Some were amazing, some were ok, but the majority were just meh.
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Even though not all of them were created equal, there’s no way to deny that they increased engagement, generated leads, and secured sales for the people who were able to take advantage of the infographic gold rush.
Now, years later, there’s no denying the fact that infographics can still get the job done. What’s changed is that you have to bring you’re A-Game or you’ll be disappointed in the results.
Stick with me because we’re going to walk through what goes into an engaging infographic, how to promote it for maximum effect, the best way to use it to generate leads, and most importantly increase your brands reach and sales.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of creating killer business infographics, let’s look at some of the mind-blowing facts associated with visual content.
Now that you’re up to speed on why business infographics are the best investment in 2016 and beyond, let’s look at how you can create one that sets you apart from the crowd.
Obviously, in order to create an infographic that works for you, you’ll need to choose a topic that’s timely, relevant, and interesting to your audience. I wouldn’t make an infographic about cats and you’d probably make different infographics than I would.
So how do you choose a great topic?
You need to answer a question first, “why are you making the infographic”?
The type of infographic you’d make will be different if you’re trying to generate web traffic than when you’re making one as part of your sales funnel.
Think about things in your industry that interested you when you first started, things that made you want to devote your time, energy, and resources into developing the necessary skillset to be a boss.
Turn to social media; check your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram Feeds. What’s trending, what are people talking about, what are they sharing. How can you tie that into your infographic?
When the Star Wars Movie came out in late 2015, there were dozens of articles that tied it to marketing, raising children, and everything in between.
Here’s a business infographic by The Renegade Pharmacist that has a great topic and did well because of it.
One of the simplest infographics I’ve seen in a long time is called Distance to mars http://www.distancetomars.com/ It explains how far Mars is from the Earth using a very simple format anyone can understand and relate to.
It’s also hyper-focused, the only thing they wanted to do when creating the infographic was educate you on an interesting subject. How far our planet is from the red dwarf and exactly what it would take to get there using our current technology.
We often forget that simplicity is the ultimate form of understanding. Ideas by their very nature are complex, but when you can distil them into something easy to understand using images then you’ve done something truly amazing.
What a lot of people seem to forget is that an infographic is also a piece of artwork. All artwork needs to have a distinct flow that people can pick up on both consciously and unconsciously.
This is a great infographic by Samuel Windsor that incorporates visual and mental flow. http://blog.samuel-windsor.co.uk/mens-dress-code-infographic
The Infographics you create should follow a logical path and take the viewer from one space to the next both mentally and visually without jarring interruptions. When you get the flow right, the ideas seem natural and it’s much easier for the viewer to accept the conclusions you draw.
You’re creating the infographic for your business, but more importantly, you’re creating it for your audience. They should be getting the most value from it, not you. That means you need to figure out what your target audience wants as well as what they need.
The most successful infographics ever created aren’t the ones with the most stats, they aren’t the ones with the most colors, and they aren’t the ones with the most sources. Simply put, they’re the ones that do one thing, give their target audience exactly what they want.
One of the Business infographics over at Harvard Business Review lets the average employee know exactly how much they’re getting when compared to their bosses.
Although research alone won’t do the trick, it’s an insanely important factor in getting traction going for your infographic. You simply can’t pull figures out of your head and publish it hoping no one will fact check your work.
A few things to consider:
This infographic is an amazing combination of painstaking research and breathtaking design.
You don’t want to have an infographic that looks like this.
We’ve already discussed how flow affects your infographic, the other aspect you need to take into consideration is white space.
A good piece of artwork (your infographic is art) is able to balance the different elements to make a cohesive whole. White space allows your audience to take in multiple pieces of information without being overwhelmed.
Infographics are fun, they beg to be shared, they allow you to engage with your audience, and they’re pretty cool to boot. Remember that when you’re creating your next infographics. Your lines don’t need to be the perfect width and you don’t need to spend months working on the ideal color palette.
