Lots of colours, or black and white? An interesting infographic, or a dull font? A picture of a child smiling, or a scary looking animal?
These decisions may seem obvious, but when it comes to selecting images for your PR outreach they are crucial to get right. Many people will too often gloss over which image to choose on their piece, or not even use one at all, deeming pictures too irrelevant and graphics too time consuming to make. But, a good visual will instantly gain more attention and more clicks, and it’s easy to do. Do not dismiss the power of a picture.
We like looking
Research has shown that online posts, such as on Twitter, which include some kind of visual - whether that be a photo, graphic or video, gets more attention and engagement than just a written statement or tweet… and there is a reason for it.
We like looking at images, at colours and fun fonts. Humans are visual creatures and our brains enjoy engaging with visual processing. Because of this, images are able to grab our attention easily.
Think about it. There are two articles placed side by side. One is printed in black and white, with a small, basic font that doesn’t vary in size and doesn’t even use the basic bold, italics, or underline features. The other article uses fun graphics, an engaging picture and varies up the typography with different font styles, structure, sizing, and colour.
Of course you’d choose to read the second article over the first, right? It’s much more appealing to the eye and immediately stands out from the first article.
Because posts with pictures and an assortment of typography naturally enjoy more attention, this comes with more impressions, interactions, engagement, and ultimately, more clicks to your business.
Pictures = Emotions
Visuals bring out the emotions in us all. A sad scene in a film? Crying. A newly-wed couple on Instagram? Happy. The latest Netflix documentary exposing vulgar people? Angry.
If someone sees a picture of a newborn baby or a cute puppy, they are much more likely to click on the story. This is known as the ‘baby schema’ theory - physical features like round faces, big eyes, chubby cheeks, and a button nose, are seen to be cute, which initiates our caring behaviour, and the innate function of humans to cherish offspring kicks in.
This theory can be adapted into the world of PR. Of course, not every story will require a picture of a cute baby or puppy, but using the basis of this theory can help to create an impactful campaign. Use visuals which naturally process positive thoughts in our brains - the baby pictures bring out a caring, nurturing feeling, and a picture of one person helping out another will bring out a natural sense of trust.
Choose an image which harbours the best emotions out of us - pick wisely and think about what our brains naturally want to see. That may mean choosing a picture of a newborn instead of a child’s bedroom when writing about toys for babies, or it may mean a picture of someone cooking up a storm in the kitchen, instead of a kettle, when writing about kitchen appliances.
Whatever the business, it is important to choose an image which naturally initiates a positive emotion to the viewer. Faces are easily recognisable for our brains, and we can go back to the ‘baby schema’ theory, by choosing photos of people which evoke optimism, certainty and confidence to react well with our brains.
Stay relevant and clear
Choosing a visual which drives the emotion of the audience is important, but it is still essential to pick a relevant image. There is no point picking a picture of a litter of puppies when writing about home furnishings. Although someone will be attracted to the image, they will soon click away from the PR campaign when they start reading about ‘trending sofas this season’, instead of ‘the cutest puppy breeds’.
It is really important to keep the picture you choose relevant to the writing - a well matched graphic can be the make or break between your story getting picked up and noticed, or not.
As well as a meaningful image, you need to make sure that the quality of the photo or graphic is high-resolution. Even though visuals will sell the piece to the audience, if it is blurry or too small on the page then your piece is much less likely to be engaged with. We automatically assume that with a bad quality picture comes a bad quality piece of work. If you haven’t spent the time or care to ensure that the visual is of good quality, then why should others assume that the writing is going to be great, if you can’t even get the picture right?
Ultimately, visuals are the best way to capture other’s attention - you see lots more posts, articles and advertisements with pictures or some sort of fun font, over just black and white text. It’s because it works.
The cliché of “a picture paints a thousand words” is true for PR - using a good, informative graphic will sell itself - with more talking, clicking, and sharing for your business.´
To find out more about how we can help you with your PR and marketing, please do get in touch.