Imagine reading storybook classics like “Little Red Riding Hood” or “Cinderella” without the accompanying images on the page: the bright red cape and glistening sharp teeth of the big bad wolf, or Cinderella’s shining coach and henchmen that transform into two fat rats and a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight. Chances are, these stories and others wouldn’t have the same impact without the images from the books that remain in our memories years later.
Today, images have become the decisive factor for the hearts, minds and share of wallet of current and prospective customers. With the massive proliferation and democratization of media, visuals have made a huge impact on PR efforts and are critical must-haves for online and offline marketing campaigns. And, in a society where the need to reach decision-makers in an instant usually dictates a business’s success or failure, the power of images in PR and marketing continues to grow.
- The human brain can grasp the meaning from an image faster than it can read sentences (in as little as 13 milliseconds, according to researchers at MIT.) In fact, 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and more than half the population learns visually – making it more likely to remember things we see rather than what we hear.
- Brands that use visual content have found that it encourages greater engagement with their customers.
- Images stir the emotions and more profound changes in behavior. And, while the role of images has always been essential to PR and marketing, the power of visual communications has exploded with the rise of digital and social media. For example, studies show status updates and tweets that include a photo receive more interaction and generate more impressions than text-only posts. Facebook photos get 53 percent more likes than regular, text-based posts.
So, what are some of the most impactful ways to incorporate images in your PR and marketing activities?
- Incorporating images to your website is a great way to catch the attention of visitors, especially since they may not have the time to read through text. Images also can motivate visitors to stay on your site and explore the content in greater detail.
- Use the right visuals to magnify their impact, including images that are authentic, culturally relevant to your audience, reflect the human experience and use storytelling tools such as archetypal characters to generate the greatest impact.
- Use images to improve search engine optimization (SEO) by simply adding a few images to each post along with relevant alt and meta tags.
- Embed high-resolution images or videos in content such as press releases, as well as email campaigns
- The right images also are an easy way to provide contrast to text posts. While straight text can become dull and uninteresting, images can make posts more vibrant and visually stimulating.
- Add text to images to help ensure your audience will understand images in the proper context. Strive for a balance between words and images.
Nothing can totally replace the written word but quality written text can be even more impactful with some well-placed images to enhance it.