Tale of the Tape: Make Pictures Matter.

If pictures tell a thousand words, what do a thousand words tell?  If well written and compelling, they tell a good story.  Just as revising and editing is a painful but critical process in storytelling, as important is choosing pictures that matter, ones that truly enrich your narrative, illustrate your main point, suck the reader into wanting the rich, deep insight that you’ve supplied with your words.

Why are these Cute Cats Here?

I like to keep up with the latest thinking about measuring results in social media and read numerous blog posts on the topic. The majority offer truly useful information, like this one from Web Worker Daily calling for a new paradigm in measuring.  The illustration that this very smart blogger chose?  A tape measure.  Another well-done piece, from techaffect, on how to assess the value of Facebook’s ‘post quality ranking’ was illustrated with a simple yellow metal measuring tape. A third  interesting, insightful and useful piece from Brass Tack Thinking: “13 Truths About Social Media Measurement” took illustration to a new plane, by featuring a photograph of dozens of colorful measuring tapes hanging from a wall.

These illustrations don’t do these stories justice. They’re convenient and available, most likely found through a Google image or photobucket search. The challenge is that many bloggers don’t have the luxury of an art director or graphic designer to help add pictures to the mix.

Picture people surely would help.  As storytellers, we know that illustrations can and should work harder. When matching illustrations to any kind of story, be it a blog post, press release, email newsletter blast, posts on a brand’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, take a moment to consider whether or not the illustration does your story justice, or is just another cute cat.

What’s your story?  How do you match words with pictures?