February 28, 2013
Look! Up on the Web! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…supercomics!
Comics, cartoons and other methods of graphic storytelling have become the superheroes of public relations and communication. They draw your audience’s attention, increase understanding and move people to act.
Comics are especially effective at clarifying complex concepts.
We say, “I see” to mean “I understand.” Comics help readers literally see complicated ideas because comics integrate words and pictures to show stories sequentially. That’s why:
In fact, cartoons communicate information better than other forms of illustration, including stick figures, representational illustrations, symbols or photographs, according to a 1977 study by J.M. Moll at the Sheffield Centre for Rheumatic Diseases in England.
No wonder NASA uses comic books to explain the ionosphere and other aspects of space exploration. Yahoo! maps out user interface engineering in comic panels. Kelmore Investment Company produces comics to teach investors the basics of options trading, mutual funds and the New York Stock Exchange. The 9/11 Commission presented its report as a graphic novel.
Publishers are also getting in on the comics trend. In 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer used a comic strip to explain Steven Reiner’s research on how T cells fight off invading microbes. The Farrar, Straus and Giroux imprint Hill and Wang produces graphic novels to illustrate genetics and DNA.
So think about it — visually. How could you use comic strips, cartoons and other graphic storytelling approaches to compel readers to read, understand, remember and act on your organization’s messages?
Want more techniques for writing releases that reach readers? Join Ann Wylie for “Now They SEE It,” a PRSA webinar on March 12.
Ann Wylie works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with organizations that want to get the word out. To learn more about her training, consulting or writing and editing services, contact her at ann@WylieComm.com. Get free writing tips at: FreeWritingTips.wyliecomm.com. Get more than 2,000 writing tipsheets at RevUpReadership.com.
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