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Making an Effective Infographic in 2012

Over the past few months, I have been working on an infographic for one of our clients. You might be thinking, “Are infographics still effective? Why bother?” So let me take you through our thought process, from conception to implementation.

Effective Infographics
Let’s start with a little background on Infographics in 2012.

  • Many people claim infographics have been ‘over cooked’, that they are not exciting anymore. Challenge this with creative thinking! See what the New York Times recently did on the the Men’s Olympic 100m Event.
  • Matt Cutts recently spoke about Google’s view on infographics and links – this does not mean infographics don’t or won’t work, but be careful with link embeds and use of anchor text.
  • People are scared of Google! This means that many people will now give up on infographics based on what Matt Cutts said, this is why you shouldn’t. Build something great as the competition are going to disappear and your chances of standing out will be greater than ever.

Anyway, let’s carry on with my experience..

1. Goals


My core goal was to increase site exposure. I decided to do this by creating something interesting and valuable to both existing and potential site users as well as relevant industry bloggers, news sites etc. Securing links, citations and social shares are a nice add-on to help with exposure and increase online visibility.

I had previously produced an infographic for another client and received mixed results. While I didn’t receive the number of links and shares I had hoped for, I did receive a few high quality links that normally would have been almost impossible to secure. I decided that, this time around, with a little more experience, I would be able to increase shares and visibility, making the endeavor even more worthwhile.

2. Strategy


One of the biggest mistakes made on my previous infographic was that the subject was time sensitive. This time around I looked for a topic that would be relevant today, in 3 months, 6 months or even a year’s time. This left room for testing and for the launch date to be adjusted. Since the design was outsourced and we were relying on our client’s in house developers to add a number of features, many key elements were beyond our control when it came time scales. When coming up with your plan you need to realize that no matter your intentions, things can and will go wrong!

Focusing on your Target Audience
Together with  your strategy and goals you always need to keep your target audience in mind. This should be one of the deciding factors in determining your topic and outreach strategy. Whether it is the demographics of who will be most interested in your topic, the people you are trying to get links from or the type of social impact you want to make, audience always needs to be on your mind.

We put a lot of time into researching what we believed would resonate well with our target audience and this will probably determine how successful your campaign ends up being.

Using Social Media
Today, nothing in media can be done without taking social sites and the power of social sharing into consideration. We decided to focus on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for promotion of this infographic. Secondary targets were StumbleUpon, Pinterest and Digg + others.

To begin with (a good while before launch), we started contributing to niches related to our infographic and target audience. We started following people, interacting and helping out wherever possible.

In order to build relationship with the right people, you need to research. For example, if you are targeting people interested in cooking or recipes then you will need to find active blogs related to cooking. Once you find a suitable blog, check if the author is active on various social platforms. Assuming they are, you can’t just start following them and expect them to follow you back. You will need to read a few of their posts, explore their content and get a general idea of what interests them. Once you have an understanding of who they are you can tweet to them about one of their posts and start a real conversation

Social media is not easy and can be very time consuming, the key is build relationships with the ‘important’ people within your target niche, this way, when you share your infographic you will reach a wide audience through their shares and comments.

Tip: Interns can be great for helping you research, connect and build relationships. Big thanks to our intern Ariel for all the efforts he put in for us!

Other Ways to Secure Links, Citations and Shares
Besides social media and the natural links that you hope to secure, there are additional ways to gently push your infographic along. One of these is by contacting webmasters. Warning: do not spam people, mass email or contact sites that have no connection to your topic! In order to do this correctly, you need to take the time before the infographic launches to research websites. Find sites that will be interested in your topic, have potentially posted similar guest content in the past, and have a clear way to contact the webmaster and show some value. These types of sites won’t mind receiving your email and may actually post your content and share it with their readership. GO HARD WITH OUTREACH!

Staying Organized
It is very important to stay organized, knowing what needs to be done and by who. A project like this can stretch over many months and involve many people. Everyone should be using the same tracking methods and leave clear notes to ensure nothing is forgotten such as promotions and competitions.

Additionally, if more than one person is working on the campaign you obviously will need to know what each individual has been doing. If someone sent out emails or made phone calls to webmasters on your outreach list, then you need to know when it went out and what, if any, response was received.

We used a combination of tools to help us do this, you should check out basecamp and trello. Paddy Moogan also has a useful piece about how Buzzstream can help here.

3. Evaluation


After your infographic goes live and has run for a while it is important to have a meeting with all those who were involved to discuss and evaluate the campaign. What worked? What didn’t? What has been achieved so far and what could have been done better or differently? The Systems Life Cycle is pretty much what you should follow…


Taken from ‘The Systems Life Cycle

4. Wrapping it Up


Pretty graphics are not enough! The key to infographics is getting your hands dirty, getting creative and producing something unique, different and interesting. Don’t keep putting it off, do one, it probably won’t succeed in every way, but you’ll learn from it. Then hopefully you’ll do another and another, until you are kicking @$$ with it!

Good luck :)

Devorah Guggenheim

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