Earlier this month, the Puget Sound Business Journal published an article about the growth of Seattle-area businesses involved in fighting cybercrime. The article included our client Stroz Friedberg, which helps business customers manage digital forensics, data breach and cybercrime response, electronic discovery, security risk consulting, and business intelligence. There next to the Front Page headline was a photo of Scott Stein, managing director of Stroz Friedberg, showing off some of the equipment the firm uses.

The article would have been great even without the photo. But the photo really “makes” the article. It draws the eye to the piece, and makes the reader want to know what is going on. It probably accounts for the article’s prominent position in the Journal. And it adds a human dimension to a technical article.

The moral: If your business is approached to participate in a news article, think visually. Come up with a scene that a news publication may be interested in photographing, and make sure the publication knows about the possibility. Some guidelines:

  • Create some action. Posing an executive at a desk won’t work. Try to create something more dynamic, like action. Have your interview subject walk the shop floor, talk to customers or employees. Arrange a scene with your company’s products, or the equipment that makes it “tick.”
  • Tell the story. What is the main point you want to put across to readers of the article? What is it about your company, service, or product that you think warrants attention? Find a way to tell that story in the photo.
  • Think outside the screen shot. In the case of the cybercrime article, our client’s product is software. In those cases it’s easy to say to yourself, “Well, we’ll just give them a screen shot.” Avoid that temptation – screen shots are static, cold, and almost uniformly terrible.
  • Offer several scenes. Photographers and art directors like to have choices. So try to offer several locations or settings for the photo shoot.
  • Allow some time. A good photographer will want to take the time to create the best possible image. We know people are busy – executives in particular – but try to allow at least an hour for the photographer, it will be worth it when they get the right shot.

As a PR and marketing firm with offices in Seattle and Washington, D.C., we’re experts at making our clients look good in print. Contact us to learn how we can help make you front-page news.