4 Reasons Why Communicators Need to Make the Leap to Visual Storytelling

(Image: Becca Colbaugh, Saxum)

In case you were putting off building your skills as a visual communicator, consider this: Content featuring compelling images averages 94% more total views than those without, according to a 2013 study from agency MDG Advertising.

To get the views and social shares, though, your content has to be on the right side of the content continuum, closer to user goals and further away from your own business objectives, according to Becca Colbaugh, senior director, digital content, for agency Saxum. But thinking about the quality and usefulness of visual content is just the second step in the process. The first is selling yourself and your senior leaders on the power of visuals.

Colbaugh, who'll be leading PR News' Visual Storytelling Workshop in New York on Nov. 5, offers several reasons why communicators ought to translate their messaging to visual forms, and what those forms ought to take:

  • With recent studies showing that consumers are exposed to an overwhelming 5,000 brand messages a day, visual content is an absolute PR/marketing must.
  • The days of traditional advertising and messaging are long gone — it's now all about holistic storytelling. This is how brands will connect with audiences most effectively, as consumers continue to demand authentic and quality visual content.
  • Technology has radically shaped the way we communicate. Beyond being constantly connected, high-resolution screens create a need for high-fidelity visual content, which must be accounted for by communications teams and agencies.
  • Distribution strategy is just important as high-fidelity visual content—micro-targeting techniques are critical to ensuring your visual content gets in front of the right audiences.

Visual content includes everything from graphic design, illustrations, GIFs, motion graphics, interactive data visualizations, snackable graphics, live event installations and more. The possibilities are endless.

Pete Ternes, senior social media and corporate reputation strategist for General Motors, will be co-leading the PR News Visual Storytelling Workshop with Becca Colbaugh in New York on Nov. 5.