You know that a picture is worth 1,000 words.
But did you know that a picture can also be worth thousands of eyeballs?
Nonprofits that are looking for news coverage often spend considerable time crafting written pitches and news releases, but overlook an important asset when they’re sending releases and pitches: strong visuals.
As a result, they’re missing some big opportunities.
Most modern news organizations no longer employ big photography teams and graphics desks. And many local TV news stations have fewer camera people on staff to capture live video than they did even a few years ago.
To compensate, they rely on submitted photos, graphics, and video to help fill in the gaps.
And when time is short and an editor needs to make a choice between covering a story where they already know that they have strong visuals on hand and one where they don’t, you can guess which story gets covered.
So if media attention is a goal at your organization, it’s important to take a step back and think about how you can provide relevant visuals whenever you make a new announcement, launch a new campaign, or host an event.
For many nonprofits, especially those with small teams and tight budgets, this might seem daunting.
But with the right tools and tactics, your organization can create low-cost visuals that will help you stand out.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
Take pictures that show your work
When nonprofits receive a big donation or make an investment in a new project, they’ll often invest in creating an oversized check and gather a handful of people in suits to hold it while posing for an awkward photo.
Rather than investing time and money in unimaginative “big check” photos, direct some resources to taking some photos that actually show what you do.
If you can’t afford to hire a professional to document your work, find a talented volunteer who might be willing to take pictures of your team in action — or of beneficiaries who have changed because of your organization’s work.
In time, you should be able to build a library of interesting images that you can use in conjunction with your pitches and releases.
You can increase your chances of getting TV coverage (or appearing in online reports) if you can create some B-roll footage of your organization at work.
It doesn’t take much to capture high-resolution video these days — and with some basic video editing software, you can create 20 to 30 seconds of footage that can appear during a newscast. You can also create B-roll if you have a series of high-quality still images.
Here’s an example of how one of the organizations we work with — Artists Sunday — created some B-roll depicting the work of artists who were participating in its recent campaign.
For nonprofits that are looking to create graphics on a budget, there are a number of free online tools that will help you build clean, easy-to-read charts and tables.
Canva, Piktochart, and Dipity are just a few of the examples of no-cost tools that will help you get started.
Create an Library on Your Online Media Page
You can further increase your chances of getting coverage by creating an online library of photos that are available for use by the media.
It can be as simple as including headshots of key officials, photos from events, and other key images that might help a news organization illustrate a story about your work or cause.
And if you don’t yet have an online newsroom, here’s why you should think about creating one.
Of course, you can also invest in hiring graphic artists, videographers, and photographers to help you build a top-notch visual library. But even without making a significant investment, you can start assembling assets that will help you increase your chances at gaining coverage.
Read more tips and advice on nonprofit photography from Nonprofit Marketing Guide and our guest bloggers.