Enjoy what you’re doing and the people who consume your content will enjoy it even more than you.
Don’t mistake simple with easy. The actual process for most things is quite simple, but the execution may be incredibly difficult. Thankfully, the processes I’m going to outline are simple and with a little effort, in the beginning, will also become easy.
Where can you be a complete unknown, create a killer article, and get thousands of people to view, comment, and share it? That’s right, forums.
Forums are God’s gift to anyone that wants to promote a great piece of content. The people you find there are already ultra-targeted to your niche which cuts down your work considerably.
There’s a secret sauce for promoting your articles in forums which we’ll get into in a moment, but first, you need to find the best ones.
You can’t just post in any forum and hope you’ll get traction, the forum itself should be hyper-targeted to what you’re creating. Here are some useful search strings to use to find the best forums for your needs.
The most common one is “keyword” + forum, this works really well in some niches and not so much in other ones. Here are a few other ones to try out.
“keyword” + powered by vBulletin (vBulletin is a piece of forum software that many of the most popular forums use for creating and managing forums).
“keyword” + Powered by Phbb
“Keyword” + powered by SMF
“Keyword” + Powered by IPB
“Keyword” + powered by PunBB
You can also type in your keyword into Google then narrow the search to forums using the search tools function.
The Biggest Boards is a resource that lists all the largest forums by category, number of members, or by number of posts. You can search using a combination of strings to get the forum that best matches your niche.
From these search strings, you should be able to compile a list of about five to ten forums that you’ll be contributing to regularly.
The more views the questions in the forums have on average, the more active the forum should be.
The number of threads a forum has is also a good indication of how active the forum is make sure you note the date of the most current threads, sometimes forums can have a slow death.
The numbers of replies to each thread is arguably the most important metric when trying to decide if the forum you’re checking out is right for you. It gives you a peek into how likely the members of the forum are to take action on the answers that have been given or the resources that have been provided.
Now, forums, like any other network of like-minded people will tolerate your self-promotion only if you’re delivering real value to the community. That means if you jump in every thread and drop you link, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
A rule of thumb is to be as helpful as possible to as many people as possible.
You can and should make a dedicated post about your business infographic, but that should be something you do as a type of aside. What you should be doing regularly is help other people with their problems relating to your area of expertise, and put your infographic in your forum signature.
Anyone that wants more information will naturally follow the link to your website and be impressed by your awesomeness.
Here’s an example scenario that could occur in a forum.
Question: I’m looking for some cheap yet powerful video editing software to make instructional videos for an Udemy course I’m putting together, any suggestions?
Answer: I know the feeling, there are a lot of open source and paid options you can use to create professional videos. It all depends on what you want. Since you’re creating an Udemy video, you probably need screen capture software. Here are my best recommendations
Snagit: a free alternative to Camtasia (made by the same people) that allows you to record high-quality screen captures.
TinyTake: Also a good tool for recording video, but you’re limited to 5 minutes in the free version
BB flash player: another free tool, it allows you to record screen captures as long as you want and the audio is pretty cool. It can have transcription errors at times so watch out.
If you want more options, you can check out this article I wrote on 15 different pieces of screen capture software.
The reason this post works so well is that you deliver immediate value and if they want more information they can just follow the link to that particular article on your website. Who knows, they may even optin.
Pinterest is a paradise built for visual content, I can talk all day about the different statistics associated with brands building a business on the back of nothing but Pinterest, but I’ll spare you that and just point you in the direction of a neat infographic.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s look at how you’re going to use Pinterest to your advantage.
If you’re just starting out with Pinterest, your pins will go largely unnoticed when you pin to your personal boards. To counteract this, you’ll need to join niche related groups.
The best way to find relevant group boards to join is to use Pin Groupie, one of the most comprehensive directories of group boards out there.
You can search for boards using the title, category, or a description. When the results come back, it’ll give you the number of collaborators, followers, average likes, and average repins you can expect. Most of the time, there’s even a description of how to become a collaborator on the group boards.
