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How to use visual tools for better PR

Visual tools matter more than ever in public relations. Cannings Purple’s Art Director Cameron Jones explains why.

The days of firing off random press releases to your Outlook contacts are over. Methods of distributing information have changed dramatically over the past five years, as has how stakeholders absorb and interact with information. Modern viewers want to get to the point of the message quickly. Using strong visuals are a great shortcut to get the headline across. Content with relevant imagery gets 94% more engagement so embracing visuals is well worth your while.

 

Infographics And Data Visualisation

I’ve heard it said that data visualisation and infographics are just fancy marketing speak for “graphs and charts”. However, there is more to them than that and a well-crafted infographic is more likely to be shared than a dull bar chart, thus helping distribute your message.

Infographics are usually a visual representation of a complex idea or a method of presenting information in a clear concise way to tell a specific story. A clever example is this Bond infographic created and released to coincide with the release of Spectre, which gave a small UK plate company lots of social media coverage in 2015. The prolific use of infographics in recent years has seen the effectiveness decline for consumer brands, but in B2B communications it’s still quite an unusual way of telling a story.

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/who-old-are-you/

Data visualisation on the other hand is more akin to a discipline. It refers to the process of showing data in visual ways, which help audiences make better sense of that data. If you need an example, think back to the last live election coverage you watched or a post-match report on your favourite sport. Interactive data visualisation is a growing field where automated algorithms update the data in real time. Confused? Go here.

Branding

It’s no secret that audiences are more prepared to accept messages from sources they know and recognise. We are pre-programmed to trust things we visually remember, it’s the underlying logic behind the discipline of branding. All communication material needs to go out with with some form of branding. Visually engaging graphics will also bring a greater level of engagement than those without. If you are creating visual content, make sure you add your branding in some way. Now that copying and sharing content online is so quick and easy, if it isn’t carefully branded, there’s a risk you lose ownership, IP or recognition for that content.

Graphics, Illustrations And Photos

If you think that an image of a person next to your logo is pointless and does nothing, think again. Numerous studies have shown that using human faces in your messaging can increase engagement and also influence the viewer’s sentiment. Whether you like it or not, the viewer’s opinion of your brand is directly influenced by the environment in which it is seen. It’s therefore vital to make that context as interesting, relevant and positive as possible.

Microsites, Landing Pages And Blogs

You certainly can’t put all the images and graphics you need into a single email or social media post. As a result, a click-through to a website is often used increase the opportunity for your stakeholders to find out more information. Using imagery to nudge people to click is more effective than just text links.

Video

You may have noticed a lot more video appearing in your social media and news feeds lately and this is unlikely to slow down any time soon. In fact, it is estimated that by only next year 74% of all internet traffic will be video. Simply including the words video in an email title increases open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%. It’s much easier and cheaper to create  videos than it used to be, so it should be the number one tactic in your visual communications toolbox.

Visual tools take a little (or a lot) more effort than text, but for sheer cut-through they are impossible to beat.