Five ways that visuals are key to getting you noticed
Whether you are a charity, a business organisation or a community group – if you need to draw people to you, what you can offer and maybe what you need (ie funds or staff) – then you absolutely need to use visual content.
Visuals can be photographs, videos, infographics, animations, gifs, memes, etc. In this article, I am specifically talking about the type of visuals that show something real about you, that provoke an understanding and an emotional reaction. Visuals that are used in a focused and intentional way in order to tell your story.
There are many articles like this one, and it astonishes me that they go to great lengths to explain why you need imagery and how important it is that these images are of good quality and stand out. They then show you how to get free images from stock sites. These are absolutely invaluable – and there are an increasing amount of great photos there. Never forget though that the starting point is YOUR story, what is special and professional about YOU.
Visuals are the most powerful tool you have because:
They can show people what you look like which promotes trust.
They capture attention quickly. There are a lot of statistics around about how many seconds you have to capture someone’s attention before they click away. There is another argument that says humans are just getting very good at deciphering if they want to keep going with your article or story, and go by that instinct. Whether humans do actually have an attention span less that a goldfish (8 seconds) or not – there is widespread agreement that there is little time in which to ensure you grab someone’s attention.
Given that the human brain can synthesize visual content approximately 60,000 times faster than plain text, visuals make sense.
They help build an emotional connection.
They tell your story– a good quality image of you with a happy client or service user, for example, can tell a thousand words.
Humans are visual creatures and people love images.
They’re easy to digestand easy to share.
So, here are the five reasons that visuals are key to getting you noticed:
- Social Media Content
Statistics for the amount of engagement adding photos and videos to posts varies between social media channels. So as with anything, you need to know your audience first. However, for each one the statistics remain concretely behind using visuals in your content, eg:
Including photos in LinkedIn posts increases the comment rate by 98%.
Tweets with images receive 18% more click throughs, 89% more likes, and 150% more retweets.
Tweets with videos are 6X more likely to be retweeted than tweets with photos.
- PR and Media Coverage
Press and media coverage, online or in print, is an incredibly powerful medium – despite the huge changes effecting the industry. In one way, it is the fact that so many news and editorial rooms are understaffed that means if you send in a good press release with a good quality photograph or video to compliment it, it is way more likely to get used.
The media is much more inclined to run your story if there are visuals to accompany it…media outlets are always appreciative of getting ready-to-use visual materials. Alyson Jamison APR, Consultant, Alyson Jamison PR
If you don’t have any images you are unlikely to hold anyone’s attention. They are fantastic tools for increasing the SEO of your site. They are very useful in drawing potential clients in, telling your story and promoting trust.
- Printed Collateral
It would look boring with no photographs at all basically – I wouldn’t be tempted to plough through it, would you?!
- Bids and Tenders
Demonstrating your successes and again, telling your story makes these documents more powerful and lets face it, more palatable. They also demonstrate how much effort you have put in to completing them and your professionalism in doing so.
Make sure that visuals are treated with respect and give it some real focus in order to ensure you get what you need from your marketing and PR strategy. Tracey Allen of SEA PR says,
We have so many good stories to send to the press but it is always the good story with the great image that gets the largest amount of column inches. The press love a great photo as they know their readers do too. Sending a story with no image will get little attention, so it needs as much planning and preparation as the copy.
The need for visual content is such that at Vervate, we recommend making sure you are clear what you need images for, and what you want them to achieve. Then it is about scoping out your resources and allocating them efficiently enough to ensure your imagery is always excellent quality (meaning looking amazing, telling your story, being technically correct for where you wish to use it and being on brand). In order to source what you need, you will need a variety of things in your arsenal:
Understanding of good quality stock image libraries and the relevant licensing agreements
In-house capability to take and edit high quality images
A rough understanding of the technical side of using images – or know who to ask that you trust as there is a lot of nonsense around
A relationship with a quality professional photographer
As with all things content marketing, once you have these nailed, you will have time and space freed up to get on with sourcing, taking and using the images. That’s when it gets really exciting.