More Than A Thousand Words: The Power of Visual Storytelling

 In Content Marketing

It’s no surprise that the saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” was coined by one of the leading editors of the 20th century.

Here in the 21st century, there is a battle for customer attention and the pressure to deliver meaning and business impact quickly is compounded by our always-on digital, social and mobile world.

Images play an increasingly important role in today’s content marketing approach.

Images help to capture your audience’s attention, reach deep into their hearts and minds, and they can accomplish all this (literally) at the speed of light.

Information Overload

According to research from Nielsen, there are 27 million pieces of content shared each day.

Statistic Brain says that our average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds – one second less than a goldfish!

We check our phones 150 times per day and our email 30 times an hour.

And with the amount of information in the world doubling every 18 months, visual stories are becoming more important to brands and individuals alike.

The Power Of Visual Storytelling

Last week, you heard me announce right here that I was joining NewsCred, the leading content marketing platform. As a leader, you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. And here is just one example of why.

Today, we announced an interactive microsite called The Power of Visual Storytelling along with an accompanying white paper and Slideshare deck that we created in partnership with Getty Images.

It focuses on the impact of compelling imagery, and defines four principles of visual content. The idea is to bring our audience an engaging digital experience (that is also very visual), while providing tactical take-aways to brand marketers.

When I first saw the microsite, I was blown away. And so I interviewed the person who drove the effort, Erika Velazquez, NewsCred’s Brand and Communications Manager. Check out how the project came about, the process to create it, and our expectations for the content. And in the spirit of visual content, I’ve also embedded the Slideshare below.

How did you come up with the idea to do the piece?
We’ve had a long standing relationship with Getty Images. They’ve been a content partner for years and they spoke at our summit. After being embedded in each others companies for so long – the idea developed pretty organically. We wanted to create something beautiful that conveyed the power of visual content, but also provide tactical take-aways for marketers to thoughtfully select visuals.

What was the process like?
Overall, it was an extremely collaborative process between our marketing team (including our stellar designer) and the Getty Images team. We worked very closely with Getty Images to develop the storyline – interviewing key players on their teams, such as Pam Grossman and Micha Schwing. We had frequent check-ins, and I believe participation across teams drove a ton of creativity along the way. Additionally, we built the entire microsite on Ceros, which was fun because it became an opportunity to learn a new platform.

What did you learn about creating something like this?
My biggest take-away would be that thoughtfulness is absolutely essential when it comes to design. Our designer was included in the very first meetings. In doing so, it gave him the space to both think through the look and feel, while also contributing ideas that ultimately influenced the content.

Any “funny” or “personal” stories from the project that you can share?
Of course! It was probably one of the most fun projects I’ve worked on. Having an excuse to comb through the Getty Images library was an absolute dream. It sparked really interesting discussions on the evolution of stock photography. But of course, in talking so much about stock photography, we also become obsessed with finding terrible stock images (not from Getty Images, of course). Just to give you a sense of what we were talking about, check out this Buzzfeed gem we found: 50 Stock Images You’ll Never Use.

What is your expectation for the piece?
Aside from hoping it goes completely viral, my expectation is that visitors have a really fun experience and understand the value of impactful visuals, and the value of design.

Please Share Your Thoughts?

So let us know what you think?  Share it with your friends! And comment here, on the @Newscred Blog or follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, former Head of Strategy at NewsCred, and the former VP of Global Content Marketing at SAP. Michael is also the co-author of The Content Formula, a contributor to leading publications like The Economist, Inc Magazine, The Guardian, and Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to the Marketing Insider.
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Showing 4 comments
  • Shawne Duperon

    Brilliant advice.

  • Tony

    It can be hard and time-consuming to find an image to go with an article or blog which is truly relevant and helps the reader get the message quickly. And speed is what it’s all about once someone reaches your content – as well as the image(s), it is layout, colours, headings / sub-headings, use of bullet point lists etc which have a bearing.

    The top imperative of images is to help you stand-out in the crowd when you publish links to your content in social networks. Here the image’s coding, proportions and ability to have impact at the size displayed in social network updates etc are very important.

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Tony, I totally agree. Everyone seems to struggle with this aspect but it is really becoming so much more important.