If Public Relations teams are responsible for sharing and amplifying the company’s messaging, why are so many using marketing assets to supplement their outreach? The time has come for PR communicators to start creating their own visual content that appeals specifically to reporters and readers.

In our recent webinar (view here), we discussed the five steps communicators should take to lead the visual storytelling process:

1. Take control of visual communications

In today’s landscape, authentic visuals showing the story you are telling are an essential part of the coverage process. Conversely, marketing images – visuals designed to sell a product or service – are not. This presents an opportunity for PR teams to own or, at a minimum, join the process. It is time to create a budget and plan to produce media relations assets.

2. Understand why visuals matter

Visual content captures audience attention instantly and can quickly propel the story. Visuals create a connection between your audience and your story. When it comes to the role of public relations, images are an effective way to achieve a level of personal connection and interaction, something companies and journalists both strive to do. Visuals designed specifically for earned media provide reporters with a story-focused supplement that increases readership – a benefit to you and the reporter alike.

3. Choose — and test — the effectiveness of compelling visuals

The key to the successful use of visual content is shareability. Shareability comes from knowing your target audience and providing content that resonates deeply with them.

Create images, videos and other visuals for each of your target audiences. By creating content for each specific audience, you increase resonance and the likelihood of adoption and shares, creating a cascade of shares that build into a crescendo across social channels.

Content resonance is an ongoing process; be prepared to test and refine the content as you go. Use your social channels and pitches as your tests. Try differing messages and multimedia types to see which resonates most with each audience.

4. Make data and information more visually compelling

The message you are communicating should drive the type of visual that you create. Consumers are overlooking standard marketing content, so it is key to think outside the box when choosing your visual direction. Talking about your products and services authentically is not always easy. To help uncover the ideal angle and visual, formulate a creative brief and invite key participants to join in the process; this allows you to brainstorm visual opportunities within the parameters of your intended usage.

5. Start today

To get started, find someone who can build creative content. This is easier than you think.

It might be a coworker interested in practicing their visual creative toolset, a freelancer, an agency or even a set of DIY tools; there is a wide range of options for any budget, which we discuss in detail here. With the options available across all budget lines, there is no reason to wait any longer. Start creating earned media content today.

Times have changed. In 2020, nothing catches audience attention faster than strong and authentic content. To generate both media usage and audience consumption in the current PR age, it is time for public relations teams to take control of their visual content creation.

Want to learn more?

Download our whitepaper, Visual Storytelling: The New Best Practice for PR. 

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