What's a picture worth? The importance of visual elements

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words and a recent analysis done by PR Newswire suggests that’s an undersell.

PR Newswire analysed all of the press releases in their system – that’s more than 1 million – and found that a press release that has more than one 'visual media element' (otherwise known as images, infographics, illustrations, video or photos) increases the likelihood of it being noticed by more than 500 per cent.

Those that include multimedia elements such as links to campaign microsites blow away the competition, getting more than 5,000 per cent more attention than a written press release alone. And it’s not hard to see why.

Many of our clients have complex businesses that span multiple geographies, languages, time zones and areas of expertise.

You can explain in words a fully integrated supply chain, the nutritional value of a product or the benefits of a particular farming system or process.

But when you’re talking to millions of people across different continents you need many words in multiple languages and it’s easy for some of these to get lost in translation. When this is the case it can be much more effective to let an info-graphic do the talking for you.

You can also describe the impact a CSR campaign is having on a local community or the benefits an education programme is having on local industry. But letting the recipients tell the story though imagery or a video is so much more powerful.

As communications professionals we’re always tasked with thinking about how we can tell a story in the most engaging way. How we can deliver the message in a way that will have the greatest impact, what will make media, public, staff, consumers or customers sit up and take notice?

I’m not for a moment suggesting that the written word is obsolete in this but from the evidence in front of us it’s clear a visual element should be in the mix.