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5 Tips for Telling Your Story Visually

Visual media and visual storytelling are on the rise and poised to become two of the major content creation trends in 2015. How can you use the tactics to your advantage and improve your brand’s PR?

Here are five ideas!

1. Determine your objectives

Storytelling - Visual Content Marketing

As with any strategy or tactic, you have to address the “why” first: Why are you using visual media or storytelling? What do you hope to accomplish?

Write down your objectives. Make them quantifiable. Visual media and storytelling may be some of the big trends, but you still have to measure your work and provide results to your stakeholders.

2. Decide on the data that matters

When crafting your visual story or assets, determine the data that matters. Not all images tell your story well. Some details aren’t necessary.

If it helps, think of the iceberg principle. Captivating your audience’s attention is both a matter of quality visuals and a reliance on your audience’s intelligence and imagination. Let them fill the gaps and make the connections. Your job is to guide the audience, not clobber them with your message.

Is your story best told through video? Attend Matthew Schwartz’s free “Film School: How to Use Video for PR” webinar. Register now!

3. Write an outline

Create Outlines - Visual Content Marketing

Visuals can follow the traditional structure of beginning, middle and end. Don’t neglect the basic plot; exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution can play a role in designing a visual story or an asset like an infographic.

Using the structures can help you guide your audience from one point to the next. They also can be broken so as to emphasize a key point. Use the visual space to cause the viewer to pause and consider what you’re saying.

4. Decide on the format

A plot structure doesn’t define your format. It’s the underlying architecture. You overlay it with other elements. In the case of an infographic, you can use different design principles for different effects. Repetition unites the piece; color and size can be used to draw the viewer’s eye to important information.

Other channels require different formats. Telling your story on SlideShare differs from telling your story on Instagram, Flickr, and Vine. Each channel has its own best practices. Use them in conjunction with your visual story’s outline.

5. Use images when appropriate

Cleo - Visual Content Marketing

Images can improve your reach and generate interest in your brand, but only if you wield your visuals wisely. If you want your images to stand out in a cluttered space, you don’t add more images. You wait for the opportune time and share the best image possible. You follow up that image with other, strategic pieces, which could be more visuals but could be an in-depth thought leadership article or video.

Visual storytelling starts with visual thinking and an understanding that the medium often is the message. Be judicious when using images. If they’re the best media for the story you want to tell, use them. If they aren’t, use a different tactic.

 Want to stand out with your content marketing? Get the tips and tactics you need in our free white paper!

Images: Frits Ahlefeldt-LaurvigKennisland (Creative Commons)

About Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media. When she isn’t researching, writing, and editing blog posts and white papers, she writes poetry and essays, draws her favorite Write Right character, and plans what art form to study next. She’s based in Austin, Texas and can be found on Twitter @erinmfeldman.

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