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Why PR must prioritize images—and how to track them

by | Mar 8, 2018 | Public Relations

If your PR clients are selling products, then having quality images for promotion is critical to your strategy—both for the journalists who might cover those wares, and for the consumers who will be comparing your products to competitors’ offerings. In fact, a great image can be your best sales tool.

According to a recent blog post from product-placement PR firm Howling Moon PR, two thirds of consumers consider image quality to be “very important,” and as far as placement is concerned, journalists look for similarly engaging images to grab their readers’ attention. If you want to reflect the high quality of your products, then these images need to be high-quality representations as well.

In fact, subpar images—whether due to poor lighting or background, or a simple lack of imagination—could be the downfall of a product PR campaign. Not only will journalists bypass your press materials, but you will get similarly disappointing return from those images in catalogs, brochures, and website placements.

Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, and images capture readers’ attention and make content more digestible, according to Marx Communications president Wendy Marx. “Tell your story as visually as possible,“ she says in a recent blog post. “Visuals are a major draw for journalists who are on the hunt for their next story.“

Why PR must prioritize images—and how to track them

Marketing entrepreneur and blogger Jeff Bullas recently described reasons why images are important, certainly for inclusion in press releases, but also for your client’s online store or Facebook business page. He offers the following six reasons:

  • Articles with images get 94 percent more total views
  • Including a photo/video in a press release increases views by over 45 percent
  • 60 percent of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results
  • In an ecommerce site, 67 percent of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product
  • In an online store, customers think that the quality of a products image is more important than product-specific information (63 percent), a long description (54 percent) and ratings and reviews (53 percent)
  • Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37 percent where text only is 0.27 percent—which translates to a 37 percent higher level of engagement for photos over text

“Look at things from your customer’s point of view,” continues the Howling Moon PR post. “They can’t physically see your product in front of them, they can’t feel it, turn it or touch it. The photograph is one of the most important selling aids you have at your disposal.“

But visually appealing press releases and online store content aren’t the only reasons that images are becoming critical for PR and marketing campaigns: the fact is, reading text on a screen is simply going out of fashion. A recent New York Times article series describes media’s post-text future, and one segment in the series by Farhad Manjoo talks specifically of the rise of a visual Internet. “If you … look ahead to the coming year online, one truth becomes clear,” Manjoo writes. “The defining narrative of our online moment concerns the decline of text, and the exploding reach and power of audio and video.“

Why PR must prioritize images—and how to track them

And so the question becomes, are you going to push things forward, or be left behind? Images and other multimedia are no longer optional, both for journalists and consumers.

And now, thanks to new AI-powered image monitoring from Agility PR Solutions, you can track how you and your competitors are being visually represented in the online media. This trailblazing new tool uses machine learning to identify objects or logos in an image—even when there’s no mention of the company or product in the article itself.

If images are telling the full story in today’s post-text world, can you afford to miss out what they’re saying about you?

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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