Public Affairs Insights: Visual Storytelling

According to research from the Public Affairs Council, eight seconds is all the time you have to grab your audience’s attention before they lose interest. So what does this mean for you as a marketer? How can you ensure that your content reaches your intended audience before they get distracted and move onto something else?

Eight seconds may not seem like a lot of time, but don’t panic. With effective visual storytelling, you’ll be an expert attention-grabber in no time. According to Widen, The Picture Superiority Effect is the idea that concepts presented with visuals and pictures are easier to learn and more frequently recalled than those without. Therefore, your written content will be much more powerful with accompanying visuals. Words only have a 10 percent retention rate, while a visual element increases retention of content to 65 percent. Additionally, your social media posts will garner much more attention if they include a visual element–180 percent more engagement and 150 percent more retweets, to be exact.

Here are some tips to help make your online content stand out from the competition:

  • Go back through your already-published text-only posts and add images to illustrate your main points wherever possible. You could even repurpose old posts into visual slideshows or videos, using images to tell the same story in a more engaging way. These simple fixes will pay off, as articles with images get 94 percent more views than those without, blogs with videos get 300 percent more inbound links, and videos are 53 times more likely to snag a spot on the first page of Google search results than text.
  • When you use photos, think of them as a tool for acting out a story for your audience. By keeping your narrative simple, highlighting your product’s best features, and making your product the conclusion of your narrative, you will be selling your product in a context your audience can understand and relate to.
  • If you want your content to go viral, find ways for customers to get involved, such as writing compelling captions to spark conversations or encouraging customers to post their photos of themselves engaging with your product.
  • Use hashtags to extend your content’s reach. Add social media buttons from sites like Twitter and Pinterest to encourage customers to share your content.

Stories combined with pictures can be useful marketing tools. When you incorporate them together, you’ve got a winning combination.