Unless you are relatively new to the Internet, you've no doubt heard about infographics. Short for "information graphics," infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge with the intention to present complex information quickly and clearly. Like video, they are heartily received and promoted by Internet users everywhere and as such, are a fantastic means of content marketing. As of the last year, they have become extremely popular with marketers who are constantly struggling to publish fresh content that both their users and Google will love. And because we are so "visual" these days, good infographics are widely shared across social media which amounts to inbound links, social signals, brand recognition and best of all, traffic!
Related: The Rise of Visual Marketing
That's the good part. The bad is that everyone is running towards this "gold rush" of marketing and in doing so, a lot of bad infographics are being produced. By bad, I mean poor ideas, inadequate research and just plain ugly designs. For many that do produce good infographics, they are ineffective in marketing them. What's a great piece of content really worth if nobody sees it? With that in mind, this post will provide some indispensable information on how to go about designing great infographics as well as provide some basic strategy for marketing them.
It All Starts With a Great Idea
Every great piece of content, whether it be an article, white paper, video, infographic or something else, has to have its origin in the quality of an idea. For starters, infographics can be time-sensitive. Obamacare, Halloween, the U.S. budget standoff, AMC's The Walking Dead - these are time-sensitive current topics that would make great infographic ideas. Infographics can also be resourceful. I once read a very interesting infographic on a rather boring subject - light bulbs! Most people would not care about all the various types of light bulbs that exist nor historical information about them. However, this infographic did a most excellent job visually "telling a story" about a dull topic. Infographics can be entertaining such as this one, or this one. Finally, infographics can be of a historical nature. The main concept is to come up with an idea that will be of interest to either a specific group of people or the populous at large.
Back It Up With Research
Unless you want to get schooled by the Internet community, make sure you have solid research. This can include historical facts, current data and/or trends, creative ideas, and original sources. When dealing with current data/trends and historical data, list your citations and sources in the bottom of the infographic. This will give credibility to you work as well as back up the information in the infographic.
Make Sure She's Pretty
A good idea is essential, but how the infographic looks is not far behind in importance. Ugly infographics only clutter up the Internet. And believe me, there are plenty of ugly infographics being published each and every day. As senior editor at Infographic Journal, I have the unfortunate dis-pleasure of seeing many of these ugly infographics. A good graphic designer will be worth every penny you pay them. Don't skimp on the design!
Once you create and publish an infographic, it's time to promote it. Unless you already have a considerable audience, you'll need to take active steps to make sure your infographic is seen and shared. A combination of social media broadcasting, blogger outreach and possibly press releases should net you a tidy ROI on your work.
Social Media: Before we get into the actual promoting and outreach techniques of marketing your content, you'll want to make sure that you have social media sharing buttons where the infographic is published. This allows your visitors an easy way to socially share your content. You can also include an "embed this" code which provides html that can be copied and pasted into another blog for example. This not only makes it easy for other people to re-post your infographic, but provides you more control over where they link back to, alt attribute text and the like. If you are using Wordpress as your blogging platform, install this Embed Code Generator plugin which makes it really simple to include an embed code in your post.
Promote your infographic to your Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn accounts. You can also post the infographic to Pinterest and Tumblr accounts. I have found both of these to be very efficacious in generating inbound links and traffic. If the infographic is really good, consider posting to StumbleUpon and utilizing their Paid Discovery advertising to get your content in front of as many eyeballs as your budget allows
Blogger Outreach: Another method of promotion is blogger outreach which is simply as the name suggests - outreach. Find blogs that are somehow related to your business model or which would be suitable environments for the topic of your infographic and invite them to host the infographic on their site. It is a win-win scenario as you are providing them free content and they are hopefully linking back to your site and giving proper credit to you as the owner of the infographic. Encourage them to write-up an original description of the infographic and not just copy textual content from your own site. You don't want a situation where duplicate content exists. You may even offer up a unique description for them to use if they are unwilling to write one themselves. Along this same technique, consider guest-blogging opportunities to re-post your infographics.
Press Releases: If the topic of your infographic is related to a current trend or news or even a resourceful piece, you may consider submitting a press release via online PR sites such as PRWeb, Marketwired and others. If you can get a local or national news organization to reference it in a story, that would be an added bonus.
Finally, submit your infographic to some of the many infographic archives that current exist. There are a lot of them! I would just advise that you include a unique description for each site you are submitting to so you do not create duplicate content across the Web. There is a list of 100+ here - http://infographicsonline.com/submit-infographics-100-infographic-submission-sites/. I'm not sure if the list is completely up to date and some of the sites on this list charge a fee. You'll have to perform due diligence to see which ones offer you the best value for your time and money.
Measure For Success
Once you begin promoting your infographic, allow 3 to 4 weeks for the promotion to mature and then measure the results. Use Google Analytics or whatever else you might be using to learn how many people actually visited the infographic. Discover where visits derived from and even what actions were taken afterwards. You can utilize backlink tools such as Moz's Open Site Explorer or Majestic SEO's Site Explorer to learn who has linked back to your infographic. Finally you'll want to see how the piece did on major social networks. You can either view the numbers in the social media sharing buttons that you hopefully have on your post or you can use a tool like feedthebot's Social Media Count Tool.
Learn what works and what doesn't and for those ideas that do work, rinse and repeat.