Maybe you’ve heard this one from your marketing team before: “We need images to go with this blog” (or press release or social media post). And you might have wondered to yourself, “Why are these people always harassing me for pictures?” Well, let me explain.

Research shows that the majority of readers scan a page for visual cues to help them assess content and decide whether or not to spend the time it takes to read that content thoroughly. People start in the top left corner and check first for images, then headers, and then bullet points. If they don’t find anything appealing in the first two-tenths of a second, they’re gone.

And before you get that fraction of a second, you have to get people to click on your story in the first place. Here again, research confirms that you need visuals. You’ll get over 45 percent more clicks on a press release and 94 percent more on an article if that content includes images and/or video.

Consider how busy you are and how much content is available and pushed to you every day. Then consider your own material. Stop and ask yourself: If I didn’t work for my company, would I click on this? Would I give it more than two-tenths of a second? If not, then you certainly can’t expect anyone else to do so.

Now that we’ve convinced you to send images, let’s talk guidelines. Because not just any image will do.

The most important thing to remember when submitting an image is that you’ll need higher quality for a print publication than for online. But no matter where your content lands, it’s advisable to send the best quality images you have. That means they should be at least 1200 pixels along the short side for 4-inch by 6-inch images. A few other things to keep in mind when submitting photos for publication:

  • Headshots should be taken against a plain background, and subjects should be dressed in business attire. Head and shoulder images are best.
  • Product shots should show the product in action, where appropriate, and in the context of the story you’re telling whenever possible.
  • Facility shots should feature rooms mentioned in the text and/or quality images of the exterior that show the company logo on a sunny day.
  • Always be sure you have consent from the people pictured or from the photographers who’ve taken the images before submitting them for publication, and give photo credit where applicable. When possible, identify any people in the images and include their titles.
  • For editorial submissions, it’s best to give an editor choices when providing images, so try to send a variety of appropriate pictures when possible.

I hope it’s clear now why quality images are so important. Follow these tips to help make sure your next story grabs the attention it deserves.

Carrie Wiste is a guest contributor from Dundee Hills Group.