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Monthly Archives: August 2015

11 
Aug

What are newspapers looking for in press releases?

Written by Martin Neeves – Former Press Photographer Leicestershire

press releases TNT staff raising cash for Children in Need: Pudsey Bear helps Julie Baldwin to answer the phones in the TNT's Lount Contact Centre.
TNT staff raising cash for Children in Need:
Pudsey Bear helps Julie Baldwin to answer the phones in the TNT’s Lount Contact Centre.

I started my working life working as a press photographer and was always aware of what the editors were looking for in a potential story.  This experience has carried through to my work since I have been working in my own business.

It is important to get inside the head of the editor, who has several drivers; firstly to make the paper interesting to readers, secondly to report the news, thirdly to maintain or increase sales and lastly to make a profit.  Closer inspection shows that the first point about making the paper relevant to readers feeds all the other factors.

Another interesting issue is to hit the right news outlet; this may mean that if you want to target a specific industry, then trade press may be better for you.  Contrary to what you might think it might be better to get local rather than national coverage if you need to get at a regional target audience.

I am not going to go through the structure of a press release because there are so many other articles that cover the “template” of a press release.  Nor am I going to cover writing style for the same reason. I am going to cover the sort of subject matter that I have found works best.

Be Interesting

Press releases - New CHEMEX franchisee for Coventry and Warwickshire Jon Groves.
New CHEMEX franchisee for Coventry and Warwickshire Jon Groves.

So the message for businesses wanting to benefit from coverage in local or national newspapers is that you need to have an interesting story. Editors are always looking for fillers or interesting articles.

Now you don’t have to contrive a ridiculous title to read something like “Accountant joins practice and bites Senior Partner”.  But have you genuinely got something that is new, unusual, rare or unexpected? Consider this – “Fireman rescues cat from tree” has been heard many times before, but when was the last time you read “Cat rescues Fireman from tree”.  So you have got to have something that is interesting.  How many “Business Sections” of local newspapers do you see “Accountant passes exams” or “Fred joins Smith’s Accountancy practice” or something similar?  It is of interest to the account’s friends, family and themselves, but it hardly inspires others to read the article.  Now I am not suggesting that you contrive a press release that starts “New accountant joins practice and bites senior partner” – that has no credibility, unless that did happen.

Now a story about something unexpected like changes in life direction that resulted in the opening of a business might be interesting.  So a taxi driver who sets up a stock broking firm is going to be more interesting than a stock broker who sets up a taxi firm.  Especially if there is some tale about the taxi driver having gained all his knowledge from the stock brokers who have used his cab.  This would work because readers would like to see the underdog rise above adversity.

Timeliness  

The next thing that is essential is that the news needs to be recent.  A newspaper is not a history book; the clue is in the name Newspaper.  So you usually need to be geared up to get the new story to the editor within 24 to 48 hours.  In many ways you need to be thinking about press releases before the event and not after.  As soon as you relegate planning for a press release to “after the event” then you are losing traction.  I accept that sometimes things occur without notice, but quite often evens or occurrences are known about beforehand.  Whilst some consumer or trade magazines have long lead times, maybe local newspapers have a few days until publishing; a daily newspaper will have a tight deadline – possibly 3 pm for publication the following day.

Appropriateness

Press Releases - The Leicester taxi that is sponsored by SGP Property & Facilities Management.
The Leicester taxi that is sponsored by SGP Property & Facilities Management.

A genuinely new, highly innovative or whacky product or service may be of interest to readers, especially if the publication is aligned to that product.  Again, think local; does the product or service benefit the local community?  Does it have a local angle?  Has a local business won a national award?

People try to dream up novel stunts which can be a risk. To be effective, it has to get peoples’ attention – the wow-factor or “you’ll never believe what someone has done” effect..

Doing something bizarre takes creative flair, but if it really is something that makes people go ‘Wow!’, you can get great media coverage.  Another factor people often get wrong is to ensure that the stunt is related to your business.  It must not degrade your brand or company image in such a way that it puts customers off your business.

