The digital age has ushered in an era of instant, constant and effective communication. We can now speak directly with potential customers – and personalize the experience. We can track engagement in real-time and adjust on the fly. We can learn what our audience desires, and design our products and services to meet their needs.
Existing and emerging technology has completely changed the game for business. Gone are the days of small focus groups, guessing games, and assumptions based on conventional wisdom. Instant communication and the free exchange of information have removed barriers of geography, time, and access. Marketing has become, in a sense, weaponized.
But as a wise man once said, every silver lining has a touch of gray. The democratization of information and access has resulted in crowding – severe crowding. Every person on earth with an internet connection is constantly bombarded by information from every direction, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even with the power to deliver highly-personalized content, marketers must still fight for eye-balls.
The digital age has also created another roadblock for marketers – content fatigue. With a constant bombardment of information, the modern consumer has developed an extremely short attention span.
Successfully engaging a potential customer can be a herculean task. People view content and decide whether it is worth further exploring in the blink of an eye. In response, marketing has evolved into a heavily-visual approach. Graphics, images, and video are now the dominant form of content in digital marketing.
Visuals allow the audience to comprehend information in a single snapshot in a brief amount of time. Visuals are also appealing to eye and mind, and entice viewers to take a closer look. But most visuals are also limited in what they can convey. A single picture of a product, service, or idea can’t convey its depth – and more often than not, can’t convey how it differentiates from others in the marketplace. Enter the infographic.
What Are Infographics?
Infographics are content images that explain a fully-formed idea in a single image. They can simplify complex concepts, and turn something mundane into something exciting. Infographics can communicate everything from a history of a product to important data to differentiation.
They are cost effective – and highly effective. Of course, simply creating an infographic won’t ensure that you reach your audience. Just about every marketer has the infographic in their quiver. Just like any other form of content marketing, the infographic must stand out from other infographics in the space. The following tactics will help you get the most out of your infographics.
Create Engaging Content
Pretty pictures are nice, but if the content of your infographic isn’t interesting, your audience won’t engage with it. Have something important or interesting to say before you wrap it up in an attractive package.
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You will likely have some level of data on your audience, including the type of content that interests them. Start there, then extrapolate out until you discover an original idea that educates and delights your audience. If your audience is car buyers, for instance, an infographic that shows customer review trends of a certain model over time may be something your audience is interested in.
If your audience is movie buffs, an infographic showing the release date of the major summer blockbusters might be of interest. Originality is key. Show your audience something they’ve never seen before – but something you know they’ll love.
Develop Designs That Stand Out
In a visual medium, it all starts with design. When your audience is scrolling through social media feeds or answering their daily emails, your infographic must catch their eye or it will go unnoticed or deleted.
Hiring a talented graphic designer is the first step to making your infographic stand out. Work with your designer to ensure he or she understands the information you are trying to convey, and let them work their visual magic.
Infographics must walk a fine line between too much and too little information. Too much information results in visual “noise” and too little information may result in a failure to engage – or a failure to entice your audience to learn more about your product or service.
When designing your infographic, try to use a color pallet that makes your content stand outand represents your brand. If your content is memorable, you want it to be associated with your brand in the minds of your audience.
Don’t Forget To Promote It
Simply creating an infographic and releasing it out into the wild is not enough. Without promotion, you will not get the engagement you desire, and will have wasted your time. If your infographic is good enough to be discovered by thousands without any promotion, congratulations – you’re a wizard.
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Promotion is incredibly important for any type of content marketing – especially infographics. There are various ways, and various channels to promote your infographic.
A Picture is Worth 1000 Words
An infographic is a great way to communicate something that would otherwise require lots and lots of copy to explain. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon words altogether. Writing copy to promote your infographic can help in a variety of ways.
It can serve to further explain its content, it can help your social media network share the infographic – thus extrapolating its reach – and it can explain your reasoning beyond an image. Think of the infographic as a free sample at your local food store, and the supporting copy as the full product. Give your audience a taste, then offer them a full meal.
No matter how great the content of your infographic is, it won’t matter unless your audience sees it. Posting your infographic on your website or social media may not be enough. Use every delivery system at your disposal to ensure that your content gets seen by as many people as possible.
Infographics should be disseminated through email, social media (including LinkedIn), websites, blogs, etc. If you already have an inbound marketing program, an infographic is a great piece of content to share with your audience.
On social media, do more than simply push out the content – ask your audience to share it. The social media influencers in your network can help spread your infographic far and wide, exposing it to an audience that would never have seen it otherwise. You can’t force it, but if your infographic content is relevant and useful, it will find its way into a larger audience with a little effort on your part.
Your own networks – be they social or email-based – are limited by definition, regardless of how large they are. But if the content of your infographic is engaging enough, you may be able to find a larger audience through media outlets.
Like businesses, media outlets are always looking for relevant content to share. Do some research into media outlets that specialize in the type of content featured in your infographic, then pitch it to them for potential publication. When pitching a media outlet, be sure to give them reasons why their audience would benefit from your information.
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Show them how you can help improve the experience of their audience, and in turn, help them become more credible and interesting to that audience. Make yourself (or someone from your company) available to comment on the information in your infographic and explain it to a wider audience. This will not only expand your audience, but also help build your company’s image as a subject matter expert in your field.
Break it up!
If your infographic features in-depth content, you can break it up into smaller bits of information – and smaller “mini” graphics. By breaking down your infographic into smaller chunks, you will improve comprehension of its content for your audience, extend its life by repurposing it in different ways, and reinforce its importance.
The individual pieces of your visual content can live separate lives on different platforms and mediums. Depending on how complex your content is, you could even drip out individual pieces one at a time through an email or inbound marketing campaign. Before you break up your content, however, make sure that it makes sense. Breaking a single bar graph into 5 individual graphics is probably not the best way to make your infographic digestible to a larger audience.
Infographics are quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of content in digital marketing. They are easily digestible and inherently shareable. But like any other piece on content, they can be crowded up by the sheer volume of information that consumers are exposed to on a daily basis.
Standing out from the crowd is the most important consideration you can make when designing your infographic. You will want to spend considerable time and effort to ensure your infographic hits the mark in a way no one else’s does. Spend some time researching what content is already in the market in your space. Find your niche, then take your time developing something that will be relevant, engaging and ultimately – successful.