Tips to beef up your campaigns with visuals

People absorb optical information faster and retain it longer than they do text alone. Try these tips and techniques to land your message with your target audiences.

If your content doesn’t include visuals, you’re losing a huge chunk of your audience.

Why are visual components so important? People process visuals 60,000 times faster than they process text. Add that most people are visual learners and that color visuals increase readership of a piece of content by 80 percent, and it’s no wonder that visuals reign supreme.

Visuals are intrinsically linked with human emotions. Tapping into those emotions is a key part of public relations. Numerous studies have shown the significant effects of images—and even certain colors—on people’s actions and buying decisions.

Now that we’ve considered why visual content is important, here are five ways to be more visually oriented in your PR campaigns:

1. Use more video.

With the prevalence of smartphones, tablets and new technology, making video has never been easier. Shoot short segments from your phone or tablet, and use inexpensive software or apps like Powtoon or Animoto to transform your footage into a professional-quality masterpiece.

Consider these ways you can use video to draw in prospects and customers:

  • Product demos
  • How-to segments and tutorials
  • Audience Q&A
  • Behind-the-scenes tours
  • Case studies

Consider this example from Salesforce. The company’s customer success story comes to life in this case study video. What would have otherwise been just words on a page pulls at our heartstrings with a real customer’s voice, professional-quality video graphics and appropriate background music.

Here’s another example from HubSpot. The inbound marketing company shows exactly how to craft a PR campaign with video. The use of fun animation to overlay a real-life video underscores the importance of the key point—that the marketing scene is changing, and companies have to get on board.

2. Include visuals in your pitch.

Journalists are often under a time crunch to produce articles that will speak to their audience on an emotional level. Visuals help them do so. When reporters come across pitches with no visual content, it imposes another duty on them and exacerbates their time crunch.

Whenever you assemble your pitch, think about how to make it more visually accessible. Do you have stats and figures that can be conveyed in a chart or graph? If it’s a product launch, do you have how-to videos that explain your product in an engaging way? Can you create a colorful infographic that summarizes the key points of your pitch?

However you choose to do it, visual content has a vital place within your press release. Journalists have been known to work with companies repeatedly based largely on the visual content they receive.

Rather than simply inundate a journalist with video content, ask for permission as part of your pitch. Simply mention that you have an infographic or whatever your visual element is, and say you’d be happy to share it.

When you do send it, ensure that your visual content is easily accessible. Double-check every downloadable link. Make sure content is sized appropriately to send via email.

IBM excels at this. Not long ago it launched a news release unveiling its first-ever global trade digitization solution. The company’s news release not only clearly identified contact information and resources, but it also included the following infographic to underscore the impact of the solution on industry.

Infographic The Paper Trail of a Shipping Container.jpg

3. Create memorable branding.

Every visual you create gives you a branding opportunity.

Visual content is great way to include your brand’s logo and coloring in your message. Every piece of visual content should represent your brand well, no matter where it is posted or who reads it. Consistency across your visual content is vital to successful branding.

Emarketer is a great example of consistent branding, as the research firm uses its charts and graphs to imprint its brand on its audience. Every chart or graph is immediately recognizable with its red and black design.

Chart From eMarketing.gif

4. Use colors wisely.

The colors you choose can make the difference between a click-through or a swift departure. Colors also influence purchase decisions.

How can you wield color power successfully? Learn more about the psychology of colors and how they affect your audience.

Choose colors based on what message you want to convey to your audience. For example, green is often associated with competence, reliability and intelligence. Red conveys something exciting, trendy and cool.

Take this logo from Salesforce as an example. Blue connotes sophistication and class.


Consider this logo from Recast Energy, which transforms biomass into green electricity and thermal energy for industrial businesses. Its two-tone green logo plays off the energy field that it operates within, and it highlights its go-green initiatives.

Recast Energy.png

5. Always be honest.

You wouldn’t write a title that had nothing to do with your blog, so why would you post an image that was misleading or misrepresented your topic?

Choose images that align with your written content. Think about what your image portrays at first glance, and if that’s not your intended message, change it.

Wendy Marx is president of Marx Communications. A version of this post first appeared on the Marx Communications blog.

Topics: PR

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