A picture is worth a thousand words

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But is that always true?

With the growing popularity of visual based content, an increasing number of public relations and marketing professionals are turning to infographics, photos, and video to help with their content strategy, especially in the realm of social media. However, the truth is that not all visual content is made equal. Some images are too cluttered, others too difficult to read and understand, and worst of all, some just don’t have a story to tell. Without clear visuals and a focused story or issue, the image, be it a photo or infographic, loses its potency and the message becomes diluted, muddled, and lost. However, there are a lot of people who are doing it right and included below are a few examples of what I’ve found to be successful infographics.

Flavours of Bob via Sitecore

This image is focused primarily on marketing and SEO but contains an important message for all marketers, public relations practitioners, and advertisers and that is to know your audience and customize communications accordingly.

Strengths: Bright and colourful graphics, easy to read (arrows and other visual keys to lead the user’s eye),  focused message.

Content Strategy Burger by Mark Smiciklas via Content Keen

This is quite a popular image which I’ve seen on a number of other sites and focuses on the basic elements of content strategy. Using the analogy of a hamburger, Mark Smiciklas creates an infographic that helps public relations practitioners and marketers understand the complexity and layering of any content strategy initiative in a fun and easy manner.

Strengths: easy to read image, simple and to the point, colourful visuals and fun analogy, clear message/story.

Social Media Brandsphere by Jess3 and Brian Solis

The third image comes courtesy of Brian Solis, in his blog posting discussing the role of infographics and its function as a tool for public relations. The posting is informative and worth reading and this image communicates many of the key ideas raised through his post.

Of the three infographics that I’ve shared, it is the most difficult to read and navigate. While the other two examples were very clear and could appeal to a much wider audience, this particular image is a bit more complex and requires some previous understanding. However, with a bit of time and careful reading, this infographic can be quite useful in its discussion of paid, owned, and earned media (p.o.e.m.), the social web, and audience types.

Strengths: clear messages and story to tell, communicates complex information.

As always, I’d love to hear back from you. What are your thoughts on visual content and social media? What are the markers of a great infographic and what are things that should be avoided? And lastly, if all of this reading has made you want to create some visual content of your own, here’s a blog posting in the form of an infographic (quite appropriately)  that outlines the 22 steps of creating effective content.

One thought on “A picture is worth a thousand words

  1. caroldunsmore says:

    I like the burger and wrote about it too. I liked the coffee graphic too – makes me want a coffee! – because it prompts us to ask ourselves whether we really know our audience and how they behave. Good stuff.

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