Using this strategy, you can increase the reach of your pins exponentially; just make sure you adhere to the posting guidelines of the groups you join.
Here’s how it worked for one of my posts within just a few days.
Many people have talked about Quora and how awesome it is, other people have talked about it and how much it sucks. Just like everything else, Quora is a tool that’s only as good as the person using it.
I’m not so bad at quora myself, although I’m not as active as I was before, I routinely get over a thousand views on my answers.
There is a very simple process to promoting your business infographic on quora.
I’ve slowly fallen in love with Scoop.it as a way to promote content to a larger audience. If you’re not familiar with it, Scoop.it is a content curation service that allows you to set up “topics” (kind of like boards on Pinterest).
You can fill these boards with all types of content; your own content or content from the wider web. The more content you curate, the more views your board will get, and the more visibility the content you place there will have.
That’s not the most beautiful part of Scoop.it, my favorite feature of the platform is the ability to suggest high quality content to owners of topics related to yours.
Here’s how you do it.
Use the search function at the top right of the screen.
Once the page loads, type in a keyword related to the content you want to promote, you can press enter or choose from the drop down menu, I prefer to press enter.
Once the next screen loads, you’ll see the option for posts, topics, and users; select topics.
You can now see all the topics related to your keyword, the total number of views, and how many views it has today. Another important thing to look at is when it was last updated, you don’t want to waste one of your suggestions on an account that’s no longer functioning.
Once you click on the topic, there’ll be an area for you to type in your URL and suggest content to the owner of the topic.
Type in the URL of your content and click suggest, add the necessary keywords and choose the image you want to show up as the featured one and submit. If the owner likes it, they’ll approve it and you’ll get more eyeballs on your content.
Not bad for about five minutes of work.
There are many schools of thought when it comes to submitting your infographics to directories. Mine is simple, the more eyeballs on my content the better. A fringe benefit of submitting to high traffic directories is other people republishing your infographic on their site and you getting a killer backlink.
There are literally hundreds of infographic directories out there, some are paid, but most are free.
Here is a list of 100 infographic directories you can submit your creation to.
I can’t help myself; I’m a huge fan of sending out emails to people to find out if they’d be interested in the content I’m producing based on previous actions they’ve taken.
Maybe you’re a little different than me but there’s no denying it’s an insanely effective way of promoting your content, or in this case your business infographic.
The process of doing outreach can quickly get tedious if you’re not able to develop a system. I’m going to show you how to identify the right people, get their emails, and I’ll also give you a few outreach templates.
Buzzsumo is an amazing tool that allows you to identify what type of content is performing really well, who’s sharing that content, and the channel they used to share it.
This is invaluable information when you’re building a list of people who you want to email or otherwise reach out to.
The process is quite simple, start by typing your topic or keywords into the search bar on the home screen and press go.
The results page will show you the content that performed the best, the places that the content was shared, and total amount of shares.
You can also filter the search results by language, country, domain, and type of content.
Click on the option to view sharers and you’ll land on a page like this.
With the free account, you’re limited in the number of sharers you can see, but you can upgrade to a free 14 day trial of pro. If you upgrade to pro, you’ll be able to download an excel spreadsheet that contains all the people who shared the content.
You now have your influencer list, it’s time to get their emails.
There are two ways to do this, manually and en masse. I’m not going to focus on the manual method because I’m sure you’re a busy person and need to be able to get as much work done as quickly as possible. (If you don’t have much cash to spare, then use emailhunter.co, download the browser extension, and navigate to each site individually).
The first thing I want you to do is use the Excel file you downloaded from Buzzsumo and determine the company the influencer works for or owns and the URL of the website.
Create a 2 column spreadsheet like this
Just fill out those two columns and the rest will be taken care of for you.
Wondering how? Keep Reading.
