It's said that a picture paints a thousand words. For public relations (PR) professionals though, whose stock in trade is language, that truism can sometimes be hard to wrap their head around.
The reality, though, is that humans don't just think, or communicate, in words. We also use images. And, very often, far more information can be expressed, understood, and communicated through pictures than through language.
"The reality, though, is that humans don't just think, or communicate, in words. We also use images."
This is particularly true when it comes to data. Indeed, massive volumes of data can be intimidating, overwhelming, and downright confusing. However, the data often contain vital information that stakeholders and target audiences need to know. And that’s why translating that data into visual form can mean all the difference to your PR efforts.
This article examines the role of data visualisation in PR and describes strategies for unleashing its power in your PR campaigns.
Fundamentally, data visualisation is just what it sounds like: the conversion of often large volumes of numerical and textual information into visual form. Data visualisation can encompass everything from charts and graphs to infographics combining both images and (limited) text.
To be sure, converting data into visual form can be highly beneficial in effectively and efficiently communicating external data, such as consumer trends and competitor information. This is a terrific way to craft content that is at once easily comprehensible and uniquely shareable for employers, investors, and customers alike.
" This is a terrific way to craft content that is at once easily comprehensible and uniquely shareable..."
However, visualisation isn’t just for sharing useful outside information, it’s also highly beneficial in communicating critical internal data, from sales reports to customer satisfaction surveys. And there are few better ways to generate institution-wide buy-in for your PR strategy than to provide clear and convincing proof, in visual form, of the data shaping your PR practices.
There’s no question that intuition can be a critical component of professional success. But, far more often than not, sound decision-making depends on good information.
And this is another arena in which the enormous power of data visualisation shines through, particularly when artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are being used in your company. Thanks to significant advances in AI, businesses now have greater capacity than ever before for acquiring and analysing massive volumes of data on high-bandwidth, low-latency networks.
"This means an unprecedented level of intelligent computing capacities which may be parlayed into ultra-high-quality visual data customised to the needs...of various stakeholders."
This means an unprecedented level of intelligent computing capacities which may be parlayed into ultra-high-quality visual data customised to the needs and interests of various stakeholders.
For PR professionals, AI-driven automated data visualisation facilitates the interpretation and instrumentalisation of data. At the same, it also better equips them to share their findings with executives, investors, and staff.
There’s no question about it, you can present your target audience with the most fascinating data available and you won’t ignite their interest if that data isn’t presented in an engaging form.
This is especially true if you are creating content for social media. Few people are going to read a post that is nothing but paragraph after paragraph of text or column after column of numbers. However, if you can convert that same information into an eye-catching infographic, you’re going to capitalise on one of the most important weapons in PR–human psychology.
"Few people are going to read a post that is nothing but paragraph after paragraph of text..."
The reality is that infographics and other visual media are far more likely to be viewed and shared than are alphanumeric-only posts. And that means that, with each like, comment, or share, you are building social proof, a key psychological tool designed to garner audience interest. Humans are social animals, after all, and we are most drawn to those things that attract the attention of our peers.
The mission of a good PR professional isn’t just to attract the interest of consumers, clients, or industry colleagues. They also need to appeal to the media in all its myriad forms. But, whether you’re dealing with traditional or new media, certain attributes remain the same. Media venues have precious little time and precious few resources to spare.
"Media venues have precious little time and precious few resources to spare."
That means that if you want to win media interest, your content has to be concise but comprehensive, erudite but eye-catching. Images, infographics, and even brief explainer videos can be an ideal way to capture media interest. And this can ensure that your messages, whether it be company blog content or a press briefing or other informational materials, get the media attention they deserve.
As a PR professional, your mission is to communicate a lot of important information in a wide variety of forms to a wide variety of audiences. Traditionally, these communications have been largely text-based.
However, now more than ever, it’s through data visualisation that you’re going to see the best results. By converting large volumes of complex data into images, charts, graphs, infographics, and videos, you are going to enhance your communications.
This approach also optimises your ability to share information in an engaging and understanding way. Likewise, unleashing the power of data visualisation supports the creation of shareable social media content while at the same time capturing the interest of traditional and new media pros.
It's a win-win strategy, no matter how you look at it.
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