A picture says a thousand words, the old saw goes. And this truism can make or break your marketing efforts, be it web design or paper brochures.
In my decades-long adventure as a writer and editor, it always seemed to me graphics were the biggest hangup in meeting deadlines and getting a project finished. Little has changed over the years. Oh, the designers can meet the deadline, as can the copywriters (*looks at wristwatch*). But getting that blasted artwork – the graphics or photos or videos – that’s hard. I’ve watched entire projects grind to a halt when a client cannot or will not take the time to obtain the art needed to make their entire marketing piece truly shine.
So, what to do? Before you launch on your next marketing piece or add to your webpage, think about how you can use graphics to enhance your message. And then get those graphics ready before you need them. Before the project even starts. Here’s a few tips:
- Take photos of your offices, workshops & equipment. Try to take them without people in them, then with the staff working. Be sure the lighting is good. If you have a slick office, great. If you office is old with wood paneling, try to go for a “cozy” look with blurred out flowers in the foreground and the office in focus in the background or whatever conveys the mood.
- If you sell smaller products, take the time to set up one-day photo shoot. Obtain a background drape (grey or white is good) and place the product under plenty of light. Take 5-10 photos from a variety of angles. Try to take a shot of every project you have. Or hire a product photographer to do it right.
- Do you sell software? Use screenshot tools and take shots while the software is processing real-world examples. You can later have your graphic artist add callouts and highlights and other technical wizardry.
- Employee pics. Yes, it’s like pulling teeth (especially if you work in a dental office). No, your employees don’t have a choice. On the other hand, you don’t have to line them up in a “firing squad” position. You know, those pictures of someone against a wall from waist up, with a fixed smile on their face. Take a pic of them at their workstation or on their machine, let them look relaxed or interested or animated.
- Field work? Get a staff member to do a ride-along and take photos as your team works. It doesn’t have to be studio quality. Just ask them to keep in mind the lighting, distance (don’t take photos from a mile away – get close and get the action!), and the busyness of the scene.
- Keep everything you shoot as a raw file (i.e. full size in native format) in one place, with easily-labeled digital folders. If you really want to save money with your marketing company, have the photos saved as both a 300 resolution TIFF or PNG and 72 resolution JPEG (for websites). Then you simply file transfer the whole selection to your marketing provider. (You’ll be surprised how much time and money this saves).
- Think outside the cubicle. It may seem odd to take photos or your break room, kitchen, or company picnic, but think again. These all could be used to show the human side of your company and its people.
By taking the time ready a good selection of digital photos and graphics you will save SIGNIFICANT time, and thus money.