Content Marketing – How to Use Images for Nonprofit Success

It's been over 20 years, but I think when one hears "Image is Everything" they almost always think of the Canon camera advertising campaign featuring Andre Agassi from the early 90's. The ad agency got it right, image is one of the most powerful communicators we can employ when working to engage our audience and demonstrate our impact in the community. I just don't think they ever thought about how right they were. With so many social media sites that focus on pictures and videos, posts these days just don't seem to attract much attention without a picture.

When most people think about content marketing, generally the first thing that comes to mind are words. How can we use language to best describe what it is we do, how we do it, and why it is important?  However, in communicating to your audience, it is essential to understand that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual and images are processed 60,000 times faster than text.  So in a world where we are inundated with information and where you have virtually only a few seconds to capture someone's attention, what you show is just as important as what you say. 

Fake and Forgettable40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text. But it's not just a case of any picture is better than no picture.  You need to select photos that bolster your story. Ask yourself, what images help to convey the message I'm trying to deliver?  When sorting through pictures to tell your story, remember they can be authentic and memorable, or fake and forgettable. Resource Media's Visual Storytelling Guide lists eight elements to consider when using photos for any of your marketing activities. Here are what I consider the top four:

  1. Match your images with your message. The picture you select should help to tell your story, or to further an impression you are trying to make. 
  2. Use genuine, rather than generic photos. It's so easy to take photos today and the quality is quite good.  When you take photos, have an idea of the story, or message you are trying to develop and you'll start seeing that in your pictures.
  3. People relate to people in photos.  Unless there is something really significant about your office space, or the building that houses your programs, no one is going to care.  What they care about are the lives of the people your work effects and they want to see them, not some building.
  4. Pair your images with words. Add a caption that further illustrates your point, or pulls together your copy and your story.

Visuals evoke emotion and get people to take action. Just understanding that pictures are important is a step in the right direction, but you need to be purposeful in how you use them.  Pretty pictures are just that; a beautiful sunset may be enjoyable to look at, but it's not going to help get a human services organization more donations.  Remember that our brains are still wired to assess situations immediately.  The first thing we see is typically the most important. So remember that first impressions are lasting impressions and take care in selecting the first image a person sees through all your touch points like your website or a brochure.

Check out the team at Questus Strategies. There is expertise in graphic arts, photography, and video production that can help sharpen your message; call 720-638-0909720-638-0909 to see how you can benefit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *