Building Visual Storytelling into Your PR Strategy

Larry Cardarelli
Larry Cardarelli

Results of the second annual PR Newswire /PR News Survey are in (see page one). The good news is that creating visual content today is much more financially accessible venture than it was in the days of yore.

One thing to keep in mind is that there’s more to video these days. It’s anything you can see, which in our current vernacular would include talking heads and clichéd b-roll but also the post-produced formats like animation, motion graphics, stop motion, 2D, 3D, whiteboard and kinetic typography. For many brands and organizations, video programming is just getting rolling.

Here’s how you can build visual storytelling into your PR strategy.

Include video in next year’s budget. First, plan for it. Get some money into next year’s budget. Signs are promising, with more than 50% of respondents in our survey revealing plans to increase visual content budgets next year.

Identify barriers to creating more video. Next, set some phone or face time with your peers (or clients) who are currently only using text communications and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that visual storytelling needs to be a part of the future communications plan.

Run a content audit. Audit the organization’s content—you may uncover customer training videos that speak to broader marketplace challenges, behind-the-scenes shots that media reps covering your industry would love or fantastic data languishing in a research team’s vaults that could make for a fantastic animated infographic. The list goes on.

Figure out what story you want to tell. When the individual action items are all in place, then it’s time to bring everyone together to kick off the project.

It sounds simple, but time and time again I’ve seen successful results generated by getting the right folks together, for just 20 minutes or so, to talk honestly about the story.

Plan the downstream strategy. Last thing: It doesn’t matter how great your content is if it’s just going to sit on your landing page. It’s got to be pushed out, placed and optimized to receive all the attention it deserves.

To set your campaign up for success, your content needs a boost out of the gate. Don’t forget to plan a downstream distribution strategy for video.

Sure, posting video to your YouTube channel is a start. Syndicating the content across a variety of other news websites and video hubs drive that crucial discovery that sparks social sharing—and better PR results to demonstrate to senior managers.


Larry Cardarelli is executive producer at MultiVu, which is a subsidiary of PR Newswire. He can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the October 13, 2014 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.