Much of the buzz over the last couple days has been on two items related to photography: Facebook’s stunning acquisition of tiny Instagram
for a cool billion in stock and cash, and the emergence of the wildly popular “Texts from Hillary”
This all-in move by Facebook and the virality of the Clinton meme—not to mention the rapid ascent of Pinterest—is a klaxon sounding for communicators, and the message is this: visuals must be built into your regular communications strategy.
In many instances, public relations content is still text-heavy. We worry over the headlines, struggle to find that perfect angle, edit our pitches relentlessly and hone the lead paragraph to perfection. But despite all this work, most pitches and the majority of news releases are sent unadorned, their authors relying upon the written word to convey meaning, capture attention, and spark action.
At the same time, all around us, people are expressing their preference for visuals, and new media brands are catering to them. Messages with visuals get more play on Facebook and get more exposure in search engines. Readers gravitate to multimedia and Pinterest users pin pictures like mad.
Press releases that include multimedia get more reads and more social shares
than their plain-text cousins. At this point, we have to consider visuals an imperative for PR. But what happens when you don’t have access to fresh images for your campaign or pitch?
Here are some easy ways to create visuals to make your message stand out:
Turn text into a picture.
Pinterest and Facebook are loaded with quotes turned into simple graphics with color and eye-catching fonts. The website Someecards.com
offers fun and easy ways to create visuals with your own text.
If your campaign includes a list or data, turn it into a simple infographic.
People love to share information, and simple graphics help content travel far and wide. [Read: 3 essential tips for creating infographics
Add simple captions or phrases to photos that evoke or relate to key messages
. Just be sure you have rights to the image before publishing it.
Bear in mind that simple is good.
You want something that communicates your key message at a glance. High art isn’t necessary.
The next time you’re drafting a message and don’t have an image at hand, get creative and put something together yourself. Your audience—and your boss—will thank you.
Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media, and is the author of the free ebook Unlocking Social Media for PR.