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5 Takeaways from our #PRSAICON Visual Storytelling Session

5 Takeaways from our #PRSAICON Visual Storytelling Session

By Lisa Davis

Click here to see the amazing storyboards that Ink Factory created and take a journey through our visual storytelling mastery discussion.

If you were fortunate to be part of the PRSA 2014 International Conference in Washington, D.C. this week – whether in person or by following along on Twitter – you were part of a global conversation about the latest topics, trends, challenges and opportunities in PR among some of the industry’s finest.

We were thrilled to host to a standing-room only gathering with some of those finest during our session, “Visual Storytelling Mastery,” during which Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich), Amber Nasland (@AmberCadabra), Michael Smart (@michaelsmartPR) and our own Raleigh Wilkins (@raleighwilkins) led a terrific discussion about how PR pros can think outside the text box and use visuals to tell great brand stories,  engage new audiences, and – gasp! – get great media coverage.

A lot of great examples were shown and best practices shared — here are my 5 takeaways:

  1. Tap into your employees for content. In the search for great ideas, stories and visuals, we often overlook some of the best subject matter experts of all: our fellow employees. Who knows the product better than the Product team?  Who knows the customers better than the Customer Support team?  The PR team is missing a huge opportunity if they are not tapping into the collective knowledge of their teammates and asking them for content like product shots and customer testimonials. Taking it one step further and actually incentivizing in-house experts to contribute blog posts is a great way to source content, too.
  2. Match your efforts to your audience. There are as many ways to produce content as there are to share it. From infographics and video to Pinterest and Twitter, the decision of what-goes-where can be overwhelming. So before you commit to a slick Vine campaign, ask yourself:  “Does this fit my organization?”  There needs to be a connection between where your customers and potential customers hang out, and where you focus your content.  After all, if they are having conversations in Twitter, and you are spending time and money with YouTube videos, there’s a disconnect.
  3. Know that producing great content can be affordable. Let’s face it: very few PR pros have the budget for a Disney-sized campaign. But that doesn’t mean those of us faced with a limited budget can’t be creative and successful. There are many no- and low-cost tools to help, and from Canva to Vine to Ethos3, you can take your content from good to great with a little effort, and a little budget. Want proof? To bring our Visual Storytelling session to life with amazing illustrations, we partnered with our friends at Ink Factory to help us take our session from good to great (check out the graphic in this post).  By allocating a bit of budget, we now have awesome content to use again and again as we retell our PRSA story.
  4. Remember that the (traditional) media loves awesome content, too. It’s not just about social media followers and fans and likes and comments. The traditional media – yes, THAT media – is still critically important to many PR practitioners and their campaigns, and coverage on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or in the Huffington Post can still bring a brand from nowhere to somewhere.
  5. Understand the ‘why’ of your content. If you can’t figure out what you’re trying to accomplish by creating an infographic, or the objectives you’re trying to meet by publishing those white papers, you’re doing it wrong. Don’t put the cart before the horse by starting with a piece of content, then trying to figure out what the heck to do with it. Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Is it to increase the presence of your CEO? Generate leads from a white paper download?  Spur readership and engagement on your company blog? If you can’t match your tactics to your goals, and can’t answer what you want to achieve with a particular content asset, you should regroup and rethink.

Yet another great re-cap by the super-cool Gini Dietrich here: PRSA International Conference (#PRSAICON) Takeaways.

If you were part of the conference, let us know what you thought…   We’d love to know more about your #PRSAICON experiences.

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