Article first published as Infographics as Marketing Strategy on Technorati.
Infographics are big. They’re cropping up all over the mediasphere and for good reason. Pictures grab attention. In many cases they get the message across far better than words. How do they do it?
How Pictures Grab Attention
Clive Thompson writes in the October issue of Wired Magazine, “And if you believe the visualization experts, a new language of pictures may be precisely what we need to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. Thompson quotes David Sibbet, a visualization expert who has spent the past three decades consulting for larger firms. “If you want everyone to have the same mental model of a problem, the fastest way to do it is with a picture.” Thompson suggests that these images provoke aha moments far often than typed or verbal summaries.
Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, authors of The Dragonfly Effect explain, “Pictures trump words in terms of grabbing attention because they’re composed of lines and curves that are more complex, and therefore distinctive, than the lines and curves that compose words.”
Need more convincing? Aaker and Smith tell us too, “a study at the University of Pennsylvania showed that in presentations, when information is conveyed orally, people retain only 10 percent of the content. But when a presentation includes visuals and words, the number increases to 50 percent.”
Infographics are much more than a pretty picture. They provide users with four distinct elements:
1. same mental model
2. attention-getting mechanisms
3. content retention
4. engagement from start to finish
How Companies Use Infographics for Marketing
In a recent case study about Infographics, Ken Lyons provides a very generous and revealing overview about not only what led to the success of Infographics for his firm, he shares valuable how-to information with the assistance of Chris Angus of Warlock Media, who worked with him on the design of their Infographics.
The take-away Infographic points for businesses are:
- When choosing a concept for the Infographic, the ideas should be topical while being able to illustrate large numbers, comparisons and disparities.
- Research is key, the data needs to be factually accurate.
- The design stage is critical. Concepts must serve as a visual journey that is both informative and entertaining.
- Pay attention to title, illustrative header section and a recognizable theme.
- Spread the word about your Infographic aggressively, reach out to prospects with a targeted outreach strategy.
- Look for websites, bloggers and media types that are highly relevant and influential.
- Run queries and Google blog search for sites and blogs that are relevant to your viral marketing/promotional concept.
- Connect to influencers and distinguish yourself from the pack e.g. emailing them directly with personal notes and not relying on pinging them.
- Promote your content/Infographic on social media e.g.. Digg, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Delicious and StumbleUpon (especially Digg).
- Get an authority blogger in your niche to feature your Infographic or talk about it.
- Establish success metrics or KPI’s (key performance indicators) for your Infographic
- Be conscious of the key benefits of Infographic link-baiting e.g. mention and links from high profile sites can create high quality links, referred traffic and highly successful viral marketing campaigns.
On a personal note I’d add that companies who create Infographics should encourage they be used. Designers should include the insert codes to make it clear and easy for people to share. Also, make sure you have the name of your firm and the research links embedded in the image so that you always get the credit for your work and in return, credit those whose research made it possible for you to create a visual representation. When done well, Infographics are a win-win for everyone involved.
Share your thoughts about Infographics in the comments below.
Photo credit: Bundscherer’s photostream