6 steps to creating an effective infographic

September 29, 2015

6 steps to creating an effective infographic

There’s no doubt that infographics are an influential element of today’s marketing landscape. They take advantage of your audience’s ability to process visual information quickly and to retain the key facts long after the words have faded.

You can use infographics to:

  • Tell a story
  • Weave in insightful data
  • Build your brand
  • Increase SEO through easy sharing
  • Increase your credibility

But before do all of those things, you have to actually create the infographic. Here are 6 steps to creating an effective infographic — so you can begin to reap the benefits.

1) Create an outline: Even though you’re going to be telling the story through visuals, graphs, and data – it is still all about telling a story. Like all good stories, it needs to flow in a way that helps your audience understand it.

Identify the key messages you want to communicate and give some thought to the sequence of how you’d like to present the data.   You’ll want to build up to your conclusion appropriately.

2) Do your research: Accurate facts, statistics and credible sources are all key to building a valuable infographic that can create buzz for you and your business. This isn’t the place to approximate or guess. Remember that the data is the core of your story. It creates the interest and is your main tool for providing insight. So don’t skimp here. Take the time to really dig deep.

Be sure you provide reference links (typically at the bottom of the infographic) to document your data sources.

3) Take time with the title: An infographic’s title is in essence a headline and deserves the same time and attention as if you were creating a print ad. If the title doesn’t grab your audience then it’s pretty tough to lure them into the content.

Advertising legend David Ogilvy knew the power of headlines, and proved time and time again that the headline determined whether an ad would get read. He rewrote his famous headline for a car ad over 100 times before being content with “At 60 miles an hour, the only thing you hear in the new Rolls Royce is the ticking of the dashboard clock …”

Be as diligent as David Ogilvy and create a headline that does the heavy lifting.

4) Paint the picture: I hate to state the obvious but what makes your infographic work is how it looks. Too many visuals, clichéd images or a lack of organization in the storytelling means that all you’re going to get is a glance.

The images you use should frame the story and the data fills in the details. At each stage of your story, use an image to anchor and explain that particular section. Be mindful of your color scheme as well. Choose a palate that will make the data pop, and make your infographic stand out in the sea of competitors.

5) Draw conclusions: A good infographic doesn’t just present facts. It combines those facts, trends and other information to help people see the connections. In a world where we are overrun with information, we’re still starving for meaning. Your infographic should illuminate and connect the dots for the audience.

Think of your infographic as a snapshot that helps someone get the big picture and then, if they want to, they can drill down into your specific data and even check out your sources for the nitty-gritty if they want to.

6) Finish right: Just a few things to make sure you keep in mind. Always include your own URL on the infographic so you get credit for creating it. Be sure to make it easy to share on all the social networks and if you can, offer embed codes so people can post it on their own websites and blogs.

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Best practices for creating infographics

September 14, 2015

best practices for creating infographicsWhether you know what they’re called or not, we all consume infographics every day but when it comes to using them to market your own business — what are the best practices for creating infographics?

Most people are a combination of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners and about 65% of us are mainly visual learners. Visual learners easily pick up information with their eyes. Visual learners often associate the things they learn with the images they saw when they first learned the material.

Why are so many of us visual by nature? The brain processes visual information more quickly than text and it retains more of that information. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.

Back in the good old days of marketing, we used to (and really still do) talk about white space and using fewer words and more graphs, charts and pictures to tell a story. So it shouldn’t surprise any of us that infographics are here to stay.

Infographics take full advantage of the brain’s power to absorb images, which allows the viewer to capitalize on the advantages visuals can have over text.

I’m sure you’ve seen one but just in case — an infographic is a visual representation of information, data and knowledge that is intended to quickly and clearly communicate complex data. It might include maps, charts, diagrams, lists or graphs and usually is a combination of these.

They’re basically a very visually interesting way to tell a story conveying accurate information and data but in a visual form that allows us to get the gist of the message quickly. Think of them as a snapshot of complex data that is easy to read and easy to share in a short amount of time.

They also generate lots of web traffic and for many companies have become valuable marketing tools.

There are many elements to a creative, successful, attention-grabbing infographic. They’re essentially stories containing accurate content, controllable design, easy integration and versatility – all advantages from which marketers can benefit.

Thinking about infusing infographics into your marketing? Here are some things to keep in mind:

Tell A Story: An infographic conveys a story or message as a visual sequence. The creative use of graphics helps people to understand the message or story being delivered and increases retention.

Incorporate Insightful Data: A key element of most infographics is statistical data. Viewers are drawn to statistics so make sure they’re accurate. A single inaccurate statistic will damage the credibility of the entire piece and worse — your company.

A Brand Builder: Infographics are great for creating brand awareness, so be sure it accurately reflects your brand. Your graphics should inviting viewers to investigate your website or company a little more. Be sure you have content to satisfy their interest when they get to your website.

