Getting featured in the media is a great way to increase the visibility of you and your photography. So, if you have a story that you think will be of interest to the wider public, my advice would be to be proactive. Approach the media with your news.
What have you got to lose?
You never know. It could potentially lead to a great article that drives lots of traffic to your website and gets you noticed by your ideal clients!
Journalists need your stories!
Don’t forget, journalists need content for their regular columns. They need to know about breaking news in your area. They need photos for their articles and front covers. They need to hear from people like you!
Related reading: Three ways to secure free publicity for your photography business
But I wouldn’t recommend that you get straight on the phone or send an email to a journalist you’d like to connect with without fully thinking through what you will say.
Instead, I’d recommend that you prepare your pitch carefully before reaching out to them. If you have taken the time in advance to collate all the information and images that a journalist may need, it will likely pay dividends later.
Then, if required at short notice, you’ll be able to send on any extras a journalist needs, without fuss or panic.
Press Release writing and a free template
Writing a press release is a great way to summarise the story you are keen to share. I’ll now walk you through how to write a press release for your photography business.
You can also grab a free press release template from my Freebie Library, exclusive to my email subscribers. Click on the image below or sign up here to get instant access to this and other free downloads that will help you market and promote your photography business.
My top ten press release writing tips for photographers
Define the news value of the story
What genuinely is new, unique, unusual or different about the story you want to share?
The media won’t be interested in a promotional story about how amazing your photography is. There’s no news value in that.
But, if you can demonstrate how you are the first to achieve something in the industry or that you have created some truly remarkable images, then they are more likely to sit up and take notice.
The other key thing to ensure is that your news is timely. A journalist will be wondering why is this story relevant now?
Make sure that you have considered the story from the perspective of someone unrelated to your business. Will the wider public really care or need to know this?
Pay attention to the headline of your press release
The headline you choose could be the deciding factor between whether your email gets opened or not. So, spend time crafting a headline that will appeal to the journalist you are contacting. It should make them want to know more.
With literally hundreds of emails being sent to journalists every day, the harsh truth is that not all emails get opened.
If you can be clear about what’s contained in your email, and make it sound as compelling as possible, then you’ll increase the chances that yours will be one of the ones that do get opened.
If it’s a news story, say so. In the email subject line say “NEWS STORY” followed by more information that is intended to trigger their interest. For example, “NEWS STORY: Local photographer chosen to photograph the Queen on her upcoming visit to Dorset.” An extreme example but hopefully you get the idea!
Get to the point, quickly!
One thing journalists don’t have a lot of is time. So, when they open your email or take your call, they will need you to get to the crux of the story quickly. Which is why a press release is a great formula to follow when pitching to the media.
In a press release, you summarise the story clearly and succinctly and include all the main details in the first paragraph. Then you can provide more background information as the press release goes on.
But it’s the crucial first paragraph that the journalist is most likely to read.
They’ll want to immediately be able to understand the key details – the who, the what, the when, the where, and the how of the story.
If your story doesn’t capture their attention in the first paragraph or seem relevant to them, it’s unlikely that they’ll stick around to read more.
Write in the third person
Never write in a press release: “My photography business has achieved something wonderful this week. I am the first business to…”Instead, you should write in the third person, so for example: “XYZ Photography has been awarded….”
This may seem a bit impersonal and formal, but it is the style that the journalist will write in. So, if you write your press release in this style you are proving them the information in the format they like to receive it in.
This will also save them time. If minimal copy editing is needed, a journalist will look more favourably at your story than one that needs a complete re-write.
Many a time have my own press releases had sections from them literally copied and pasted into news articles, proving this very point.
Keep it concise
Press releases ideally should be around one A4 in length. The key information should be summarised in the first paragraph with extra detail provided in the second and third paragraphs.
If you cannot summarise the story to approximately one A4 page, it’s likely that you are including unnecessary information. Go back and edit down your press release, leaving in no detail that is not essential to the story.
Much like in blog writing, a good practice is to use sub-headings to break up the text. This makes it easier to read.
And, don’t be afraid of holding back some information. For example, the background of how your business was started may not be relevant to the story. If it isn’t don’t include it. Remember, the journalist can always get in touch with you if they need to know more.
Include a quotation
You should also include a quotation from a relevant spokesperson in case the media want to include one.
The quotation shouldn’t simply replicate what has already been said in the press release though. It should add some additional insight, relevant to the story.
And it should be something that you would genuinely say if speaking to the journalist direct. Don’t make it sound too formal or full of promotional waffle!
Include a ‘Notes to Editors’ section
At the end of the press release, you should include a ‘Notes to Editors’ section which is where you should include your contact details. It’s important that the email and phone numbers you include are ones that you check regularly.
If a journalist does contact you about the story, either to request more information, images or perhaps to arrange an interview, chances are they will want to be able to get hold of you quickly. You may not get a second chance if you miss their first call, so do ensure that you are available on the number and email you provide.
The Notes to Editors section is also the best place to include relevant web links where more information can be found – whether that’s your website URL or links to any relevant third parties you mention in your press release.
By including these here, the journalist can do their own research if necessary. And, then they also have these links handy should they decide to include them in an article about you.
Define your media targets
With your press release written, now the work begins to define your target media list. This is likely going to take some time. You’ll need to research which publications are potentially relevant to your story and identify which journalists or email addresses you should contact.
Journalists working on a local newspaper, for example, will likely have different sections that they are responsible for. While most have a generic newsdesk@ or news@ email address, that may not be the best way of getting to the journalist you want to reach.
If you know which specific section your story is relevant to, or which journalist covers that section, then seek out their specific email address so that the story goes directly to them. For example, is their an email specifically for the business news team? Or is your story more appropriate for the Picture Desk?
If you’re unsure, definitely check the advice on the publication’s website as all media outlets are different. If they have a preference for where press releases are sent, they will usually make this clear on their website. See their Contact page.
Don’t spam or become a pest to journalists!
Never spam journalists with irrelevant news. This is going to do more harm than good.
And don’t become a pest by sending and resending the press release until you get a response. Unless they plan to run the story, you probably won’t hear from them! #truthbomb
Great PR is about building relationships and so taking the time to identify the most relevant journalist(s) for your story will be time well spent.
Then, once you know who you want to reach out to, genuinely aim to help and serve them rather than hassle them. Think about how you can assist them and how your story is of value to them.
On a similar point, if you have a local news story, identify your local media. Only if it’s genuinely relevant to a wider audience should you consider pitching it to regional and national press!
Don’t blitz your press release out to hundreds of irrelevant journalists thinking that there’s safety in numbers! This will just result in you getting blocked or black-listed by journalists and won’t help you in the future if you need to ever approach them again.
Don’t send high-resolution images with your pitch
As a photographer, chances are you will have some brilliant quality images to support your story. But even though it might be tempting to want to share your photography with the journalist along with your pitch, do not send high-resolution images at this stage!
Journalists’ inboxes get clogged up with hundreds of press releases every day and some have spam filters that will block any emails over a certain size.
For this reason, do not ever send high res images as attachments on spec. Send a small number of low-resolution images initially – either as attachments, pasted into the email or send a link to a Dropbox folder.
That way, they can view the available imagery and can come back to you to request higher quality versions if they are needed.
How to write a press release for your photography business
I hope this has been useful as a guide to how to write a photography press release?
Do let me know in the comments below if you’ve any questions about press release writing that I haven’t covered here.
Don’t forget to also grab your free press release template (and other PR and marketing freebies) by subscribing here.
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