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Originally published by O’Dwyer PR.

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Digital PR photos can be enhanced to include links and other content through an expanding service called ThingLink.

Neil Vineberg, the veteran PR pro who is chief marketing officer of Finland-based ThingLink and heads its North American operations, sees the service as a “generational shift” in how users interact with images.

“The job of photo editor becomes more interesting and puts publishers or PR professionals in a position to keep people on their own content,” he said.

With the service, users can embed website links, video content and pop-up info within images, without learning complicated Flash or programming. The “ThingLinked” images are then embeddable by fans, users and journalists within standard web publishing software, creating a trackable PR image unit.

“Instead of emailing a publicity photo to journalists, you can tell them to ‘take my embed code,’” said Veinberg.

Updates made to the images by ThingLink users are distributed to the embedded content so, for example, if a reporter embeds an ThingLinked image in a story, the creator of the image can update the image’s content.

While adopted early as a publicity vehicle in the music industry, use of the service is spreading to publishing and beyond as infographics and other news illustrations are given interactive and tracking capabilities with the service. The popular rock group Evanescence, for example, used ThingLink for its album release Oct. 11 to include embedded links in an image of the album cover to the band’s Twitter and facebook feeds, iTunes and YouTube, among others.

Mashable recently used the service for an infographic on the iPhone (below) while Canada’s National Post created a powerful graphic of the twin towers embedded with links to the windows where victims of 9/11 worked.

Vineberg believes ThingLink has vast potential for the PR sector because of its measurability, ease of use and ability to include information directly from a client (captions, links to websites) within an image.

“It’s a generational shift in how we interact with images,” he said.

(Roll your mouse icon over the image below to see its embedded content)

   

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We invited tech public relations guru and musician Neil Vineberg to reflect upon his work with ThingLink and the benefits the tagging tool has for bands and music agencies. Enjoy.

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As an indie artist with a #1 world music CD, “Sacred Love,” I know first-hand the challenges faced by artists seeking to successfully promote music and engage fans online.

Do it yourself musicians today need know social media, digital rights management, distribution, touring and other fields of expertise to really compete. What’s exciting is that many of the tools and platforms now available to musicians allow them to operate their brand just like a record label.

The challenge for artists remains knowing the nuances of these often complex tools, how they work and and how they might best integrate together. That’s why I was honored to represent ThingLink on the Tools for Your Band panel at the recent San Francisco MusicTech Summit with J. Sider from RootMusic, Jaunique Sealey from Atom Digital, Josh Builder from The Orchard, Christopher LaRosa from YouTube and moderator Jolie O’Dell from Mashable.

My colleagues and I spoke about platforms and successful promotion strategies. I also shared my perspective as an artist and how I used some of the tools in my tool box.  Most artists I talked to agreed that photos are probably their most valuable marketing and branding tool, next to their actual music. So imagine if you could make your photos 10 to 50 times more engaging with fans?

That’s where ThingLink came into the conversation. We turn images into a platform for smart, in-image tags to your music, video, social media touch points, fan site, band site and points of purchase.  Everywhere you want a fan to go to experience your music, can be added INSIDE an image. So the image is much more than just a really great asset for a band. It’s now an interactive engagement tool. And one of the most powerful ones in your took box.

When your creative assets are bundled inside your photos, you’ll see fans engaging, because we also give you a social dashboard to track image views, hovers and clicks. And you’re likely to see click-through-rates that will be music to your ears.

After you set up an account at ThingLink, RT me @nvineberg and maybe we can feature you in our music gallery.

 

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