Ramp Up Your Visual Storytelling

Ramp up your storytelling because when was the last time you saw an ad or post about a brand you’re not familiar with, but your interest was peaked and you just had to go and check it out? You can create curiosity too!

Think back to what first caught your attention. Was it the name of the brand? The text for the ad? Or was it an image that compelled you to take a few moments to go take a peek?

As human beings, it just comes naturally to communicate visually. I can confidently say that I’m sure it was mostly the featured image that drew you in to take a closer look. With today’s trends, we have learned that words alone aren’t going to be adequate to keep customers and prospects engaged, motivated and involved. It’s time to work on visual storytelling.

Your main goal should be to get their attention and then in a genuine and sincere way, build a long-term relationship with your potential customers and followers…

Over time you want to build a loyal community that will buy from you, learn from you, and provide you with free but powerful word-of-mouth referrals! This is called the K.L.T. Factor (which stands for “Know-Like-Trust;” if people don’t know you, like you or trust you, they will not work with you or buy from you). If you want to know more about the concept of building trust as a marketer, my fellow PAC Expert Author Donna Merril has a great post about it.

Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Relevant detail, couched in concrete, colorful language, is the best way to recreate the incident as it happened and to picture it for the audience.

Dale Carnegie

When you think about telling intriguing stories about your business, don’t think about it as if you are trying to “sell” someone on why they should buy from you. Rather, think of it as a relationship-building tool.

Why Are Images So Important To Your Brand?

When it comes to marketing in 2015, properly presenting your brand image and brand story are vital to your success. The challenge? To present what your unique brand is in a matter of literally just seconds.

If you’ve been browsing online or if you have been a marketer over the last 5 years or so, you are well aware that most people who wanted to build a business started out with a blog. They would write in long form and build their community around their posts. (I still do this for the most part as I like to teach and I’m most comfortable writing). But, when I want to get my point across quickly, I create unique images for my brand.

After becoming a blogger, the next important trend was to add a Facebook profile and a Facebook Fan or Business Page. We had to learn to use fewer words and get attention in just short daily bursts (status updates) to draw people in. Twitter? This platform made us reduce our message to a 140-character limit. Today with Instagram, one of the hottest image sharing sites available to marketers, you can share images of course, but also 3 to 15 second videos.

Mitchell Reichgut, CEO of a video advertising company called JunGroup stated his reasoning behind the Instagram short video policy, “They said it was to give people time to tell a story, and I buy that but it also enables them to tap into a massive pre-roll video ad market. Video commands the most revenue, drives the highest CPMs, and monetizes the best.” Video is a series of images strung together to either entertain or educate (or perhaps a little of both).

Humans have been communicating visually from very ancient times. Images today are being used as instant forms of communication. About the only thing shorter than a Tweet or an Instagram video is a photo. With today’s technology, images are even more popular because of the ability to take photos and videos with your smartphone.

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It seems that we are getting closer to what ancient tribes did to communicate with each other to save time and information overload. We have symbols today that are pretty universal without using any words at all. Think about a handicap symbol, a phone icon, the Red Cross sign, or even a peace symbol. What about all of our Social Media Icons? We all internationally know what the various platform symbols are to share information without have to see words spelled out. You will see a row of these icons right after this post. 

When I was thinking about communication in ancient times using pictures, it reminded me of my hike into the White Tank Mountains last year. This area has a rich history. The Black Rock Loop Trail circles through a Hohokam village site.  There is a big group of petroglyphs near the entrance to the box canyon that gives the trail its name. Here is a photo I took while on the trail.

Image: Petroglyphs on the Black Canyon Trail Loop White Tank Mountains Arizona

A rock drawing was serious business to its artist. Even though we cannot say with certainty what most of the symbolic images mean, we know they had important functions in the lives of the village. We know that these drawings were not just for pleasurable viewing, they recorded events and marked locations. As with other ancient cultures, the petroglyphs were used to perhaps control nature so that vital rain would fall in the desert or animals would be easily available as a food source. Some served as trail markers and maps. Others represented religious concepts.

What is the purpose of your images? Your images should reach your audience on some emotional level. Have you got a new product or blog post? Tease them with a creative graphic. You don’t have to reveal all the info, just get their attention and add a call to action to get people to click through to your blog, Facebook page or Pinterest page…

If you are sharing images on your Facebook Fan Page, the image should be “sharable.” You want people to pass along and share your brand image rather than click through to your blog. I had an image that was shared over 8,000 times!

When posting an image, think about what you want it to do and where you want it to take people. Whatever platform you are using to share images, you need to pay close attention to which images are liked, downloaded, shared, reposted, or saved. Then share more of the same type of images to draw attention to your business.

Yesterday I found an interactive microsite that I think you’ll appreciate. Check out “The Power of Visual Storytelling,” that also has an accompanying white paper. Check out this slideshare presentation that focuses on the impact of compelling imagery.  It also defines four principles of visual content. I’m sure the presentation will leave you with lots of new ideas for marketing in this fast-paced highly competitive market.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Your brand, your story if presented properly, should identify what your passions are and serve as the main focus for all of your future marketing developments. I invite you to take a look at my blog. Just by looking at the home page, you should be able to see my passion and what I do by just a quick scan of the page.

For most online marketers, their hub, business center, heart of their business is their blog. Whatever you are using as your home-base or hub for your business, whether it be a Facebook Fan Page or a blog, what is the message you are visually sending to your visitor within 8 seconds? And, even if you get it right today, our business evolves so pay close attention and update your message from time to time to reflect your current business focus.

To your massive success,

Deborah

PS – I would love to hear your thoughts about visual storytelling. If you’ve been marketing for awhile, share your best visual storytelling experience in the comments below so we can all learn from you. If you found value in this post, please like, comment and share. It is very much appreciated.

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    1. Anant Thakur May 18, 2015
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