The Importance of Visual Storytelling in Content Marketing


Lisa Arledge Powell

I’ll believe it when I see it.” – Your Audience, probably.

Visual storytelling has proven to be a highly-effective storytelling tool. If you’re not already, you should be incorporating visuals into your content marketing initiatives. And if you are, are you sure you’re using the right type for the right content?

Research shows that visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. Tweets with images or videos have proven to receive 150% more retweets than tweets without and live videos on average get six times as many interactions as traditional videos, according to Facebook. Conclusion: visual content is important.

But what type of visual should you use? It’s not enough to just throw a picture on a post and assume it will perform better; content marketers need to strategically determine which multimedia format will best deliver their desired results, taking into account the brand’s overarching objectives.

Be strategic and thoughtful about the multimedia you use and you’ll effectively attract your viewers’ eyes and spark meaningful engagement with your content.


Photos are a simple but effective way to enhance your story. A thoughtfully-selected photo can be a quick and easy way to give your posts some pop and add visual appeal. But make sure your image is clear and tells the story you are trying to tell. If you are trying to showcase how your CEO wowed an audience at a conference, who is the story about? It’s about the crowd. Consider a wide or panoramic shot to make it the focus of the image. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Select the most iconic image that most accurately tells your story.


Numbers can be boring. But numbers presented in a dynamic way? Now that’s fun. Graphics are a great way to liven up figures and statistics and help your audience visualize them in the context of the story. Producing a chart or graph might only take you a few minutes, but it will keep your audience engaged, break up the text and help them better understand the story. If you have statistic-heavy topic, consider combining several visual graphics into an infographic.


If you are trying to capture emotion or tell a story that progresses over time, video is king.  There is not a magic number when it comes to videos; it’s all about the impact. Videos can range from a short little blurb (think Vine… RIP), or a full length documentary or feature. The format depends entirely on what story you want to tell, who your audience is and how they will view the video (television, mobile, etc). Facebook video posts garner 135% greater organic reach than photo posts.

Consider the difference between a spot on the benefits of Chocolate Milk and another about the opioid crisis in Ohio, and notice the shift in tone.

Consider using more visuals to drive your brand messaging forward, but be strategic about it. By choosing the right visuals and presenting them in the right way, you can reach your audience more effectively and get noticed, watched, shared and remembered. 

Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, an award-winning creative agency that specializes in content-focused public relations, content marketing and national media exposure for major brands. Connect with Lisa on Twitter: @LisaArledge  Find more articles by Lisa are available on PRSA’s Content Connection.

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1 Comment

  1. Ellen Beth Levitt on at 11:52 AM

    Great post, Lisa! You are such an expert in visual storytelling. As you know, In addition to the visual elements, which are so important to grab attention and convey the right message, the way a post or story is written is also crucial to communicate effectively and maintain brand credibility. It’s a given, but I sometimes see sloppy writing accompanying a great looking post.

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