When was the last time you saw an article with no images? How about a menu? Or even a flat-pack assembly manual? In life, whether we’re considering which products to buy, which food to eat or even which information to pay attention to, humans are hardwired to be attracted to images. In fact, researchers have found that coloured visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by up to 80%.
Despite scientific evidence claiming that visuals work, making the switch to visual PR can be quite daunting, especially in an industry where text-based communication is the norm. But with thousands of media releases distributed every day, it would be a crime not to take the plunge.
Here are three ways you can incorporate visuals into your media release:
- Images: Images are the pillars of visual PR. Not only are they easy to use and cheap to obtain, but most importantly, images work. To maximise views on your visual media release, make sure you use high-quality, high-resolution images that align with your brand and illustrate the key messages of your story. While you don’t necessarily need to be a professional photographer, it does help if you are able to take clear, well-lit photos that contain some sort of visual impact. For pitch emails, it also helps to include an image preview that loads quickly. Be sure to steer clear of generic stock photos – they rarely reflect your actual organisation.
- Videos: Video is a very effective storytelling medium. It adds a human component to media releases, which is difficult to capture with text alone. Whether it is a 15 second video on Instagram, or a professionally filmed and edited story, videos can provoke emotion or explain complex ideas and products in a matter of seconds. In fact, studies show that it takes 1.8 million words to achieve the impact of one minute of video. This is very useful in the context of a media release, with journalists becoming increasingly time poor due to the demands of the 24/7 news cycle. Because you want to keep your release short and succinct, your video should only be a few minutes long. Rather than hosting large files (which will undoubtedly lengthen loading times and possibly deter interest), upload your videos on YouTube or Vimeo and embed them in your release that way. Most importantly, keep it simple. If you overcomplicate your story, you risk losing the journalist’s attention.
- Infographics: Infographics are a natural choice if you have a data-driven story, such as the results of a new study. Not only are they visually appealing and easy to read, but infographics can literally paint a picture with your data, making it simpler for journalists to understand and follow along. Use your data to tell a narrative, and only use as many visuals as you need. Simplicity and clarity are always better than overcrowded statistics – no matter how well they are laid out.
At the end of the day, if you aren’t adding visual content to your media releases, you’re missing a huge opportunity. Visuals are good to look at, easy to understand, and best of all, they work.