Another benefit of this tool is brand recall. Readers of the infographic are not only more aware of your brand but will also recall it better, which may help influence decision-maker purchase consideration. Research shows that the action of sharing increases brand recall by 63%.

Make It Easy to Share: These visual tools are easily shared on websites, blogs and social networks. Make sure you give people a way to embed your infographic to generate more traffic, views and shares. A strong effort will earn your site a lot of inbound links and give you a big SEO boost.

Credibility: Through the use of accurate data, statistics, insights and references, your infographic builds credibility and demonstrates your expertise in a very unique way. It not only uses a variety of statistics and facts to reduce a complex data set to a manageable and eye catching visual representation – but it also enhances your reputation as a thought leader.

As you begin (or continue) to work on using visuals in your marketing efforts be sure you bake in these best practices for creating infographics so you maximize the incredible benefits of this communications tool.  For some more examples — check out these 11 infographics on what makes a good infographic!

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Are you leveraging visual content?

September 8, 2015

visual contentIf any of the trend reports from the last five years are accurate — visual content should be a critical element in your marketing and content strategy.

If’ve you’ve master this — you’re in the minority.  While a picture may be worth a thousand words, marketers have not turned a strategic lens on optimizing the return from their visual media content investments.  While 65% of senior marketing executives believe visual assets are core to how their brand story is communicated, only 27% have the ability to aggregate, organize and manage these assets across marketing and non-marketing teams—including those outside of the organization.

A new study from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council—entitled “From Content to Creativity: The Role of Visual Media in Impactful Brand Storytelling”—reveals that marketers believe visual assets, including photography, illustrations, infographics and videos, are core to customer engagement and will increase in usage in the coming year. Video will most dramatically increase in importance in the near future, according to 79 percent of senior marketers. Infographics (60 percent), photographs (50 percent), and illustrations (41 percent) will also increase in usage. The 17-page strategic white paper is available for download today by clicking here.

Conducted in partnership with Libris, a PhotoShelter business unit, the study reveals that internal silos, disconnected content development strategies and a vast list of other marketing priorities have prevented visual assets from being fully leveraged across the organization.

“Marketers have been remiss in approaching the visual asset dialogue as part of the strategic customer experience and engagement dialogue,” said Liz Miller, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the CMO Council. “Perhaps because visual assets have long been the domain of creative or agency resources, the conversation around maximizing value across the organization has fallen off of the priority list. But as customers continue to react in meaningful ways to visual media, marketing cannot afford to stand idly by and not include visuals in the content ROI agenda.”

Consumer research shows that 40 percent of customers will respond better to visual information than plain text (Zabisco). Marketers have, in turn, shifted content production to include vast quantities of graphics, videos, photography and illustrations. Infographic production, by one estimate, increases by 1 percent every day (Zabisco). Yet according to the 177 marketing executives surveyed by the CMO Council in the second quarter of 2015, current investments in centralization of these assets do not reflect this level of priority.

The audit, conducted through the CMO Council’s Content ROI Center, tapped into the insights of 177 senior marketers, with 52 percent from B2B organizations, 18 percent from B2C companies and 30 percent from hybrid organizations selling to B2B2C. A quarter of respondents hail from organizations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue, and 41 percent hold chief marketing officer, head of marketing or senior vice president of marketing titles. Areas explored in the paper include:

  • The role of visual content in marketing and brand storytelling strategies
  • Anticipated shifts in the importance of visual content
  • Budget allocations and anticipated shifts in spend for visual content development
  • Key challenges and obstacles to maximizing ROI
  • Impact and value of visual content aggregation and consolidation

About the CMO Council

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is the only global network of executives specifically dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council’s 9,000 members control more than $450 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include more than 35,000 global executives in more than 110 countries covering multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, India and Africa. The council’s strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Mobile Relationship Marketing (MRM) Strategies Forum, LoyaltyLeaders.org, CMOCIOAlign.org, Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Digital Marketing Performance Institute, GeoBranding Center and the Brand Inspiration Center. Learn more at www.cmocouncil.org

 

About Libris

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Search versus Social – which one wins?

September 29, 2012

If you’re wondering which is more potent — search or social media — as is often my answer — it depends.

The truth of the matter is that every organization should be thinking about BOTH because they are the yin and yang for each other.  Each feeds the other side of the equation.  When you write quality content about topics that your audience cares about (social) you attract readers, shares and you earn social proof of your expertise.

That content then begins to influence search for those key words and phrases that exist within your subject area and content (Search) and before you know it, you’re impacting Google and the other search engines — becoming more findable and attracting exactly the right people to your content.

Yin. Yang. The perfect combo. This infographic, developed by MDG Advertising really makes the point.  And should be hanging in your office to remind you to go for the one two punch of social AND search.

 

(Click here to download the full-sized version)

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