In the modern world of communication, news items need to be backed up with good images.  Quite often the thing that will sway an editor to choose between 2 press releases will be engaging photographs.  So do not forget to attach pictures – a great picture can be enough to sway a publication to use your story.  Then think beyond getting the Editor to publish your article.  It is no good getting an article published if you do not catch the reader’s attention because all you are offering them just a block of text to read.  To find out more about using photography for press releases, read my article “How to use photographs to help your business press relations”.

What to put in

I think that the advice given by Rudyard Kipling in “The Elephant’s Child” is totally relevant when it comes to the Press Release:

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

If you want to read the whole poem then take a look at the Kipling Society’s website – “I Keep Six Honest Serving Men …”

In more detail you need to answer the questions:

  • Who? Who are the key people within the company associated with the event?  Who does your news affect?  Who does it benefit?
  • What? What is new? What is the press release about? What does it provide that is different?
  • Why? Why is this important news?  Why should people take note of the article?
  • Where? Where is this happening? Is the location of business or event relevant?
  • When? The timing of the event, especially if this is in the future. Is the timing significant?
  • How? How did this come about? How does this make a difference or affect people?

If you need great photographs for your press releases then call me now on 07973 638591 or on 01455 271849 or CONTACT ME to find out how I can help to make your business stand out and explain how photographs help business press relations.

Readmore..

Published Date: 11th August 2015
Category: General


 

07 
Aug

David Nash Sculpture at The University of Warwick

I have just had the pleasure of photographing the World-renowned British sculptor David Nash OBE during the installation of his latest sculpture “Habitat” next to a cycle path that runs between The University of Warwick and Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

Invalid Displayed Gallery

The sculpture was made out of a huge trunk section of a cedar tree that blew over in high winds in the grounds of Portmeirion in North Wales.  David used chainsaws, axes and chisels to create this artwork which is designed to work in harmony with the newly planted woodland on land owned by the University of Warwick.  As the new trees are still very small, the sculpture stands proud over them and will do for many years.  However, as the trees grow, the sculpture will appear to shrink in size and may even be dwarfed by the trees.  David carved rectangular holes and slits on the top half of the sculpture for birds and bats to net in – hence the artwork’s name “Habitat”.

The huge sculpture was brought down from North Wales on the back of a lorry and then lifted off by a crane on the back of the lorry.  It was then stood upright and positioned under David’s instructions to give the most pleasing views for passing cyclists and dog walkers.  Finally, it was bolted onto its concrete base to give it stability.

I was booked by The University of Warwick’s communications department to photograph the installation process and then to take some shots of David with the sculpture.  The photographs were then sent out to the national press, local press and arts media.

Contact Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now if you want a press and PR photographer who has over 28 years of experience in taking photographs that will get published in the media.

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Published Date: 7th August 2015
Category: General


 

03 
Aug

How to use photographs in the construction industry

Written by Martin Neeves – Commercial Photographer Leicestershire

photographs in the construction industry

Photography is often only used in the construction industry to show an end result, possibly a before and after shot.  However there are many other situations when photography can be useful to document the progress of construction projects.

Conventionally, construction companies tend to use photography for many forms of marketing such as brochures, web sites, magazine advertising and exhibition displays. The survey side of construction do use imagery to help illustrate investigation reports, especially when there are problems or flaws in construction.  But what if we turned that on its head and showed the process of constructing a building to show that a building was built to specification.   This would have many positive factors for the seller and for future investigations to show that the building was built correctly.

photographs in the construction industry

Construction companies and developers also regularly use professional photographs of their staff and contractors hard at work to illustrate articles sent to the trade press and also for their own marketing materials such as websites, brochures and annual reports.

Using a modern development in photography, you could use drones (more correctly known as UAV’s or unmanned aerial vehicles) to monitor a building as it grows. This would help identify potential problems during the build process that you might not be able to see from the ground.

Another use for regular photography is to keep a client appraised of progress where written reports may lack sufficient description to help the client understand at what stage the project is at.  It is a great way to communicate building milestones to a client. That may be very important if the client is located remotely from the project.

