indexed appropriately in the search engine results pages.
Photographs and images are critical for making your press releases come alive. Remember, you’re publishing them online, where visual elements are essential for grabbing and keeping a person’s attention.
If you’re not including an image with every press release you send out, now’s the time to make a change!
Are you including photos or images in your press releases? If so, how do you plan your shots? What factors do you take into account to create the best photo possible for the occasion? Share your tips in the comment section below!