How to Create The Perfect Infographic In 4 Easy Steps

 

Luz Bottecchia | April 30, 2016

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Visual storytelling is an art form that dates back to ancient civilization. Not only is storytelling deeply rooted within our history, but it is also a powerful marketing tool for drawing attention from different audiences. With the constant content shock consumers face daily, exceptionally crafted visuals not only can breakthrough to readers, but also separates your brand from the competition. Whether the brand is B2B or B2C, infographics are the best alternative to breaking down complex concepts, into visualizations that bring the data to life.

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The proof is in the pudding. Information with complementary visuals compressed into an infographic is shared 3x more than any other visual materials. Here’s why:

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Source: Portical.org

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Below are 4 steps to create beautiful and insightful infographics:

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  1. Determine the audience

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First thing’s first: know exactly whom you are targeting. This serves as the foundation for your infographic, and it will dictate how you should word your narrative. Always ask yourself – who is my target? This can range anywhere from top-level executives to elementary school students. These two audiences clearly require two different ways for effective communication and should be regarded accordingly. Not only does this set up the direction for the infographic going forward, but it also provides you with a clearer purpose for the visual. Take into account the methods that you think will resonate most with this audience and use this as the guiding principle for the infographic.

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  1. Understand your data

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The next step requires an analysis of the data you have garnered from the research process. Before moving forward to create the infographic, it is imperative to double and triple check the data is from a credible source. Without legitimate data, the infographic will not be influential and credited as a valuable source. Simply put, in order to create an infographic that will attract people’s attention and retain it, the infographic needs elements that are: compelling, competent and controversial. This is the basis for the story, so keep in mind to include data that will make on impact on readers, and use this framework to develop the pages in your story.

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  1. Bring the story to life

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Now that you have completed step 1 and 2, it’s time to create an engaging visual that tells a story. The key message to remember is to pick the data that is most compelling and will draw the most attention from readers. Nothing is more boring than sitting in front of a computer screen reading and trying to comprehend statistics. Here is where you as the creator and marketer get to develop a design to translate the data into an insightful story. While outlining the plot, remember the elements of a story: there is a beginning, middle and end. Think about this when starting to string the facts together. Like any written story, an infographic needs to flow and work cohesively with the data that is represented. Focus on a particular theme or central key message and use this to guide the creative process. Once the story is crafted, don’t forget to include a call to action at the end that reflects the purpose for the infographic.

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  1. Amplify your reach

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So you’ve created an infographic that you are proud of and tells an amazing story. What’s next? Now that the graphic is complete, you need to amplify its distribution to reach your desired audience, and even others who find it along the way. This part might not seem like the most important step, but it truly is. No matter how compelling and tweet-worthy the infographic is, it has no value unless is it distributed with a strategic plan in mind. The easiest, and perhaps most obvious step to the distribution plan is to share it on your company’s social media channels. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are a few platforms in which an infographic has the potential to reach a wide audience. In addition, these platforms allow for ease of shareability and lets users curate your content as well. However, be mindful of where your audience is most active on social media, so your distribution makes sense and reaches the audience that matters most to you. Ultimately, the more people it reaches, the more impressions the infographic will receive and by association, will drive traffic to your brand’s site.

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Now that you know the basics, it’s time to tell your story. Follow these steps, and show us how you created the perfect infographic by posting your link in the comments below!

 

5 Tips to Make Pinterest Your Brand’s Visual Marketing Powerhouse

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Luz Bottecchia | April 16, 2016

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Want to get discovered? Look no further than Pinterest. This tool beats its counterparts when it comes to brand discovery. As a self-proclaimed “visual bookmarking tool” Pinterest is the perfect platform to build boards of visual content that can inspire and compel consumers to adopt your brand as their own.

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With over 100 million active users on Pinterest, it is no small task to make pinnable visual content that will resonate with consumers on this platform.

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Here are 5 tips that are sure to help your brand break through the clutter on Pinterest:

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1. Choose posts wisely.

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Gaining followers on Pinterest is not as easy as it seems. In order to gain visibility and build a substantial following, it is necessary for your brand’s content to provide meaningful and continuous information to consumers. Not to mention, the content needs to be high quality in order to break through the clutter and attract views from readers. It is also important to remember to not only produce great content, but also to manage it well into organized boards, so it is easily digestible for readers. These concepts go hand in hand and are vital for creating a following on this platform. If you need some inspiration to grow your following, visit Social Media Examiner for more helpful tips. Here’s how Nordstrom is beautifully managing its Pinterest profile:

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2. Keep it short.

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In the digital age we live in, the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds. With this in mind, it’s very important to make sure to follow the cardinal rule of Pinterest titles: use two to five words to get your message across. No one wants to read pages and pages of text. So it is imperative to create pithy titles that can quickly attract the attention of readers and compel them to click on your brand’s post, and if you’re lucky, they will repin it! Always make sure to include the name of your business and key search terms to increase your SEO. Here’s an example of how Buzzfeed’s fitness Pinterest board keeps it short and sweet:

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3. Don’t forget about other social media

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Maximize your reach using Pinterest sharing buttons on other social media platforms. By integrating other social media sites, this can help spotlight your Pinterest board and bring more attention to it. Also, remember to promote your Pinterest site on other sites, such as your brand’s Facebook or Twitter account. In fact, you can use the automatic feature in the Pinterest settings, which allows you to automatically publish your pins on other social media sites. By integrating these channels, you can increase visibility to your brand’s Pinterest profile as well as bulk up your content on your additional social media sites.

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4. Links are key.

