By Doreen Clark
When is the last time you wanted to sell, promote, generate interest, or simply share your opinion? You have probably shared a video on Facebook, an image on Pinterest, or an infographic on LinkedIn without thinking twice about it. Getting visual with our social media and marketing materials has become ingrained in our strategy simply because visuals generate more interest and more engagement. But what about public relations?
Whether you are pitching the media or incorporating PR tactics into your marketing strategy, it is imperative to “show it” rather than just writing it. The media are swamped with pitches just like yours and third party outlets are filled with written content. Are you cutting through the clutter with visuals? You should be—visuals will likely get you more views and may even land your company expert a killer interview.
Here are four visual ways to gain the attention of both the media and your audience while sticking to your brand message:
Infographics can be used in two major ways when it comes to PR. First, share existing infographics with the media. You likely have a few that you've created and published on LinkedIn, shared as part of your sales collateral, or used as a graphic in a blog. It's easy for the media to skip reading a lengthy email chock-full of statistics, but an infographic could catch their attention and generate interest for an article. Second, create an infographic as part of an article for a third-party outlet. Editors love to see images, and not only will this be interesting to the editor, but it will also be a shareable element with wings of its own.
In PR, you often must start with small potatoes, meaning you may not jump straight to CNN Live. Producers want to see your on-camera style before they bring you on air. They want to know that you can communicate your point effectively and your language will be easy for their audience to understand. But if you have nothing to show them, on-camera opportunities may be difficult to land. Create a video blog (vlog) as part of your existing blog content. Have the thought leaders you would like to have on camera create content that centers around their industry expertise. Keep the videos short. Once you have samples to share, create a relevant pitch that can correspond with the visual aide. Additionally, when creating articles, make a video as an added component. It is estimated that one-third of online activity is spent watching video, and that by 2019, “videos will comprise 80 percent of global internet traffic.” Get in the game. The more people watch your content, the happier editors will be and the more likely they will be to ask you for regular contributions.
Almost every CMO has a podcast on their radar. How do we know this? Because 44 percent of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast. You want your marketing strategy to take a piece of that pie, but PR should as well. Though not all podcasts have a visual component, many do. Either way, it is an alternative to reading, which can lose your audience’s interest fast. Pitch your company expert as a guest on your favorite industry podcast, and when it publishes, you’ll have excellent content to share both on your social sites and with the media. Press begets press. Once you have one podcast interview to show, it will be easier to get more.
You wouldn’t create a blog or LinkedIn post without a visual to grab your reader’s attention, right? So why pitch the media with text alone if you have photos to share? You don’t want to fill their inbox with large files, but you do want them to see images of products, new logos, your ground-breaking ceremony, and anything else that visually gets your point across and creates emotion. Whether you are using photos to entice the media or to draw new customers in through third-party outlet articles, if it has an image, engagement may be 650 percent higher than text-only posts. Photos are a must-have when working on your PR strategy.
As you go into the second half of 2018, is it time to revisit your PR strategy? Does it align with your marketing topics? Are you sharing your visual content with both the media and the outlets that you are looking to be published with? Are you remembering that information retention is greater when paired with a relevant image? Visuals are not just for marketing. Get the attention of the media and create higher engagement levels when showing your expertise.