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6 Ways to Improve Your Brand’s Visual Storytelling

It’s widely known that visual content gets more views, shares and engagement than social posts that don’t include images, video or multimedia. But as more companies catch on to this fact, how do you improve upon your brand’s visual storytelling tactics to stand out, sell more or achieve goals?

The presenters at Visual Storytelling Mastery, a workshop held at the PRSA 2014 International Conference earlier this week, shared a few ideas for improving your brand’s visual storytelling efforts:

Match your tactics to your goals. Visual content should be no different from written content, in that it must tie back to your objectives in order to have value for your brand. “I don’t do anything unless I understand the business goal first,” said Amber Naslund (SVP of marketing, Sysomos). Make sure your visuals are tactical, not aspirational.

Own your images. Gini Dietrich (CEO, Arment Dietrich) thinks it’s important for her staff to create their own photos and illustrations, no matter their artistic ability. “How many times do you see a stock photo that everyone uses for the same story?” she asked the audience. When an image is no longer original, it’s no longer compelling.

Make it shareable. “It’s not just about creating content,” said Raleigh Wilkins (senior director of sales, Marketwired). “It’s making it accessible and tying it back to people who are going to do something with it.” Make sure bloggers and influencers—the people who will bring your message to your audience—can easily access, share and consume your visual content.

Take advantage of free tools. There are plenty of resources to help you create infographics, edit photos and edit video. Dietrich thinks marketers should use and master the free ones to start—especially for those organizations with smaller budgets. For instance, “Canva is a really nice tool that allows any of us to be designers,” Dietrich said.

Call on your fans. Naslund suggests reaching out to your superfans, evangelists, advocates—whatever you call them— and getting them to show off their own creativity and brand affinity through user-generated content. In many cases, she said, they probably already have some type of photo, video or multimedia that they want to share with you.

Know what you’re up against. People aren’t going to share your content if there isn’t a visual, said Michael Smart (principal, MichaelSMARTPR). He advised, “Push for the image that will sell the story.” Sometimes that means bringing in reinforcements when you need to get it right—“Ultimately, hire a professional,” Smart said.

Presentation visualization courtesy of Ink Factory Studio.

About Teresa Dankowski

Teresa Dankowski is a content marketing manager at Cision and covers best practices in marketing, PR and social media. She enjoys printmaking, wine, TV and dominating at rec league softball.

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