As a copywriter, you know that one of the most important things you can do for your work is to find the right words. Words can help you explain your vision, support your claims, and, in some cases, even sell your product or service. But sometimes, even the best words don’t do the trick. Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Maybe even more.
So what do you do when you run out of words? Do you resort to using an image of a hand holding a piece of paper with “help” written on it in big red letters? Do you find an emoji that perfectly fits your purpose? Or do you pull out your smartphone and find the perfect piece of text that will convey the essence of your message in just a few words?
The answer is simple. When you’re running out of words, you find a picture that better explains your vision or the essence of your message, and you use the image as text. This is commonly known as a visual aid or a visual representation.
Why might you want to use a visual representation of something instead of just writing about it? Let’s say you’re writing a blog post about the importance of hydration to your health. You could certainly write about how drinking plenty of water improves your skin, your mental state, and your energy levels. But a picture of a sweaty face surrounded by blurry letters will likely prove less effective than a simple, yet effective, “drinking plenty of water.”
If you’re wondering how you could use visual aids in your own copywriting, check out our guide.
How Do You Feel About Using Visual Representations In Your Work?
On the one hand, visuals in general are quite helpful. We often rely on them to get our point across. When reading a blog post or a web page, we often skim over the text because we know that there will be an image or a video linked to support what the author is saying. Skiming over the text isn’t always a positive thing. Sometimes, it can even be quite frustrating. What’s more, in some cases, the text isn’t even that useful. For example, when you’re reading something on the New York Times website, the headline usually provides the gist of the story, and any extra information can be found in the first few paragraphs. Those few paragraphs might not even be that detailed or filled with useful information. In that case, having an image available, especially one that’s relevant to the topic at hand, can be a great advantage.
On the other hand, not all visuals are created equal. Sometimes, a photo can work like a charm. But in other cases, a drawing, a cartoon, or a simple photo of a hand holding a letter might be more effective than a complicated infographic or a photo of a brick wall with the text “creative writing” written on it in big, red letters. Why? It’s all about the context. What’s the overall theme of the piece, the type of content, and the target audience?
If you’re writing about, say, fashion, a fashion-related infographic probably won’t provide that much value. But if you’re writing about nutrition, a graphic showing the different types of food might be more effective. Of course, this depends on your personal opinion and the specific situation you’re in. What’s important is that you should always have a back-up plan in case the text won’t do the job. Otherwise, you could end up with a boring, word-for-word copy that no one will pay attention to. Or, you could end up with a tweet that no one will ever read.
At the end of the day, it’s all about having options. Always have a plan B, C, and D just in case. The more options you have, the better. Sometimes, the best option is no option at all. Sometimes, you need a bit of everything, and you need to be able to pull off the unexpected to stay fresh. In those cases, having a few different tools in your back pocket can be quite useful. It might not be the best option in every case, but at least it’s something new to think about.
The Advantages Of Using Visual Representations In Your Work
When you run out of words, a clear and concise picture can help save the day. Remember: a picture is worth a thousand words. If you have a visual aid that perfectly represents your message, you don’t have to worry about running out of words because the image will speak for you. In that case, you might as well use the image as is because it will certainly be more effective than any of your lame attempts at describing something in text alone. In most cases, a picture will certainly be easier to understand than a bunch of text bogging down the reader. Sometimes, you can go a bit overboard with visual aids and make your text almost unreadable. Sometimes, less is more. In those cases, a simple picture or a graphic can be quite effective at keeping the reader interested and engaged.
As a copywriter, you might know that there are certain words (like “creative” or “innovative”) that, when used in isolation, don’t always have the same effect as when used in a sentence. Omitting some of the context can sometimes lead to misinterpretation or even unintended consequences. Using visual aids when writing can help provide the necessary context. In some cases, you might want to use specific words to describe the content you’re trying to communicate. For example, if you’re writing about fashion and you want to emphasize the style or fashion-related elements in the piece, you could use words like “stylish” or “on-point” to describe your writing and the content you’re providing. Or, if you want to write about creative writing and you plan on using this word several times in the piece, it might be best to use a visual aid to grab the reader’s attention and ensure that they understand what you mean. If you don’t want to use the word “creative” in your writing, but you need to in order to describe the content you’re writing about, using a graphic that represents creativity might not be the best idea. But in cases like these, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of choosing the right word, but you have the option of choosing the right picture. If you’re in a bit of a time crunch and don’t have the luxury of choosing the right word, then using a visual aid might be the next best thing. At the very least, it’s something new to think about.
Where Do You Plan On Using Visual Aids In Your Work?
As already mentioned, when you run out of words, a picture can help. Depending on the context of your writing and the type of content you’re providing, there are several places where you might want to use a visual aid. Here are a few examples.