There’s no doubt that storytelling is a fantastic vehicle for information. Similarly, visuals are a great way to convey meaning (in most cases faster than text!). Combining the 2 can create a powerful tool for keeping your audiences informed and engaged. This post will focus on some of the main components of visual storytelling: building a compelling narrative, distilling your main points, crafting a design that works with your message, and finally understanding the importance of thought leadership. But before we begin looking at the many uses for this type of communication, it’s important to understand how we define visual storytelling and how businesses can use it to their advantage.
Definition: Visual storytelling uses visual communication to craft a narrative. It can be used across all visual media, including infographics, motion graphics, and interactive graphics. Education is one of the end goals, but this approach aims to persuade the viewer to reach a specific conclusion.
1.) Create a Compelling Message
While the strength of a visual campaign comes from its visual appeal, every story still needs a compelling narrative to help drive the content. Creating a strong message is all about connecting with your target audience. First, identify a central goal your business wants to accomplish. Think of this as asking, “What kind of problem do you want to solve for your target audience?” Next, do your research: find out your target audience’s needs and interests to see if there is mutual ground on which to build a solid foundation for your message. Just like that, you’re ready to start bringing your story to life!
2.) Make Your Content Count
Once you have developed a thoughtful storyline, sift through your content and pull out the main points that tell your story best. As you move into the design phase, identify key areas that can be transformed visually. Doing so will improve the overall look and flow of your story, while also providing visual cues to important information.
3.) Practice Visually Communicative Design
When executed properly, visual communication is a powerful tool for conveying ideas. To do this correctly, you must ensure that any visuals used are working hard to tell your story — distilling information to make it more comprehensible for the viewer, rather than just accompanying the text. Content like infographics and data-based visualizations are classic, but there are other mediums to explore — and it’s possible to have an infographic that just doesn’t successfully tell its story. The bottom line? Pay close attention to all your visual choices, because if they don’t support your end goal or storyline they’re ineffective at best, and distracting or even misleading at worst.
4.) Be a Thought Leader
Be a thought leader. This is critical to consider when creating any form of content — “How will this help me stand out from the crowd?” Always include actionable tips and take-aways that your audience can use. Of course, it can be tempting to get in the mindset of “Sell! Sell! Sell!” but your readers will appreciate when the goal of your content is instead to promote beneficial information. Don’t worry about selling your brand with every piece of content. Let your work speak for itself.
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