A couple of years ago, I began researching the importance of visual images in communication. A report in 2015 said:

“…marketers who are leveraging visual content are seeing significant increases in their blog traffic, social media engagement, visitor-to-lead conversion rates and inbound customer acquisition results.”

“Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.”

“70% of marketers plan to increase their use of original visual assets in 2015”

“Over the last 12 months almost every major social network, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have increased the prominence and importance of visual content. Keeping pace with this trend, several research studies conducted over the course of 2014 point to the rather amazing effectiveness of visual content for social media.” http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy

Conclusions of a 2017 report indicate that opinions about the importance of visual images in marketing has continued to find favor Here

General Visual Content Statistics

2) 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, ahead of blogs (68%) and videos (60%).  (Source)

3) When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.  (Source)

The Uncle Sam poster [above] is probably one of the best marketing efforts of all time, and the visual images and colors on that poster are what caused its success. The image of Uncle Sam is what catches your eye and draws the viewer in. I have an experiment for you. How impressed are you with the following comment:

I Want You

I dare to say that the previous sentence is not very impressive to most people.

Let’s try it again. Let’s try it in bold:

I Want You

That is still fairly unimpressive. Let’s try the words as a quote:

I Want You

Well, at least I see the words now. The words are separated from the rest of the text. Let’s try bolding the words and then putting them in a quote

I Want You 

Now, let’s see how much better the impact becomes with the addition of color and the increasing of the font size:


With every added action on the words, we make them more noticeable, but nothing that we do to the words alone will make the same impact as the poster does once the image of Uncle Sam is added.

Dr. Lynell Burmark said the following about the importance of images:

“Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.” Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D. Associate at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development and writer of several books and papers on visual literacy, said, “…unless our words, concepts, ideas are hooked onto an image, they will go in one ear, sail through the brain, and go out the other ear.”

Whoever controls the media—the images—controls the culture. – Alan Ginsberg

Considering that Alan  Ginsberg was a poet and an author and not a photographer or visual artist, this admission from him speaks volumes. 

The Uncle Sam poster was released in 1916, and its purpose was to motivate Americans to support the war effort. That poster is still powerful today–100 years later–and its importance does not lie in the words that it provides. The power lies within the image.

I have completed graduate work in several areas. Because I was essentially paid to get my MA in English, I earned that master’s degree first. As I sat before the graduate committee to earn my second master’s degree in visual art, a professor said to me, “You already have one master’s degree, why do you want another?”

My quick and simple reply was [and still is]: “Because A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words.”

Image result for songs of innocence publication date

I penned my first master’s thesis about William Blake who both wrote and illustrated his writing almost 250 years ago, and I am committed to my belief that images energize and draw interest to the written word. William Blake was not a marketer. He was a writer, and yet he realized the value of visual images in communicating through his writing.

Most of the people who read this post will be bloggers, and I heartily recommend the use of visual images in blogging, but I am also convinced of the importance of visual images in novels and other books. In my opinion, pictures are the best way to bring your words to life. Because of the hurried pace of life in the 21st Century, many people will never approach your writing at all–unless your writing is enhanced by images.

©Jacki Kellum July 22, 2017