Visual Storytelling Essentials

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words.

That’s like a ready-made call to action for visual storytelling.

But too often communicators default to text when an image, video, or GIF could be a much more effective way to engage our audiences.

We’re not saying writing isn’t important. It definitely is!!!

But maybe a few of us so-called written-word purists need to break a few tried and true habits.

And try to figure out how to add some pizzazz to the stories we create by integrating multimedia.

Because in a mobile-first world, visual storytelling is key.

And that goes way beyond adding a postage stamp of a photo to a text-laden PowerPoint slide.

Visual Storytelling Essentials: What Communicators Need to Know

Want to learn how to become a better visual storyteller?

Mark your calendars for our next #SpinSucksAMA on Tuesday, March 17, at Noon ET, featuring Serena Ehrlich, communications strategist, social media bon vivant, and all-round visualizer.

Not only that, Serena’s been on social media long enough to snag the Twitter handle @serena—and she doesn’t play professional tennis!

Our Serena will offer visual storytelling strategies, tips, tools, and examples in an interactive webinar that’s guaranteed to be informative, entertaining, and lively!

And of course, she’ll answer any questions you may have!

Meet Serena Ehrlich

Serena Ehrlich is a marketing, social media, public relations, and investor relations expert based in Los Angeles, California.

She’s also the Director of Product Marketing at Business Wire.

We’ve known Serena for a while. She’s a natural visual storyteller, and one of the best presenters around.

If you get a chance to attend one of her talks at a conference or event, mark it as a must-see.

Serena has a wonderful sense of humor and is always open to new ideas and sharing her knowledge.

She stays on top of the latest trends in social and digital media by testing things out and figuring out what works and why.

I had the honor of filling in for her at a social media event in Toronto which she couldn’t attend at the last minute.

But that’s a ‘visual’ story for another time!

Communicators Need Strong Visual Storytelling Skills

Here’s a sampling of what you’ll hear Serena talk about on the next #SpinSucksAMA around why visual storytelling skills are so important for communicators.


The reality is, visual fluency is skyrocketing. People speak in emoji, they tell stories in visuals, they speak volumes with a single photo.

Mobile devices and social networks have created a visual-first mentality. Almost every publication and media outlet uses visuals to drive home a point. And yet a majority of today’s news releases, the launch mechanisms for larger marketing programs, are text-only.  

Today’s communicators need to become as visually fluent as the platforms and readers they want to attract. This is not about replacing text, but supplementing it, allowing readers to pick and choose the mediums and formats they want to engage with.

Give the reader the choice to learn in their language of preference and you’ll see much higher program results.

Where Do We Begin?

We asked Serena to share her top three tips on how to get started with visual storytelling and here’s what she said:

    1. Learn storytelling. Practice by finding past launches and announcements and write out the program’s story arc. What was the information you wanted to share? How about your messages? What was your industry like before your launch? How did your launch change after you did it? Now replace the text in your story arc with visuals. This process is an easy way to see the stories in your news.

    2. Use tools! When you start visual storytelling, the first thing you’ll notice is you probably don’t have the right assets. The visual tool landscape is enormous. From photo editing tools like Canva to creating videos from text documents with Lumen5, there are a lot of inexpensive ways to create new content.

    3. Name your assets well! Many people forget that multimedia assets appear in search engines. So name your visuals something useful to increase discoverabillity in search.

#SpinSucksAMA on Visual Storytelling—How to Sign Up

If you want to learn how to add creative images, GIFs, videos, and emoji to your communications skillset and become a visual storytelling rockstar, join us for our next #SpinSucksAMA.

But in order to take part, you need to be a member of our free Spin Sucks community.

That’s where you you’ll be able to RSVP for the AMA, find out more details, and submit your questions for Serena Ehrlich.

So what are you waiting for?

We can already picture you there!

Martin Waxman

Martin Waxman, MCM, APR, is a senior advisor to Spin Sucks and runs a consultancy, Martin Waxman Communications. He leads digital and social media training workshops, conducts AI research, and is a LinkedIn Learning author and one of the hosts of the Inside PR podcast. Martin teaches social media at McMaster University, the Schulich School of Business, Seneca College, and the UToronto SCS and regularly speaks at conferences and events across North America.

View all posts by Martin Waxman