Visual storytelling can be a powerful medium for conveying specific messages, persuading an audience, or even relaying basic data. Through a combination of photos, illustrations, and videos, you can effectively present new ideas and make them more impactful.
But how do you make your visual storytelling more persuasive?
Use the Right Presentation Medium
First, you need to consider your presentation medium. Your visual storytelling is going to be much more effective if it’s presented in a medium that’s conducive to your environment and your audience, and you’ll be able to optimize your images more effectively if you know how they’re going to look at the end.
Thankfully, there are no shortage of mediums you can use for visual storytelling, though some of them will require a unique approach.
With the help of digital signage software, you can display your visual storytelling elements across any number of screens throughout your workplace environment. You can pull in data in real-time and showcase it in interactive visuals, you can automatically play through a predesigned slideshow, and you can customize images and messages for each individual screen if you want. However, you’ll need to remember that this is a digital format, and if you want to tell a visual story in print, you’ll need a slightly different approach.
Cater to Your Target Audience
No matter what, your visual storytelling needs to cater to a specific target audience. The art of persuasion is not universal, nor is it completely straightforward because different people are persuaded by different means.
For some people, logic and data are everything; they carefully calculate all their decisions and want to know all the objective information before proceeding. For others, emotion and intuition are driving factors; if the numbers don’t persuade them, they might be moved by a compelling personal story.
Accordingly, it’s important to spend time getting to know your target audience and how they think – as well as how they’re effectively persuaded. With this understanding, you’ll be in a much better position to produce a visual narrative that your audience finds compelling.
Show Off Your Data
Data is remarkably effective for persuasion in visual storytelling, so make sure you show it off. With the help of interactive charts, graphs, and other visual indicators, you can make the numbers leap off the screen – and make a compelling case for whatever you’re arguing.
For example, if you’re trying to convince a marketing director that a specific strategy is working especially well, you can show them a comparative bar graph that shows off just how much higher this return on investment (ROI) is when compared to other strategies. The raw data is plenty persuasive to some, but others need to see it in a visual context to truly comprehend it.
Include Interactive Options When You Can
Whenever possible, include interactive options. People are much more engaged with visual content when they have the ability to interact with it, even if this interaction is simple, like seeing background visual elements move when scrolling down a webpage. Not all visual mediums are going to support interactive elements, and that’s okay; just try to include them where you can.
Show, Don’t Tell
“Show, don’t tell” is a commonly touted rule for creative writing. The basic idea is this: it’s much more powerful and persuasive to demonstrate your ideas, rather than simply dictating them. For example, instead of saying “Jack was very nervous,” you can say, “Jack’s hands were trembling.” Instead of simply naming the emotion, you’re describing behavior that allows readers to understand what the emotion is.
You can do something similar in your visual storytelling. Instead of bragging about how beautiful your architecture is, show elegant photographs of it. Instead of explaining why your approach to sales is better, present a graph that proves its value.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks
Finally, don’t be afraid to take risks. Too often, visual storytellers simply try to replicate elements of visual storytelling they’ve seen in the past, or they try to stick with a reliable formula to minimize the possibility of failure.
But if you want your messages to stand out, and if you want to advance your abilities, you need to be prepared to experiment and take calculated risks in your presentations regularly.
Visual storytelling is a complex art, and one that benefits from ongoing refinement. If you want to make your digital signs, brochures, marketing materials, and internal communications much more persuasive, all you have to do is take a close look at your past efforts, analyze them, and optimize them for future iterations.
With enough time and effort, you can eventually master the art of persuasion in this field.