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What if My Publicity Angle Needs a Photo? Publicity Dilemma 6

by Marcia Yudkin

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Published on this site: April 7th, 2009 - See more articles from this month



Occasionally I hear from someone who laments that they can't possibly reduce the charms of what they sell to words. Only a photo, they claim, adequately conveys what it is and why it is so wonderful.

Unfortunately, however, even the most skillfully taken photographs are not self-explanatory. Why do you think every mainstream media outlet rigorously provides captions for its photos? And why do you suppose successful ecommerce sites never try to sell with product photos alone? Indeed, photographs without captions can be far more mysterious than verbal descriptions.

Think about a photo of a scrumptious-looking plate of pasta primavera, for example. Just looking at the photo, could you know for sure that this is pasta primavera and not, say, pasta alla veronica? Could you see from the photo that this was the first dish created by Chef Geri Halcomb after recovering from cancer treatment? Would you realize from the photo that the pasta is organic, from locally grown wheat and only 120 calories per serving?

Whereas photos need context and verbal pointers to be complete and persuasive, words by themselves can tell the story and sell the reader. Consider the ability of radio to place you in a scene or a novel to conjure up a vivid world you've never visited. Of course, film and video, or words plus pictures do often have greater power and clarity than words alone.

When you're aiming at media coverage, understand that the writer or broadcaster has to use words to explain your offering. It's your job to help with that. With your words you set the context, explain the purpose and audience and provide essential details. An accompanying photo illustrates or fills out what you mean and adds richness to the words.

With that said, if you feel a photo does the job of a thousand words, then provide a verbal description that is as clear as you can possibly make it and then also make one or more photos available. Or for some types of items, get an actual sample into their hands along with the verbal pitch.

Here are three ways to transmit your words-plus-photos or words-plus-sample pitch to media outlets:

  1. Mail it: This works especially well when you're sending a sample item. Make sure the accompanying words clarify the purpose, audience, materials, maker, availability, price of the item and how/where to buy it.

  2. Email: Media people don't like opening email attachments from people they don't know, so either insert the photo right into your email pitch if you can or post the photo on your web site and provide the link to it in your email.

  3. Press release distribution service: Some such services, such as Emailwire.com, allow you to include a photo or even two with your release at no extra charge. When readers look at a page of press release material and some of the summaries have photos and others not, the ones with accompanying photos practically scream "Read me, not the others."

Give your story the best possible shot at media coverage by carefully providing context and details in your verbal pitch and amplifying that with a photo.



Marcia Yudkin: Is a publicity expert and the author of 6 Steps to Free Publicity, Persuading on Paper, Web Site Marketing Makeover and eight other books. She has engineered coverage for herself or her company in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Success, Women in Business and dozens of newspapers around the world. Get free access to a one-hour audio recording in which she answers the most common questions about getting media coverage at:
http://www.yudkin.com/publicityideas.htm.

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