How Graphic Design Fits into the PR Puzzle

Graphic design and public relations are often considered two mutually exclusive professions. So, when I tell folks that I handle graphic design at our agency, they look a bit puzzled. In fact, graphic design tends to be considered more of a marketing responsibility, and this is just one example of why there are a lot of blurred lines when it comes to public relations and marketing. However, while marketers utilize graphic design to help sell a product, PR professionals incorporate graphic design to help tell a story.

Our world is rapidly evolving due to the advancement of technology, and as a result, the public relations landscape is continuously changing to accommodate new media channels and content types. Storytelling in the 21st century is becoming heavily influenced by the demand for visually appealing images, graphics and overall appearance. In order to stay relevant in this highly-saturated content world, it’s important for companies to understand how graphic design and public relations are intertwined, and how joining the two can greatly increase the impact of your strategic efforts.

Storytelling
The art of storytelling is constantly taking on new, innovative forms and in today’s world, digital storytelling is all the rage. The average human processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and with over 3 billion people using social media, stunning visual elements are more crucial than ever. Design has become its own medium for storytelling and visuals have become a staple of PR.

When telling a story, you want to create an experience for the reader in order to pull them in and engage on a deeper level, which by the way, is a PR professional’s main goal. Whether it be in a story, a pitch, or a social media post – visual components serve as an excellent form of communication. Visuals can capture a piece of the story that words sometimes cannot or tremendously enhance the message of the story when combining the two.

Take infographics as an example. Alone, you have a dozen bulleted statistics and informative messages that serve as key components to a story. But in today’s world, that’s not enough – it’s boring. Instead, incorporate that information into a beautifully crafted infographic, and boom! Audience engaged.

Don’t say it
Don’t say it.
Don’t say it.
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Credibility
The look of a company plays a significant role in the decision-making process amongst consumers, investors and talent. Graphic design serves as a remarkable tool for communicating clients’ credibility and professionalism. Companies that have aesthetically pleasing visuals and a more “professional” look are typically perceived to be more trustworthy and innovative.

In addition, maintaining cohesive visual elements throughout all aspects of the corporate identity – social media posts, annual reports, case studies, internal presentations and more – increases your client’s ability to build brand recognition among key decision makers. Successful visuals will be personalized, thought provoking and mirror company values. By integrating this puzzle piece, PR professionals can better position a client as an expert in their industry while influencing behavior and invoking change.

Convenience
Ultimately, PR pros want to help make our clients’ jobs a bit easier. At Dittoe PR, we consider ourselves an extension of each of our clients’ internal teams. Therefore, merging graphic design with already existing media relations efforts saves clients from the hassle of having to outsource for visual elements.

By manning the design elements from the start, PR teams can properly integrate visual or digital components in the initial ideation process, which will improve the execution of the strategy and maximize results. And this may be a no-brainer, but it also gives your PR agency a very nice competitive edge by optimizing your service offerings that will meet client objectives and even exceed expectations.

If your company is in dire need of eye-catching graphics, we’re just a click away from creating professionally-crafted visuals tailored to your company’s unique needs.


Shifting Skillset for PR Pros: Social Media

The public relations industry has long been built on two core skills: writing flawless content and garnering influential media coverage on behalf of a client. If you embodied both skills, and could execute them well, you were bound to be a successful PR pro.

 

But, what about today? With the evolving skillset of PR professionals, it’s more important than ever to be armed with multiple proficiencies to develop and manage successful campaigns. In addition to the core competencies of a traditional PR professional, the following social media skills are key for any PR professional looking to grow within the industry.

 

Reporting social analytics.

Sure, writing a captivating Facebook post is great, but it doesn’t carry a lot of weight if  you can’t show its audience reach. Tracking analytics allows us to identify what’s working and what could use some changes. If an Instagram post gets 30 more likes than usual, we need to ask ourselves why, review and analyze the metrics, and carry key facets of that post into future social media content. Whether it’s through paid or free reporting services, professionals should be tracking impressions, engagements, reach and more to better understand social performance.

 

Social advertising.

Public relations often intersects with advertising, traditional and social. It’s common to facilitate or provide recommendations for advertising requests. According to the latest CMO survey, social media advertising budgets are predicted to increase by 32 percent in 2018 and almost double by 2023. Understanding basic terminology and vocabulary is easy with simple resources searches online, but to truly become well-versed in the space, you may consider taking an academic course on social advertising.

 

Basic graphic design.

Crafting social media messages is imperative, but so is creating the right image to go along with it! Graphics are a great asset to use text, photos and elements that can make your social post stand out. Although the most seasoned graphic designers use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, it’s not necessary for all public relations professionals. Canva, a free website with a “drag-and-drop” format, is an easy tool for beginners. Let your social images stand out, not blend in.

 

As the public relations industry continues to evolve, its professionals should too. Take time to gain a basic understanding of traditional and new-age PR tactics, and you (and your clients) will be in good hands.

 

Think your business could benefit from social media and reporting metrics? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com, or request a consultation today.