A new era for PR – visual storytelling

Society has experienced a huge transformation from sitting in front of radio receivers and listening to a program for several minutes to worldwide information in the palm of one’s hand.

Google, Twitter and Facebook have undeniably been a revolutionary influence on public relations, in such a way that today we have a public that is, in ever increasing amounts, thirsty for the information that is circulating 24 hours a day around the world.

How did the need for multimedia content appear?

The large amount of global information that circulates makes us feel like we are lagging behind, losing ground and the feeling that we know too little has never been more pronounced.

The world has truly become a global village, which has resulted in the fact that everyone is our competitor, while the need for differentiation is also increasing.

The content intelligence company Chartbeat analysed users’ behaviour across two billion website visits and discovered that nearly 55 percent of internet users spend less than 15 seconds actively on a page. To keep the attention of users we need to attract them through content and overshadow the competition. This is much easier to do with audio-visual content as one minute of multimedia content is worth 1.8 million words.

Multimedia has the ability to trigger emotions, boost comprehension and spark long-term memories, which is supported by research declaring that six out of ten people show a preference for audio-visual communication. This is due to the fact that physiologically the brain processes images faster and more effectively than text, which is yet another confirmation that good multimedia content can keep the attention of the user and can help differentiate from the competition.

How has multimedia changed public relations?

There are more articles being published by fewer journalists, deadlines are ever tighter and misunderstandings between editors and media companies are growing. Media companies are expecting journalists to generate profit, and the bottom-line is that journalists are no longer measured on the quality of their work but on the traffic, it generated and the length of time spent reading it… PROFIT.

Public relation professionals have not yet fully embraced multimedia content and are still largely relying on press releases without audio-visual content. A study by PR Newswire shows that multimedia content can increase views by 2.8x as it saves valuable journalist time for publishing articles and makes for a more impactful and share-worthy story.

Multimedia is the force that drives content confirmed by the same study by PR Newswire, which found that of the top 100 most successful releases, 68 included multimedia assets. Public relation professionals will certainly with time accept these changes and recognise the importance of multimedia content and visual story-telling. This will result in a complete story package story for journalists – text, photographs and videos.

Nearly 40 percent of people react more positively to visual content than plain text and research conducted by PR Newswire in 2015 showed that 42 percent of all press releases included multimedia elements, which is a present reality we cannot escape from.

Considering the statistics, the question is when will the PR industry fully embrace the fact that the inclusion of multimedia content is a necessary requirement.

The internet has revolutionized how we consume content, and visual content has changed the way we consume it., which leads to a start of a new era for public relations – an era of visual storytelling.

How can multimedia help public relations?

People are visual creatures that remember images, diagrams, charts, illustrations, and videos much more easily than dry text pages. The message must be clear and the story should consider three components whether or not it includes multimedia items:

      • Substance – how to make the content more engaging?
      • Tone – how to make it more human, more candid?
      • Package – how to make the ‘shareable’ and less static?

Multimedia allows for more effective PR communication by addressing all three-above components. This form of communicating and data presentation is more accessible to the public, more entertaining and enables faster access to information, which is an essential requirement in today’s world. Thanks to multimedia there is now a larger number of ways to reach the public and engage it.

For PR professionals like us, it also has positive impacts as we are constantly learning, following new trends and changes, and actively engaging in our business by searching for something new every day. With multimedia content we can immediately spot which campaigns or stories are going to be successful – all we need to do is look at the number of views, likes and other such indicators. It’s important to keep in mind that although multimedia is another tool in the PR professional’s kit, it is a tool which still requires a good strategy, creativity and elaborated multimedia programming to be used successfully.

The original articles can be read here, here and here.

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