Every day, Business Wire works with our clients to select the best distribution paths to maximize the impact of their news releases. After all, with 60 years in the news industry, we know what works, and what can be improved.

Creating visuals specifically for media usage is here to stay

In 2021, it continues to be extremely important to include visual images in your news release, but not just any imagery. If you truly want to get media attention, you must create a new kind of image – an earned media image. What exactly is an earned media image? It’s a content piece made specifically for reporters.

This concept was the basis of a discussion I hosted last year for Communications Week featuring Jane Maynard, Digital Marketing Manager Velodyne Lidar; Jackie Piccolo, Managing Director of Business Development RF|Binder; Mario Mejia, Associate Creative Director Hotwire Global and Alex Ebanks; Manager of Brand and Business Communications Coca-Cola North America – how to embrace authentic visual creation for media audiences and their readers. Our conversation uncovered five key ways to create visual connections in 2021. Below are our top takeaways from this conversation.

5 ways to visually connect with PR audiences

  1. Develop an earned visual mindset: Every communications piece today should include imagery. Because the current solution of adding a marketing or sales image to a press release creates an inauthentic storyline, today’s media relations imagery must answer the question, “How does this image extend or tell my story in a way text could not?”
  2. Make sure visual content is relevant and authentic: When developing content for media use, visuals need to be customized to speak natively to the audience they are intended to impact. For example, if you want to reach first graders, use tools and words they understand. Apply this same concept across all audiences and it becomes easy to customize your visual content into media pitches.
  3. Make friends with your brand guidelines: Creating authentic images to support your organization also means following your brand guidelines. Each earned media image should stand alone, but also fit into the larger story. Brand guidelines are key for creating cohesion among your visual assets.
  4. Remember that every audience is made up of people: One big question we received on the panel was about B2B visual creation, and the value of it. In public relations, we use visual images not to connect with robots but to reach and activate humans. Visual imagery is an excellent tool for explaining concepts or showcasing services that might not be easily grasped with text.
  5. Match your visual communications approach to channel and audience: When it comes to distributing your visuals, and amplifying them, success comes from matching the visual to the promotional platform. Each platform has a different user aspiration, so your visual must be customized to match that goal. For example, LinkedIn is a perfect place to showcase the business impact of your news, while your Facebook imagery may be more oriented towards the personal impact of your news.

Public relations in 2021 is going to be focused on recreating your news story in visual formats. Smart PR pros are embracing this trend and taking ownership of their visual communications. Those who do this authentically will be able to grow conversations across multiple audiences at one time and strengthen them over time.

Learn more

Download our whitepaper, How to Connect With PR Audiences Visually.

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