Are PR Pros Embracing Visual Media?
Did you know press releases perform better when accompanied by rich media, that is, visuals, infographics, SlideShares and videos? Some reports say that multimedia press releases earn 77 percent more traffic.
Ekaterina Walter, author of “The Power of Visual Storytelling,” explains the importance of visuals:
In the age of infobesity and increasing digital noise, visual storytelling will continue to emerge as a strategy for not only standing out, but also for nurturing and growing vibrant and engaged communities. The ability to craft visual stories that inspire emotion and spark the movement will help companies get noticed and amplify their message throughout those communities.
While Ekaterina is correct in that visual media can help us to stand out and nurture, grow and engage with our communities, a concern presents itself: are we simply adding visuals because we think they’ll benefit our PR efforts or because they serve an actual purpose? In addition, are we only copying our PR brethren rather than developing actual strategies and tactics that will inspire the media and our communities to act?
Everything Is a Remix
Troubling questions, and not ones easily answered. It’s easy to do what everybody else is doing; it’s hard to develop a campaign that remixes the tech and tools available in order to create a compelling message. We must, however, do the hard work. It’s the only way to ensure the longevity of our brands and to craft messages that matter.
And isn’t that the goal of our communications? We may be writing a press release about a new product or service, but most of us believe that those products and services benefit our potential consumers. If that’s the case, why aren’t we doing more to broadcast those stories and earn the media we need and want? It’s the story that resonates, not the datasheet or the bells and whistles.
Tell the Real Story
If we can home in on that story, we can create PR campaigns that far surpass our predicted awareness and engagement rates. We’ll create campaigns like Air New Zealand’s, a campaign that not only delivers necessary safety information to travelers but also causes people – my brother among them – to want to book a trip with the airline.
We can accomplish such feats but only if we stop mindlessly following the leader. We can use automation tools; we shouldn’t automate ourselves.
We have a responsibility to be creative and to deliver communications that serve our communities. Such content is purposeful. It isn’t “snackable” or tacked onto a blog post or a press release. It serves an actual function, which is to delight our audiences and to compel them to act.
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