Some building contractors use photography to record the milestones of a project to avoid disputes with sub-contractors, after their wok has been hidden behind other construction, walls, cement or plaster. By date and time stamping photographs and referencing them to the site plans makes a sound record.  If there is a component failure, the use of progression photography can help keep the need for reworking to a minimum.

Some construction companies use photography as part of the recording process in a daily log. This may be tied up with a much wider daily recording process capturing employee time, voice recordings, job notes and site photos as one system of recording.  With the advent of GPS in cameras and mobile phone cameras, a site manager can accurately validate the work on site in order to reduce costs and risk.

For photography of a construction project to be meaningful it does require images to be builder-carpenter-in-windowtaken from set datum points, to ensure all changes are seen a relative. Also it is imperative to use a tripod because of the scale of a construction project.  By keeping the camera completely level, the images will have the correct perspective and stand comparison over a period of time.

Some elements of the recording process will require the use of something familiar to allow visual comparison of changes and the scale of a construction.  This might be a man, it might be a ruler, it might be a large piece of construction machinery.

Patently if you are photographing a huge machine or building, artificial lighting is less likely to be relevant.  This may mean taking images on an overcast day to avoid shadows and reflections causing issues that make an element of the construction look different.

Contact Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now if you want a commercial photographer who can advise you on how to use photographs in the construction industry and manage that process for you.

Readmore..

Published Date: 3rd August 2015
Category: General


 

03 
Aug

How to use photographs in the construction industry

Written by Martin Neeves – Commercial Photographer Leicestershire

photographs in the construction industry

Photography is often only used in the construction industry to show an end result, possibly a before and after shot.  However there are many other situations when photography can be useful to document the progress of construction projects.

Conventionally, construction companies tend to use photography for many forms of marketing such as brochures, web sites, magazine advertising and exhibition displays. The survey side of construction do use imagery to help illustrate investigation reports, especially when there are problems or flaws in construction.  But what if we turned that on its head and showed the process of constructing a building to show that a building was built to specification.   This would have many positive factors for the seller and for future investigations to show that the building was built correctly.

photographs in the construction industry

Construction companies and developers also regularly use professional photographs of their staff and contractors hard at work to illustrate articles sent to the trade press and also for their own marketing materials such as websites, brochures and annual reports.

Using a modern development in photography, you could use drones (more correctly known as UAV’s or unmanned aerial vehicles) to monitor a building as it grows. This would help identify potential problems during the build process that you might not be able to see from the ground.

Another use for regular photography is to keep a client appraised of progress where written reports may lack sufficient description to help the client understand at what stage the project is at.  It is a great way to communicate building milestones to a client. That may be very important if the client is located remotely from the project.

Some building contractors use photography to record the milestones of a project to avoid disputes with sub-contractors, after their wok has been hidden behind other construction, walls, cement or plaster. By date and time stamping photographs and referencing them to the site plans makes a sound record.  If there is a component failure, the use of progression photography can help keep the need for reworking to a minimum.

Some construction companies use photography as part of the recording process in a daily log. This may be tied up with a much wider daily recording process capturing employee time, voice recordings, job notes and site photos as one system of recording.  With the advent of GPS in cameras and mobile phone cameras, a site manager can accurately validate the work on site in order to reduce costs and risk.

For photography of a construction project to be meaningful it does require images to be builder-carpenter-in-windowtaken from set datum points, to ensure all changes are seen a relative. Also it is imperative to use a tripod because of the scale of a construction project.  By keeping the camera completely level, the images will have the correct perspective and stand comparison over a period of time.

Some elements of the recording process will require the use of something familiar to allow visual comparison of changes and the scale of a construction.  This might be a man, it might be a ruler, it might be a large piece of construction machinery.

Patently if you are photographing a huge machine or building, artificial lighting is less likely to be relevant.  This may mean taking images on an overcast day to avoid shadows and reflections causing issues that make an element of the construction look different.

Contact Martin Neeves on 01455 271849 or on 07973 638591 or use my contact form to get in touch now if you want a commercial photographer who can advise you on how to use photographs in the construction industry and manage that process for you.

Readmore..

Published Date: 3rd August 2015
Category: General