Have you heard of Mechanical Turk? It’s a platform that allows you to perform what they like to call Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs). These are minor tasks that you’d have a difficult time automating like “which color do you think looks best?” or “Which of these images portrays happiness better?” or “what is the email address of the owner of this company?”
The tasks you can request are only limited by your imagination.
I adopted this strategy from Lloyed Lobo a while back and it works like a charm. Now, to take advantage of Mechanical Turk, you need to login as a requester. Once you navigate to the homepage, you’ll land on a screen like this:
click on get started and it’ll take you to a page where you can create or manage projects. Create your first project.
After clicking create projects, you’ll land on a screen that allows you to choose the type of task you need carried out. You’re going to choose data collection.
When you after choosing data collection, you’ll be promted to enter the settings of your job, just copy the settings from the screenshot below.
Click save then continue. You’ll land on a screen that allows you to edit how the HIT looks and what information you’re requesting. You’ll need to edit the source HTML code. You can access the HTML code I use here.
Copy and paste it then save click save and preview.
Follow the prompts and you’ll be led to a screen that asks you to publish your hit. When you click publish hit, you’ll be prompted to upload a CSV file with your company names and URLs. That’s the two column spreadsheet that you created earlier. Upload it now.
Before your project goes live, you’ll need to add some cash to your account. Follow the prompts and you should be finished in a few seconds. Wait a few hours and you should have all the emails you need.
Here are two email templates you can use for email outreach.
Broken link building template
Let them know you mentioned them
So you’ve gone through all the effort to make an Infographic that checks every box for engagement, you’ve promoted it across multiple channels, and have the traffic stats to show for it. What next?
You give your audience members and other bloggers a chance to share it and even embed it on their website.
If you’re like me, you cringe when you’ve got to write lines of HTML or create CSS. That’s ok because our friends over at siege media have put together a tool that makes this effortless. Take a look at it here. Just fill out all the boxes and you’ll be fine.
A few notes.
Since infographics are very engaging, it’s only natural for you to put a call to action somewhere inside. As with any call to action, it should be the logical next step for the people that make up your audience to take.
Creating a call to action is simple.
Use contrasting colors
Incorporate action text
Publish the damn thing.
Everyone loves a really cool content upgrade that’s on topic.
For example, let’s say you own a website about baking and you just made a killer infographic about the history of cakes in America.
In that infographic, you featured 10 of the most popular cakes to ever grace our dinner tables. Usually, you have a high value optin on your site that teaches people how to bake chicken. Normally, it works pretty well.
But in this case, you’ve primed your readers about some delicious cake. Don’t you think it’ll be a better idea to give them the recipies for all 10 of the cakes you just mentioned?
That’s how a content upgrade works. You treat a topic and then give them something that further expands on it.
People say they hate them, but they work like there’s no tomorrow. Putting a popup on your websites that’s targeted to each page is a very effective strategy. A few things to consider.
Make sure your popup only shows after People say they hate them, but they work like there’s no tomorrow. Putting a popup on your websites that’s targeted to each page is a very effective strategy. A few things to consider.
Make sure your popup only shows after someone stays on your website for a reasonable amount of time at least 60 seconds. This will prove that they’re an engaged audience member.
Or you can set it to popup after a certain scroll percentage has been achieved. This will also let you know they’re an engaged audience member.
Only show your popup to the same person once every few days, no matter how much the person likes you, it’s never OK to annoy them with too many popups.
There’s no denying the fact that infograhics are amongst the best way to create an extra level of engagement with your audience. It’s the perfect merger between visual content and the written word.
On average, you can expect to see 12% or more engagement, traffic, and or leads for every infographic you publish. With a consistent strategy in place, you’ll be able to count yourself amongst some of the most successful businesses with an online presence.
Let me know about any aspects of creating and promoting the perfect business infographic that I may have missed.
If you’re in need of some amazing visual content for your business delivered every month or multiple times a month, check out our infographic growth jobs. We’ll help you take your business to exactly where you want it to be.