At the end of 2011, I spent many nights and weekends creating my first infographic titled Inbound Marketing Ecosystem. I’ve never been involved in infographic creation before and to be honest, I never actually planned to create one. One night, I came across an idea and started sketching it on paper…
Now that the Inbound Marketing Ecosystem has gotten a decent amount of re-posts and inbound links, and can be considered “a success,” I’d like to summarize what has ultimately worked, and what could have been improved, in the post below.
From the first draft to the published version. See the whole process here.
1. Start with a Good Great Idea First.
In other words, do NOT create an infographic for an infographic’s sake. As an marketer, you should be creating great content regularly: be aware that an infographic is just another format to get your point or idea across, and for some information, graphical visualization works better than a blog post or a video.
Just because it is called an “infographic,” doesn’t mean that you can attract more inbound links while slacking off on the quality.
2. Have a Great Distribution Plan.
I was so involved in creating an actual infographic that I did not think about my distribution. Thankfully, I was looking for feedback and tweeted Mike Volpe (HubSpot’s CMO), who referred me to Kipp Bodnar, Inbound Marketing Strategist at HubSpot. Both of them suggested adding more statistics to prove my point and said that I would be better off posting it on a popular site first. Big-name sites like MarketingProfs, Social Media Examiner, and even Mashable came up in the emails — I was pretty ecstatic.
Kipp not only provided great advice, he has helped push it through his network and as a result, the infographic was mentioned on SocialMediaExaminer.com and had a full review by the amazing Ann Handleyof MarketingProfs. A full post, dedicated to the infographic, is what truly launched it with hundreds of retweets, mentions, and compliments. I was very lucky!
To create a great distribution plan, approach your industry’s “big minds” and ask for their feedback with full intention of listening & improving the infographic. Do they know somebody who would be interested in publishing it? Ask a few other influencers for the feedback and when it is published, tweet your thanks to them. They will be much more likely to retweet you, spreading the reach of your infographic!
3. Have a Variety of Stats and Information Sources.
Adding more statistics to the infographic not only helps prove your point and back it up by the research, it also adds additional reasons for others to talk about it. For me, an infographic with added research data now became an educational piece, where I explained why treating inbound marketing as an ecosystem is beneficial to a business, and how marketing trends are moving towards the “pull” approach.
Examine your sources carefully and have a good number of them. Are you quoting companies which did research to only benefit themselves or is it from an independent research organization? Recognize and link to the original sources.
4. Create a Landing Page On Your Site.
Publishing an infographic on my own site worked because it served as a landing page for links. Even though way more tweets linked to the other blogs, my site was a reference point to many bloggers who looked for the original source.
Also, my page contains “embed this” HTML code (thanks to Ross Hudgens for tweeting about minimalistic embed code) and social sharing buttons, which helped to spread the word even further! Make sure to have these elements on your infographic’s landing page.
5. Have a Clear Call-To-Action.
I knew my goal — to get more followers and exposure in the marketing circles — but those who looked at the infographic did not. I made a mistake of making “follow @svolinsky” too little and once the infographic was out, it was too late to change it.
I tried minimizing my losses by adding a Twitter Follow button on the infographic’s landing page and in the embed code, but I’ve certainly missed the peak.
Make your call-to-action BIG at the bottom of the graphic — whether it is following your company on twitter, entering a contest, or downloading an eBook. Make it easy for prospects to complete some kind of an action & engage with your organization.
6. Make It Visually Appealing.
I wouldn’t call myself a creative designer, but in my opinion, you simply need to know the basics. Don’t use too many fonts, use complimentary colors, highlight important insights. Focus on communicating your point first, and then work on the visual appeal and bells n’ whistles — gradients, background patterns, shading and more.
Important: be careful when visualizing statistics, as it is easy to visually distort the data (e.g., bar graphs’ width should always stay the same).
7. Say “Thank You” and Develop New Connections!
Set up Google Alerts as well as twitter alerts (I use TweetDeck) for URLs where it was published and for the title of the infographic. Whenever somebody shares it, comments on it, or pins it on Pinterest, I say “thank you.” I think this worked great for me and I really got to know the audience. Many people might not have known who created the infographic, but after receiving a thank-you tweet from me, they now have a good reason to follow me (which did increase my following).
I strongly recommend doing this for any mentions of your content (not only the infographics)!
As much as possible, I tried to set realistic expectations for your infographic. Just because you have a great idea and spent time to create one, doesn’t mean that it will “go viral” or it will double your sales. Distribution is the key and if you don’t know any influencers right now — start networking and building those relationships — it will sure to benefit you throughout your career.
I would love to hear from you in the comments below or say hello on twitter: @svolinsky.
Slavik Volinsky is an Online Marketer at Amsterdam Printing, promotional products company. You should follow him on twitter or subscribe to Amsterdam Printing’s Promo & Marketing Wall blog.