Now that PR is increasingly becoming “social,” it’s more important than ever to deliver your PR message with the help of images.
Visuals play an essential role in PR storytelling. They can bring your product or brand to life in a way that words, even when crafted by the most talented writer, can never accomplish.
Visuals are immediately comprehensible. You can impart a message with an image much faster than with words.
Images can also transcend language. Think of how the image of a mother cradling her baby evokes similar feelings in different cultures.
With social media as one of your PR tools, it has also become much easier to create, use, and distribute images.
Consider the following visual tools in your PR work:
Photos are still a great standby. They’re inexpensive to produce and easy to disseminate. For photos of products and special events, invest in a good photographer. It will pay off for years to come.
However, don’t underestimate your and your employees’ ability to create their own photos. Sometimes, an excellent photo opportunity comes up when your official photographer isn’t around. Whip out your smart phone or, if you have the time, your digital camera. A photo that’s relevant is more valuable than one that was shot by a professional.
You can also purchase stock photos from iStock, or use Creative Commons pictures from various sources, including Flickr. Make sure to read the fine print on the commercial use of these images and provide attribution, when it’s required.
Business presentations are another source of visuals that can be used for PR. Consider using online slideshow sharing platforms like Slideshare. Aside from hosting your slideshows, Slideshare lets you and other users embed your slideshows in your blog, website or company Intranet, and share it on social networks.
Infographics are visual representations of data, statistics or information. These tend to go viral fast, because they’re visually attractive and compelling. Of course, the topic needs to be one of interest.
Infographics require a considerable investment in research: gathering data, synthesizing them, and choosing which ones to include in the final graphic.
You’ll also need to hire a good artist, one who can capture the essence of the data in visual terms and at the same time stay true to your branding. This article has excellent tips on what makes a good infographic, while this has an excellent list of sites for visual inspiration.
Videos can be a powerful way to tell your story. Imagine, not only will your audience see what your product looks like. They can watch it in action and see users interact with it. It’s an easy way for your prospects to visualize themselves in the story. Video is the best way to “paint a picture” of your product/service’s benefits.
However, video can also be difficult to produce well. You’ll need the right equipment, people who know how to produce and disseminate videos, and of course, the proper set up to shoot.
That said, audiences nowadays don’t demand broadcast-quality videos as they used to. With the popularity of YouTube, audiences have become accustomed to home-video quality. In fact, amateur videos created by your customers themselves are more powerful testimonials than a sleek video you produce. Watch this if you need more convincing about the power of video.
Jay Baer, author of “The Now Revolution,” says in this video that businesses are now only scratching the surface when it comes to using multimedia for marketing and PR.
If you’re already using social media and content marketing in your PR, think of how you can better leverage the power of visuals — photos, slideshows, infographics and videos — in your overall strategy.
Did reading this post give you ideas for using visuals in your PR? If you’ve been using visuals, what results have you gotten so far? How can you scale up your results?
Post your thoughts in the comments below.
PS: If you want to know more about how to use video to promote your business, I highly recommend Lewis Howes and James Wedmore’s Video Traffic Academy. (Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Lewis Howes and will earn a commission if you purchase through this link. However, I only ever recommend programs I believe in. That said, you should still do your due diligence before buying anything.)
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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