Not-So-Basic Product Shots

Curious about how we take such professional-looking product shots? Don’t worry; we got you! Product shot photos look so effortless yet can be so challenging to get right. You change the way the product is sitting, change the lighting, change the angle, and change the location, yet it still might not look how you want it. However, product shots shouldn’t be difficult. Here are some quick tips for creating not-so-basic product shots.

Start with the lighting.
Lighting is the most crucial element to taking a sharp photo. Different products will require different lighting, and it’s up to you to figure out what works best for your products. You can’t go wrong with natural lighting. More times than not, natural lighting will result in an evenly lit picture. To find the best naturally lit area, keep an eye out for how the light changes throughout the day and determine when and where the light hits the best. Avoid hard light as it often makes colors look more saturated and can highlight even the most minuscule flaws.

Pro tip: If the sun begins to hide and the level of natural light drops, you can use a reflector to bounce and intensify the light around to fill shadows. A reflector can be as simple as a white foam board or any white screen.

Pick your background.
When choosing the correct background, try to be mindful of how you want the final product to look. We suggest keeping your background clean and simple. Your product must be the main focus of your photo. Your background should bring attention to your product rather than cause distraction. If you’re looking to use a backdrop, a white one is a great, clean option as it beautifully reflects the natural light; however, feel free to experiment with color that works with your brand. Depending on the size of your product, you can use anything from a large sheet of white paper, a white sheet, or a white roll of wallpaper. Also, don’t forget to make sure your backdrop is locked in place to ensure nothing moves during the photography process.

If you want your product in an actual setting it would be used in, make sure to be very specific with what you put in the shot. Every single thing seen in the photo should be on purpose and intentional! This goes for lighting and camera angle as well. The lighting, camera angle, camera distance, and everything seen in the photo all come together to create the mood and feel of your product and brand. You have complete control of this!

Equipment
Since we’ve gotten through the basics, let’s get into the camera details. You can use either a professional camera or a cell phone to get that seamless look on your product shots. When using a professional camera, you can control every single aspect of the photo through various settings. When using a cellphone, you can achieve that same high-quality image but may need to add a few filters to make it appear as if a professional camera took it. Don’t be afraid to mess with your camera or cell phone settings, but be cautious not to over-adjust them. Remember, you can always go in later and add those edits or filters to make the shot pop! We also recommend using a tripod or other stable foundation to reduce the chance of having blurry or tilted photos. 

Taking the photo
Don’t be scared to be creative with the product positions and camera angles; you want everything to stand out. You’ll most likely have to adjust things throughout the shoot, but practice makes perfect. Take lots of photos from various angles, making a note of the settings you used and what they produced. Take time between different angles to review the images to see if you need to adjust any settings.

Be sure to tag us in your product photos and show us what you created. Follow us on Instagram @TOCPublicRelations for more ideas for content creation!

Top five benefits of LinkedIn for businesses, organizations, and agencies

There are many benefits a LinkedIn profile can provide a business, one of which is strengthening the credibility of the organization.

It’s often that businesses, organizations, and law enforcement agencies quickly hop on and distribute content amongst social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but tend to forget about LinkedIn, a space filled with professionals and endless networking opportunities. 

With over 740 million users, LinkedIn is now a space where engagement and networking could lead to sales, new clients, valuable job candidates, new industry data and leading practices, and so much more. 

“The 2013 Sales and LinkedIn Study, which interviewed nearly 3,100 business owners, consultants, and career salespeople, said that most use free accounts on LinkedIn as a strategic prospecting tool and that “84 percent of users say they’ve generated several business opportunities from using LinkedIn.”

HuffPost

Out of every social media application that exists, LinkedIn is hands down the one that poses the most opportunity, and we do not want you to miss out. 

Here are the top five benefits of LinkedIn for businesses, organizations, and law enforcement agencies!

Elevate credibility

While LinkedIn is centered around recommendations and connections, this digital space is the perfect opportunity to elevate credibility. Other social media applications are often crowded with general users, while LinkedIn is flooded with professionals who specialize in your niche. With consistent interaction and buy-in from professionals within your niche or targeted audience, it’ll positively impact your credibility and trust from those across the digital sphere and the public. 

