Just to be clear, we’re not about to tell you how to have better conversations with umbrellas. They’re not renowned for being particularly chatty at the best of times. What they’re like at the worst of times, Lord only knows.

And we’re not about to tell you how to improve your marriage proposals by using an umbrella either, although that would be quite interesting and perhaps the subject of a future blog post. No. What we mean is something else entirely.

Let me explain…

Umbrellas are handy things. Lovely things. They keep us dry – or cool under the sun – and help us take off in high wind or poke other pedestrians in the eye when we’re hunched beneath them.

But – and here comes the surprise – they can also make your social media and cornerstone content stand out.

It’s true. We used one, well, three actually, on a blog post.

And here’s what happened…

I wrote a blog article about the art of resilience and asked Daisy, one of our designers, to create some illustrations for it.

Because one of the points in the article mentioned how hard it can be hard to visualise concepts around mental health and wellbeing, I thought having some illustrations might help overcome that barrier.

One of those illustrations featured someone holding an umbrella over a friend. This was a way of portraying the fact that if you’re supporting someone through a tough time, and don’t know what to say to them, maybe you don’t have to say anything. Just being there, by their side, can help.

Those illustrations made the article richer and more interesting and more engaging. But the blog’s headline was lost among the list of others in our blog menu. It didn’t stand out. So I went back to Daisy and asked her to create a GIF that I could use as the featured image. Something that would help draw attention to it and make it more attractive to read. So that’s what she did. And…

It worked.

Together with the words and illustrations, the animated GIF increased our Average Time on Page from 01:58 to 03:22. If we’ve done our maths correctly, that’s about a 200% increase. Corrections on a postcard please.

Not bad for three umbrellas.

See for yourself – have a look at our blog menu – and tell us which article you think stands out the most.

And if you’d like to talk about how animated GIFs would help your content stand out and improve your engagement, have a butcher at our animated GIFs page.