Content is about so much more than words on a page – pictures, graphics and video draw in time-poor readers and encourage them to share. Amy Wilson says visual explainers can be far more readable, memorable and useful than words.
If you are looking at content for your own platforms, our message this month is to think like a newspaper or magazine editor. And this article on European energy security and Russia, published by The Economist earlier this year, is incredibly enlightening and useful in a number of ways.
There is a comprehensive analysis of the Russia-Ukraine-EU gas supply conundrum in the text, but you almost don’t need to read it because there are five really great graphics: a map of all the gas pipelines from Russia into Europe; a chart showing what percentage of each European country’s gas supply comes from Russia; a comparison of how much gas is produced by each region of the world, and where liquefied gas is shipped from and to; a second map showing which European countries have shale gas reserves and which countries allow or have banned exploration; and finally a breakdown of what the EU uses gas for, ie heating, electricity production and industrial use.
Through these we see the full story of how the Ukraine crisis affects the rest of Europe, how important Russian gas is and to which countries, and what alternative gas sources might be out there.
As a company operating in the energy business or working for clients in the industry, you have access to this kind of useful information, which translates nicely into straightforward visual explainers – maps, graphs and flow charts. They can be presented in a neutral way, if your business does not want to enter the politics of energy security, and your graphic may well be the thing that makes a reader say “Now I understand” – and share it with everyone they know.