They say a picture is worth a thousand words. (As a writer, this makes me question why I didn’t go into photography instead, but I digress.) While this adage might sound like a tired cliché, it actually has a basis in scientific fact.
Like it or not, visual content packs more of a punch than text alone. For this reason, we continually advise clients to add relevant multimedia assets to their press releases. If you’re still not convinced that words alone won’t move the needle, I’m bringing the receipts (all right, the data) to help you understand why including multimedia is essential to any successful comms strategy.
A visual element is a forget-me-not
You might not remember what you had for breakfast yesterday morning, but chances are you’ll remember hundreds of photographs you viewed last week or elements of a movie you saw three months ago. Why is that? Because our brains have an incredible capacity to store visual imagery and recall it weeks or months later.
You can conduct this experiment easily on your own. Think about the content you’ve consumed recently on social media (if you’re not on social media, congrats to you and skip to the next paragraph). When you try to recall what you viewed lately, is it text or images? I’ll bet you remember pictures of your neighbor’s cute dog or your college roommate’s engagement photo more clearly than the accompanying text.
With an avalanche of content bombarding people’s eyeballs daily, it’s becoming harder for stories to make a lasting impression. By adding multimedia components to your written content, you are helping your readers’ hippocampus store the memory of your message for recall later.
Bringing in views and ‘likes’
I’ll cut to the chase here: Visual content gets more engagement than text alone, which is true of social media posts, blog content and press releases. While there are numerous reasons for this, I’ll share a few of the most pertinent.
- For one, visual content is processed much faster in the brain than lines of text, which explains why visual social media posts can rack up likes very quickly compared to text-heavy posts. According to research, Facebook campaigns with visual content receive 65% more engagementthan those without. Additionally, tweets with visual content are 94% more likely to be retweeted than text-only tweets.
- Second, online users prefer video over any other form of content. As much as we writers think our content is endlessly engaging, data shows that the audience is in it for the eye candy. According to the research, adding video to a web page increases the time a viewer spends on a site, which is beneficial for SEO. So, if you add a video to a page, visitors are likely to watch it, thereby enhancing and amplifying your message. Additionally, including a video component also encourages users to dive deeper into the subject by consuming your entire written content.
- Finally, visual components serve as a guide for your written content. According to Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners, so when you provide multimedia assets with your content, you are helping most readers process your message more easily. Cision PR Newswire analyzed levels of engagement for press releases distributed through our network and found that releases with various multimedia components resonated more with audiences and received higher levels of engagement than text-only releases.
Journalists say it’s a ‘must-have’
So you say you want journalists to pick up and write about your press release? We want that for you too, dear reader. However, if you fail to include any multimedia assets in your release, you might as well find a lamp that comes with a genie who grants wishes.
According to Cision’s recent State of the Media survey, the majority of journalists used multimedia assets in their published articles in the last year. Here is the statistical breakdown:
- 81% used images
- 47% included video
- 41% incorporated infographics
22% of journalists stated they wanted comms professionals to use multimedia assets in their press releases, undoubtedly making their jobs easier.
Journalists are busy and besieged by story ideas all day long. If you don’t make things easier for them by including relevant multimedia assets (including your company logo!), they will move on and decline to tell your story.
It’s clear that adding multimedia will help your audience process and remember your content while increasing the likelihood of engagement from both readers and journalists. Because it can be challenging to break through the cacophony of online content, we encourage you to add multimedia to your written content to make it more digestible for your audience.