Grow audience 

One of the greatest benefits of LinkedIn is its algorithm. The reason why it’s easier to grow a business, organization, and agency page on LinkedIn is that when one of your connections comments or even likes a post you shared, your post will also populate onto the feed of their connections; thus, maximizing overall impressions. 

While you can also grow an audience on the other social media applications, LinkedIn will help you grow your targeted audience. Again, with referrals, recommendations, likes, comments, and shares, this will continue to strengthen your position within the niche and help grow your audience. 

Introduce products

LinkedIn is the perfect space to introduce new products and services to assist customers, clients, and other professionals achieve their goals. Debuting new products on LinkedIn will also allow you to garner feedback from professionals in the space before fully going public with the new products and services. This tactic will help generate buy-in from professionals in the field and lead to increased sales.  

Job candidates

There is no better place to vet job candidates than on LinkedIn and have the opportunity to connect a resume to a face. With LinkedIn being heavily centered around recommendations, endorsements, and referrals, it gives your business, organization, or agency the chance to recruit a valuable candidate who can make outstanding contributions to the team. It isn’t uncommon for a recruiter to already have their sights set on a professional in their LinkedIn network, and often, it’s a professional you’ve already connected and engaged with.  

“LinkedIn profiles reveal valuable information about people seeking jobs at your company, including their stability, their record of successful accomplishments, and their passion for what they do. By hiring and retaining these employees, your company will benefit from their expertise and energy.”

Rawson Internet Marketing

Search engines

Optimize. Optimize. Optimize. As a business, organization, and agency, likely, you’re always concerned with your performance in the Google search result pages. Good news, Google, along with several other search engines, rank LinkedIn posts and pages higher in the search engines, making it easier for your profile and content to be found online.

When your visibility is strengthened across search engines, it’s almost like a domino effect, as a user may come across your LinkedIn post on Google, and let’s say you shared your business’ website, they click the link, and that results in more traffic to your website; garnered through a search engine. 

If your business, organization, or agency is not on LinkedIn (yet), now may be the time to determine if this platform is of value to your team’s goals. While there is much opportunity for you to connect and engage with other professionals on this platform, which may lead to sales, audience growth, valuable job candidates, new industry data insights, and search engine benefits, TOC Public Relations is confident that you will make the right decision. 

Is a podcast an effective strategy to market your business?

Determining if a podcast is the right fit for you and your business relies heavily upon the amount of time you’re willing to take to create and promote content. The outcome of doing such effectively would be forging a tighter relationship with your clients, professional network, and the general public.

Podcasts offer so much value if they’re done right and are one of the newest, most cost-efficient ways to grow your audience and possibly turn your listeners into clients or customers.

Offering free, valuable information through your podcast by sharing insight into a specific topic and guest interviews could easily create a new audience for you and your business. 

“According to Edison Research, the number of Americans listening to a podcast each week has grown 120 percent over the past four years, and 90 million Americans listen to a podcast every month. As the audience for podcasts continues to grow, there has never been a better time to start a podcast for your business, brand, or a personal hobby.”

BuzzSprout

With so much of the everyday population turning to podcasts daily to learn, network, and connect with others, now may be the time for you to get started!

Implementing a podcast for your business will require you to brand it, choose a niche that will resonate with your audience, name your show, produce each episode with compelling content (most importantly), purchase equipment, and much more. 

Although this small piece of marketing may seem like a lot of work, a podcast’s return on investment can be quite high as it’s a super cost-efficient way to spread awareness of your business and brand identity. 

Here’s our insight on how to determine if a podcast is right for your business, along with some tips to get you started!

Will it be beneficial to my business?

Will a podcast be beneficial to my business? It’s a question you need to ask yourself because the last thing you want to do is waste your time, energy, and money. We believe that a podcast can be an excellent opportunity for any business as long as you hone in on a specific niche that you’re passionate about and relates to your business in a way that will strengthen overall brand awareness. 

Creating a list of goals and objectives may help you determine whether this medium is right for you. Ask yourself, “What do I want for my business to get out of this podcast?”

