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Rule of thumb for a press release: A visual is worth a thousand words!

Rule of thumb for a press release: A visual is worth a thousand words!
22.08.2022

Visual communication existed long before spoken and written language. People started drawing and painting on the walls of caves, carved them and left many petroglyphs, cave paintings or reliefs thousands of years ago to communicate and convey their stories. And although the invention of writing was a cornerstone in the history of humanity in helping us pass over our knowledge and precious data to the next generations, the value of visuals never diminished. On the contrary, even the digital era we leave in is confirming its preference over text if you notice that people are increasingly spending more time on platforms presenting multimedia instead of solely text. Hence, as the PR (public relations) and corporate communication people of this century, we should start employing them more not only in press releases but also in any content. Here are some facts and formulas on the topic.

People are visual creatures

In John Berger’s book of “Ways of Seeing,” Mike Parkinson underlines the difficulty of defining a circle textually compared to graphically which is just a simple drawing, and can anyone argue the other way around?

Psychologist Albert Mehrabian demonstrated that 93% of communication is nonverbal. A 3M corp. research concluded that humans process visuals 60,000 times faster than text and there are many more studies that proves the human brain processes image elements more easily and even simultaneously, while it decodes the language in a more linear and time taking manner.

If you are still not convinced yet. Here are some more statistics:

  • Mobile video consumption has increased 17 fold since 2012 and it is projected that global internet traffic from videos will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 20221.
  • 80% of people remember what they see, compared to 10% what they hear and 20% of what they read2.
  • 95% of B2B buyers want shorter and highly visual content3.
  • MIT neuroscientists discovered that the brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. 
  • Presentations including visuals are 43% more persuasive than presentations without visuals4.
  • 71% of journalists "always or often" use HD images and HD videos when working on an article5.
  • 68% of PR Newswire's 100 most visited press releases contain a multimedia component6.
  • Press releases containing images gets 1.4 times more views3.
  • Press releases containing videosgets 2.8 times more views3.

Hence, multimedia became an inseparable part of digital press releases

By now we must have made clear how visuals are powerful communications tools. So, adding multimedia elements to your press release will help you drive more attention, improve your social media reach, and drive brand awareness. Sometimes the visual itself alone can drive the audience’s urge to continue reading. With global multimedia consumption soaring, including multimedia in your press release will in no question improve the likelihood of triggering a positive response by journalists, analysts and consumers. 

But, including multimedia to your press releases is more than just a good practice, it is imperative for SEO too. Search engines judge and weigh multimedia and textual press releases differently but the algorithms to evaluate multimedia are developing quicker than ever with the increase in the adaption and use of mobile, which spiked with COVID-19 pandemic and accelerated multimedia consumption.  

Of course, the PR or corporate communication people are already aware of this fact. According to the 2021 “State of the Media" survey, almost 2 in 3 people (63%) said they are planning to include multimedia elements to their press releases in the next 12 months to come (Figure 1).

Multimedia in press releases

Figure 1

But, you cannot just use any multimedia in your press release just to grab attention. The visuals or videos should be relevant to your content. Here are some alternatives to choose from:

Pictures, photos, images or illustrations: Photos and illustrations are the simplest type of visuals you can share with your content but sometimes they can be the best option to personalize it. Marketer Jeff Bullas cites that articles with images get 94% more views than those without. Taking photos and drawing illustrations is a whole another area of interest and if it does not fall into yours’ you can always make use of stock photography and head to online artists.

Second page of Google

Statistical graphs: Statistical graphs and charts don’t just make the data easy to comprehend and remember but they also give you and your content a professional edge, and help you convince or persuade your target audience more easily. Although from a sharing perspective they rank at the 4th place, when it comes to trackbacks, they are ahead of all types of multimedia. For example, a Quicksprout analysis has shown that graphs and charts on average received 258% more trackbacks than blog posts with other types of images.

Infographics: An infographic is a creative way of bringing together “information” and “graphics” so that it displays a topic in an easy to digest format highlighting the important stats or facts. Using infographics can grow your traffic 12% faster7.  They are also great from share-wise because people can share them as a whole or crop the relevant parts of it to use in many social platforms. 

Infographics

Videos: We saved the one with the most growing potential to the last! Actually, the primary form of media used in content marketing is video8. As we mentioned before, Cisco’s research has displayed a mobile video consumption of 17-fold since 2012 and it predicted the global internet traffic from videos will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2022. The crazy part is, this research was done before the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly accelerated the shift to digital and mobile in particular. Hence, the numbers here are probably much higher now. For example, Twitch, the live-streaming platform saw a yearly growth of 14.3% only in 2020 and boasted up to 1.645 billion watch hours per month9. The point is – if they are already not – videos should start to be a part of your communications toolbox.

Other than these major contents there are many more alternatives to choose from like; gifographics, memes, timelines, quotes, flip books, slideshare presentations, comparison tables etc. You don’t have to use all types but you can get inspired by some of them when you are designing your press release keeping your audience in mind. When using any of these formats, there are some things you need to keep in mind:    

  • Quality: In general, you have to select high-quality images for your press releases and, make sure that they are properly optimized to load faster like within 3 seconds. But sometimes you will need just enough quality.
  • Background: In your visuals try to avoid a solid black or white which can skew the lighting.
  • Copy rights: Always pay attention to photo and video rights!
  • Keywords: Try to name the visual content with your name and related keywords to increase search performance.  
  • Using videos: When you decide to use video with your content try just embedding it in it rather than adding a link or a hyperlink. This will help to make it more dynamic and increase viewership.

Multimedia is now an inseparable part of any content, not just a press release. An illustration or chart can worth a million words, a statistical figure can legitimize your case and make it more persuasive, an infographic can tidy up and summarize everything to make it more memorable, and a video can sometimes be the best for the exhausted souls. Whichever it is you choose, choose at least one embed it in your press release and watch your content spread.

Footnotes:

  • Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2017–2022 (Source)
  • Study by psychologist Jerome Bruner
  • B2B Content Preferences Survey: Buyers Want Short, Visual, Mobile-Optimized Content (Source)
  • The University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, Management Information Systems (MIS)
  • 5 Cision étude media 2019
  • 6 PR Newswire 2018
  • 7Source
  • 8 Source
  • 9Source
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