Last Saturday was World Photography Day, so I took some time to reflect on the power of photos in an age where visual content reigns supreme. When cleverly worked into PR materials, photos will help master the art of visual storytelling to achieve a client’s communication goals.
Why should you always try to combine text with images
Since I started working in communications, the concept of storytelling has played a key role in the success of all campaigns. I also quickly realized how accompanying text-based stories with photographs can boost results even further. Indeed, images have the power to trigger emotions in a split second, creating a real hook for the audience and setting the mood for the entire piece of piece. Photos also provide a mental break, because when we pause to look at a scene, a face or a landscape, our brains have a moment to process the text we have just read, allowing us to better focus on the words we are about to read. Finally, according to what is known in cognitive theory as the ‘picture supremacy effect’, it is much easier to internalize and remember visual content than written text because images are encoded by our brains in both verbal and visual memory centers.
Mastering Photography in Tech Communications
So how do you incorporate images and photography into pitches, press releases and any other piece of content to ensure the effectiveness of the communication effort? Here is a short list of my top tips to help you get started.
- Give the context right from the start: Especially when it comes to business communications, it is good to make sure that the reader understands from the start what the story is about. It is good practice to insert a presentation image to immediately give the context and prevent the reader from feeling confused and therefore discouraged from continuing reading.
- Balance is key: While it is true that photographs and images provide an opportunity to make stories more vivid and to take a mental break while reading, it is wise to consider carefully how to use them. From format to frequency and alignment, the recipe for an effective story takes these factors into account and includes pictures strictly in the service of optimal understanding and internalization of the text.
- Consistency, consistency, consistency: A paramount to a powerful narration involving photography is that the images work in harmony with each other and with the written text. Accordingly, photographs need to reflect a common visual style aligned with the literary style of the text.
Making tech communications human
As technology is built on innovation and human connection, effective tech PR should go beyond jargon to reach hearts and minds. This is where the power of visual storytelling comes into play. Recognizing photography’s ability to communicate complex concepts, humanize products and bring people to the fore is an important step in starting to elevate your tech communications approach. After all, it is more than a vision: photography is a gateway to emotions that stick in the memory.