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)