I have a confession to make. I might be a wee bit addicted to BuzzFeed – you know, the website responsible for cranking out ‘listicles’ such as the “47 Greatest Dog GIFs of 2013” or “12 Cats That Just Want to Be Left Alone.” Or for bacon lovers (raises both hands), “18 Life Changing Ways to Have Bacon.”
Regardless of the topic, the content of these posts is usually dominated by images or video. On a rainy, quiet day, BuzzFeed can be a massive time suck because…OMG, look at all of the cute pictures of puppies!
In all seriousness, though, there’s a business lesson in the BuzzFeed madness. The website drew more than 130 million unique visitors in one month, so clearly the site’s formula has resonated with online visitors across various demographics. Although I hate to say it – being a former print journalist – in many cases, the old adage rings true: a picture is worth a thousand words.
In today’s increasingly busy world, many folks feel they simply don’t have the desire or time to read all the text that passes in front of them. And from a PR standpoint, that means your message could get weighed down or lost in the shuffle. So as marketing efforts move further into the digital space, it’s important to tap into platforms like Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram and Vine.
Here are a few reasons you should embrace the power of photos and video in any communications campaign.
- Research shows articles containing images draw 94 percent more total views – and including a photo or video in a press release can boost views by more than 45 percent. In addition, 60 percent of consumers say they are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image pops up in local search results.
- From a social media perspective, engagement rates on Facebook posts featuring photos are significantly higher than link, video or text-based updates. According to statistics, photos get 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments and 84 percent more link click-throughs than text-based posts. We’ve certainly witnessed that on our end. For example, to promote heat safety on behalf of a client last year, we posted a humorous image of a dog splayed out on ice – which generated a whopping 242 shares and reached more than 17,000 people within just three days. It also helped boost the page’s number of engaged users on Facebook nearly 400 percent that month.
- A 2012 B2B survey found that most respondents prefer video over white papers, case studies and even live demos with reps. In addition, past research shows more than 79 percent of people who use the Internet frequently watch videos. People are still hungry for information, but they want it quickly – so videos can help businesses communicate key messages to a target audience in very little time. This makes video a powerful medium, and if well packaged and used effectively, it can prove beneficial to many a company.
- Speaking of videos, did you know they are typically given higher search engine preference than pictures, text and audio files? This type of rich, dynamic content can significantly broaden your audience reach and message.
The moral of this story is, don’t be afraid to use pictures or videos – but use them in a way that is appropriate for your customers or fans. If you own a restaurant, don’t hesitate to show photos of your dishes being made or devoured. Or share a behind-the-scenes snippet of the employees responsible for the magic. If you’re in a highly-technical field, it probably doesn’t make sense to post a bunch of animated GIFs, but you can certainly use video to demonstrate the capabilities and functions of a new product or technology. Provide an engaging mix of both business-oriented and fun audio-visual content and you might be surprised how many new fans or potential clients you attract.