The Art of Telling Stories with Visual Storytelling

The Art of Telling Stories with Visual Storytelling
Adrián Valdivia Saavedra, a.k.a. The Mayor
Adrián Valdivia Saavedra, a.k.a. The Mayor

Copywriter, content writer and SEO translator

   

Today we're so exposed to information of all kinds in so many formats that our brain automatically sifts through it and stays most of the time with those images that have impacted it. We're unwittingly "victims" of Visual Storytelling.

This discipline that the storytellers of the digital world use more and more is the faithful reflection that "an image is worth a thousand words". In this article we'll tell you how to use it in an online marketing and social network strategy. The power of visual storytelling will surprise you...

Importance of visual content in online marketing

Did you know that most authors of fantasy novels first draw before they start writing? It happened with the great J.R.R. Tolkien with Middle Earth from his Lord of the Rings trilogy and also with the extraordinary J.K. Rowling with his magic Harry Potter saga.

The reason for this is very simple: the authors know first-hand the importance of images in the process of creative writing and storytelling. It's been proven that the brain processes images some 60,000 times faster than text.

In fact, throughout its evolutionary history, the human brain has processed images before words to understand the world around it, and they also have a more direct effect on our emotional state.

Well, within any digital marketing strategy, visual content also has special relevance. Indeed, this is one of the most important elements of a blog. This is due to three main reasons:

  • It increases traffic to the web and social networks.
  • It's a great way to gain followers' loyalty.
  • It's much easier for the audience to understand the messages or information you want to convey.

And one of the ways to boost the visual content is through a story with a great visual impact.

What is Visual Storytelling

A good definition of this term could be the following:

A technique based on storytelling using graphic resources such as images, videos, computer graphics or any other format.

The main goal is to catch the user's attention quickly, otherwise the brand will be forgotten in a jiffy.

Phases of a storytelling with visual content

The stages of this kind of storytelling are well known.

1. Preparing the story

In the first stage, the history and objective of the brand must be taken into account, as well as the buyer persona. The brand must be the solution to a problem.

2. Visualise the story

In the second stage the script has to be created, the story produced using the chosen visual format and edited.

3. Sharing the story

In the last stage, there must be a strategy for distributing content that considers when is the best time to publish. In addition, it's necessary to track and optimise if necessary.

5 features of the visual narrative

Through the combination of visual content and text, different stories can be transmitted to the audience. In order to do so, the following elements must be considered to create a good Visual Storytelling:

1. Authenticity

The user has to think if the content is real, so making the user feel identified with the emotions that the content gives off is vital. Needless to say, it's necessary to be up to date so that the images are updated.

Example: the Mexican beer brand Corona launched this image on its social networks related to the coronavirus.

2. Cultural relevance

Diversity has to be one of the cornerstones, as the society is becoming more and more multicultural. Therefore, we must break the mould with images that destroy stereotypes.

Example: this spot for the sports brand Nike is good proof of inclusion with a powerful message.

3. Sensory value

As time goes by, technology is so present in our lives that the mere fact of transmitting craft values is priceless. The combination of nostalgia and tradition is very attractive.

Example: this image of the TV3 television channel from Catalonia on craft beers speacks for itself.

4. Active audience

Getting users involved with the brand is essential. In this way, users will be the best ambassadors of marketing strategies.

Example: Netflix professionals have wanted that after the COVID-19 pandemic, people don't remain in their homes (La calle means 'The street' in Spanish).

5. Impact message

Although it isn't mandatory to have a slogan, having a catchy one will make it stick more in the users. This will increase brand awareness.

Example: once again the Nike creative team was outstanding with this spot in memory of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his mentality: to be always better.

3 advantages of Visual Storytelling

The benefits of this content strategy are quite clear.

1. More interactions

Images increase user interactions by up to 87%, while videos increase user interactions by 65%.

2. It lasts over time

People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read and up to 80% of what they see. So telling a good story with visual content is very important.

3. High compatibility

The visual elements are usually highly compatible between communication channels, which will make life easier for the person in charge of publishing the content.

3 tips for visual narrative

Now we're going to give you three simple tips to implement a good storytelling with a high graphic impact.

1. Consistency with your audience

You have to put yourself in the place of the receiver of the content before defining a strategy, since the visual strategy will vary depending on the type of company or audience. Coherence, please.

2. Cohesion with your brand

A unique style must be defined for content. This must be consistent with the feed from the brand's social network profiles and with the website (typography, colours, illustrations, sizes, etc.). Relating a brand to a style is invaluable.

3. Connection with the content

The content must be adapted to the format in which it's shared. For example, an email isn't the same as an Instagram or Twitter publication: some have more text, others have more image... Adapt or die.

The power of visual narrative

Knowing how to identify the content that's best associated with your message has great relevance for the receiver and, therefore, for the brand. A good narrative isn't enough, it must be taken a step further with visual storytelling.

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