Is your goal to gain more clients for your business, strengthen brand awareness, create a tighter relationship with current clients, or use it as a tool to network with other professionals in your field? Once your figure out your “why,” it’ll be crystal clear to you about whether or not you move forward with the podcast. 

Another major point in determining if a podcast is a space you want your business to navigate towards is allocating yourself enough time to execute it. It will take time to brainstorm, produce, record, edit and distribute; it’s not impossible, but understand you’re going to have to put some effort into it if you expect it to help you achieve your business goals. 

Finally, a podcast can be a very beneficial way to market your business. It’s an excellent way to cross-promote by linking your podcast’s audience directly to your business’s website and social media pages. At the beginning or end of every podcast, you can reference your website and socials by stating that the listener can find the link in the description below. Pro tip – a podcast is a great way to repurpose content by cutting teaser videos and audio files, then sharing them on social media and your website. 

Our final thoughts; a podcast is a multifaceted tool where you can link it to your social media channels, your website, and vice versa. Podcasts truly are the new blog. 

Side note, before we move on: collaborating with others podcasters who share the same niche as you is a solid way to build your following and overall engagement. 

How to start a podcast

Starting a podcast is a lot easier than you may think! Once you’ve decided to move forward with the podcast, it’s time to hit the ground running. 

At this point, you’ve decided to move forward and have identified your goals and objectives. Now is the time to name your podcast. It’s important to put some thought and effort into naming your show, so brainstorm. Choosing a name that is telling of your content while being abstract at the same time will generate more interest than a generic name or a replicated business name. 

Next, create a concept. Choosing a concept/niche is singlehandedly one of the most important steps in creating a podcast. We cannot tell you how many podcasts we’ve seen fail over time due to not having a specific theme or topic. 

Remember, people want to know the type of content they’re getting without surprises. A listener is much more inclined to subscribe to your podcast if you have a specific niche that fully aligns with their interest; do not try to appeal to everyone. Usually, when a podcaster tries to appeal to everyone, they appeal to no one. 

Now you’re going to want to hone in on the format of your show. Will you be the host? Will one of your employees be the host? Will there be a co-host? Will this be an audio only podcast? Or will it be audio and video? 

You also have the opportunity to decide whether or not you want the podcast to be scripted, simply following a run of show or an improvisation. During this brainstorming session, you want to decide the length of your podcast and create a publishing schedule to create consistency between the podcast, audience, and business. Once you nail down all of this, you’re ready to purchase equipment and create collateral for the podcast. 

Some equipment you will need to purchase to start a legit podcast includes a microphone(s), a camera (if you plan to go the visual route), video and audio editing software, a video-telephony software program, a laptop, and a backdrop if you do not have a visually appealing space to record in (for audio and visual podcasts only).

Finally, you will need to create collateral for your forthcoming podcast. Creating a graphic for every outlet your podcast will be published on is key, along with designing graphics for all social media sites to strengthen visibility, brand awareness, and identity. 

Most of all, remember to have fun!

Pros and cons 

At this point, you may have created a list in your head of all the pros and cons regarding starting a podcast for your business. Although we find there to be far more pros in using a podcast as a marketing strategy, there are still some cons you may want to take into consideration. 

“Americans listen to approximately 21,117,000 hours of podcast audio every day. Podcasts also have an intimate relationship with listeners. Listeners invite podcasters into their earbuds during workouts, commutes, and other private spaces. That close relationship has many businesses wondering whether to add podcasting to their content marketing mix.”

Shift

Is a podcast the right fit for your business? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Build a loyal base of listeners/clients
  • Forge connections with customers and clients outside of your network
  • Network with other professionals in your industry
  • Be recognized as an industry leader
  • Strengthen relationship with current clients
  • Strengthen brand identity and awareness
  • A cost-efficient way to market and cross-promote content 

Cons

  • Time consuming 
  • Podcasts do not appear in the initial search engine results pages
  • Requires the willingness and ability to edit 
  • Can tarnish brand reputation if it comes across as unprofessional

We believe that the pros of a podcast heavily outweigh the cons and are confident you will succeed in your quest to implement one into your marketing strategy should you follow the tips and recommendations we have shared with you. Now…go get started!