Beyond PR

Jul 21, 2011

Weaving Visual Cues into PR

Yesterday PR Newswire hosted a webinar about visual PR featuring Lorrie Thomas, CEO of Web Marketing Therapy, and John O’Connell, senior public relations manager for HTNB Corp.  The topic was visual PR, and we discussed how weaving visuals into different communications can improve the results your PR efforts generate.  Lorrie and John went above and beyond the call of duty, providing an in-depth examination of a variety of tactics their organizations have used successfully.

As readers of this blog know, a recent PR Newswire analysis revealed that multimedia content generates better press release results than plain text content.  Across the board, press releases and other content with multimedia garners more online views, is shared more widely in social networks and has a longer shelf life than plain text content.

Lorrie kicked off the conversation with a number of examples, showing how thoroughly her firm weaves visuals into their online communications, and reminding listeners that visual cues can be as simple as a subtle hyperlink in a body of text, or as complex as a an collection of videos or an array of graphical elements on a web site.

Visuals are front and center on a Web Marketing Therapy client's media pages.

This screenshot of a web site they created for a client is a good example. Developed for a leading tax negotiation and mediation firm, the goal was to highlight the CEO’s thought leadership.  Web Marketing Therapy used visuals on the media page – including headshots and videos – to highlight the client’s expertise.  And instead of simple text links, the site design employed big, clickable buttons – a best practice that’s often overlooked.   Because media pages build trust factors with current and potential customers (in addition to serving interested journalists and bloggers) fully utilizing this area of a web site is important.

Lorrie offered a variety of tips for using visuals successfully in a communications program, including:

  • Include media contact information, and make it visible in all the multimedia elements – even photos and video.
  • Web surfers scan, they don’t read.  Use visual cues can get people to (and through) your message or site.
  • Embed search ready links in press releases.  Hyperlinks still serve a visual role, offering emphasis to readers and search engines.  Doing so delivers good user experience, gives the reader a visual cue, and can help boost search visibility. (How to embed anchor text hyperlinks in press releases.)

John showed us how his organization has generated interesting data through polling that the public relations department has used successfully to create infographics and generate media coverage.  As a result, John noted that his firm is able to compete effectively in the PR realm for a fraction of the cost of competitor ad spends.

An example of the infographics created by HNTB.

Media, industry association partners and bloggers have responded very well to the data HTNB can find and produce.  John noted many don’t have the staff, budgets for the type of polling HTNB does, despite the fact that they love credible data and numbers.  Using data-based infographics has enabled HTNB to present content in new – but still newsworthy – fashion.

John pointed out that data and infographics present a coverage opportunity.  The data that can be illustrated with a visual – in addition to the infographics your organization produces – can garner attention and gain coverage where plain text can’t.  John noted that while many blogs and smaller industry publications will pick up the graphics HTNB provides, larger publications like USA Today prefer to create their own, and to do so they need the underlying data.  Getting to know the graphics departments at key news outlets was a great tip he offered listeners.

John summarized the opportunity for PR pros when using visuals: find the sweet spot between the content creator, the data you have, and what your business needs – that intersection is your opportunity.

Listen to the archived webinar: Visual PR: Using Multimedia to Generate Results

Connect with the panelists:

Lorrie’s web sites:  and

Follow Lorrie on Twitter: @webtherapist

John’s LinkedIn profile:
Follow John on Twitter: @johnoconnellkc

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

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