7 Tips for Adding Multimedia to Your News Releases
Embedding images and video in your news releases is a fantastic way to boost their drawing power and sharing potential. In fact, releases with visuals generate up to 10 times more views than text-only releases. They’re also more likely to generate media coverage. And, visuals can extend the reach and staying power of your news because they are often used later on by media, or posted indefinitely on sites such as Pinterest and YouTube.
Take a few moments to read through these tips before you add multimedia assets to your next news release so you’ll know they will display the way they should and get properly catalogued on search engines, websites and social channels.
- Begin with high-quality images. Multimedia assets are becoming increasingly popular in brand marketing. They are part of good storytelling and give influencers such as journalists and bloggers more reason to feature your story. And they’re an excellent way to drive traffic to your website. So when you create your images, think ‘quality’– how they enlarge and how they appear as thumbnails on Twitter and search engines. A rule of thumb is to ensure the images you upload for distribution are at least 300 dpi. Blurry or unclear images will hinder your success every step of the way.
- Name your image and video files with search engines in mind. Keep in mind: search engines don’t speak in pictures – they only decipher the words you assign to them. Spiders are continually searching for filenames to index, so make sure yours describe your image and video assets accurately. If your news release is about a new Android tablet and features an accompanying photo, name it for the way people search for your type of product, not “295086. jpg.” Another fine point: for the most accurate description, don’t just use a single word. But when using multiple words, put a space between them or use dashes and not underscores. That’s because Google reads underscores as word joiners. Many companies today are also overlaying text onto images. While this is almost always the case with an infographic, it’s seldom seen with images. But consider what your audience might think about a photo they come across online. Would they understand its meaning? Since photos are shared many times without surrounding context, try using text overlay to keep your message intact.
- Always assign an image alt attribute. If your image doesn’t appear – and this can happen for a variety of reasons either intentionally or in error – you need to assign words that describe the image’s content. These words – the “alternate text” (sometimes called the “alt tag”) – show up when the element to which they are applied doesn’t render. They are very important in search engine optimization (SEO). Part of the image’s HTML or XHTML coding, the alt attribute appears after the other image attributes (path to the image on the web server, and image height and width). When submitting a release through news distributors such as Marketwired, you don’t need to worry about the HTML coding since it’s automatically created once you enter your text. But it’s helpful to know what goes on behind the scenes. You do, however, need to add alt text. A rule of thumb in creating your alt text is to use no more than four to six words. The recommended maximum is 125 characters. Keep it simple and choose words people will directly associate with the image. In some browsers you can see the alt attribute text when you move your mouse over an image.
- Use descriptive image captions for context. Google recommends always placing images and videos near relevant text. In news releases, captions are great places to elaborate on the content in your images and video, but make sure this text aligns with and supports all the other descriptions you’ve used, including file names and alt text, so you avoid confusion and ensure people searching for your multimedia assets will find them.
- Upload your video to a popular hosting site. When submitting a video file for embedding in a press release, it’s advisable to upload the embed code from a site such as YouTube or Vimeo rather than submitting the video from your desktop (e.g., in a .mpg, .mov or .wmv format) as this can be a large file that is cumbersome to upload and store. To find the embed code in YouTube, simply scroll down below your video and click on “Share” and then “Embed” and copy the code. When your video is hosted on a site like YouTube you get the added exposure from that site, plus the embed code in your release points back to it for further visibility.
- Use images to drive traffic to your website. When you upload your image during news release submission, you have the option of adding a URL to the image that links to a web page. This helps drive traffic to your site. To boost your success, link the image to a dedicated page that contains supportive information about the content in your release or about the image itself. In addition to added educational value, on this page you can encourage comments and discussion, and even include a response form to generate sales leads.
- Save your image files in the right format and size. Although news distribution services vary in the types and sizes of files they accept, there are some rules of thumb to keep in mind when you save and convert your images. Marketwired recommends images of at least 300 dpi, which is the minimum standard for print publications, and to keep your high-resolution images to a maximum size of 100K, or 800 X 1020 (W X H). That’s because websites and most news sites want graphics with file sizes as small as possible to allow for fast-loading pages but of sufficient resolution to display well without pixelating. For file formats, most journalists and influential bloggers prefer high-resolution JPEGs.