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Increase traffic to your website by including your brand’s website link in your Pinterest post. Once users discover your post and click on it, always make sure to include a link for them to click on that will redirect them to your website for more information. Use creative ways to incorporate a link, such as including a call to action. This can be as simple as providing a teaser that reads “7 tips to cook the perfect Thanksgiving Turkey” with a beautiful image and text overlay. Also include an additional button for readers to click on to retrieve more information. Here’s how Lowe’s includes its website within its Pinterest pins:

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5. Go vertical.

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Be mindful of the platform you are working with. Most of Pinterest’s pins follow a vertical format; so make sure to keep this in mind in the planning stages of the creative process. There is no limit on length for pins on Pinterest, but remember to not overload your pin with large texts of information that can detract readers from clicking on the pin. A longer pin might not be as visually attractive to a Pinterest user, since they will have to scroll down to read all the information. Also never underestimate the power of infographics on Pinterest. An infographic is a great visual representation to portray complex data that can speak volumes to readers. According to Pinnable Business limiting the length of your brand’s pins to 5,000 pixels is a great format to follow. Here’s a great example from The Wall Street Journal’s graphics Pinterest board:

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Now let’s see how you Pin! Tag your Pinterest boards below along with which tip you find the most helpful, to show us how you’re leveraging Pinterest’s visual marketing capabilities for your brand.

Top 5 Free Non-Designer Visual Marketing Tools

Luz Bottecchia | March 25, 2016

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Graphic design is no longer a daunting task for non-designers. With the help of easy-to-use graphic design software now widely available both online and on mobile, even the least adept at creating visual content can become a graphic design whizz.

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A little creativity goes a long way with the help of some designing tools, to help you create a visual that can resonate with your costumers. Below are the top 5 free designing tools that are sure to make your visual content and graphics look professionally done.

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  1. Canva- empowering the world to design

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Canva is built with non-designers in mind. This tool is the perfect choice for marketers who want to create captivating original visuals that range from business cards, infographics, blog graphics, and twitter posts to flyers, menus, resumes, and MORE! With a wide array of templates that are perfectly pre-sized, Canva makes it simple for users to navigate its software to search for the perfect template.

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Its customization tools also allow users to edit the original template images and transform them into masterpieces. Play around with the fonts, drag and drop images, add borders, adjust the colors and you will be on your way to creating an amazing visual. Not only does Canva offer templates to fit any need, but it also has seasonal and holiday templates! After you have completed your creation, Canva allows you to download the file in PDF format and also automatically saves it to your account for later edits.

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Many of the features on Canva are completely free for all users, but there are also a number of templates and stock photos that are available with a $1 fee. This one time fee is applied once you have created the visual and are ready to download it onto your computer.

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Another perk within this tool is its Design School, which provides tutorials perfect for non-designers who want to learn some tips and tricks to apply to their creations. This feature breaks down flyer design, email design, fonts, banner design, and much more. It even has a design inspiration category to get your creative juices flowing!

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  1. PicMonkey – your all-in-one editor

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PicMonkey is another great tool for creating designs. With this online software, users can edit images, touch-up photos, design graphics, and create collages. Its free customization tools allow you to edit photos and designs without having to download or install anything, making it the perfect solution for sprucing up photos. Whether it’s fixing up overexposure or red-eyes, PicMonkey makes editing simple for non-designers to feel like they’ve been doing this for years.

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  1. PiktoChart – take your visual communication to the next level

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PiktoChart is the perfect tool for creating amazing infographics. With over 400 templates available, this online designing software can help you create top-notch visualizations of important statistics, facts, tips, and much more.

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Not only does PiktoChart have free infographic templates, but it also has presentation, poster and report templates for users to edit.

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Check out its Showcase of Featured Piktocharts to see beautiful infographic creations that Piktochart users have published to get inspired.

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  1. Unsplash – free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos

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Unsplash is a great resource for high-quality photos that can be used without attribution. Search beautiful scenic photos, and you won’t be disappointed. The photos are available in one size, but you are free to edit, resize, add filters, and whatever else you want to do with them.

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  1. Pexels – best free stock photos in one place

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Pexels is another free site for amazing high-resolution pictures. Like Unsplash, these images are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, meaning all the images are available free of charge for personal and commercial use. All photos on Pexels can be edited by users, and are available for download in multiple sizes.

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So, when can you start?

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Right now! It’s time to put your ideas into action. With these helpful tools, you are now equipped and ready to become a graphic design pro. Put your imagination to the test and create beautiful visual content that you will be proud to share on your social media platforms, blog posts, or website. Share your creations with us to showcase your designs!

7 Reasons Why Brands Need Video Marketing

Luz Bottecchia | March 19, 2016

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Want to make your visual content speak for itself? Use a video! Don’t underestimate the power video could have in your marketing strategy. With high quality footage and powerful storytelling, this visualization tool is sure to set your brand apart from its competitors and take your content to a new level.

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So just how influential is it? The average Internet user spends 88% more time on a website with video than without. B2B and B2C marketers can’t ignore this kind of traffic in today’s marketplace.

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Here are 7 reasons why brands NEED to make video marketing a priority:

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1.People are visual learners

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Let’s not kid ourselves. No one likes reading long, mundane pages of text. In this day and age, why read when you can watch? Statistics show 65% of people are visual leaders. Actions speak louder than words! A video is a much more effective way to communicate a message. Whether it’s launching a new product or giving a tutorial, users are more likely to engage and better digest the information if the content is visual.

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2.Show vs. Tell

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Video content is a total game changer when it comes to a product or service. There is no better way of explaining the product or service than showing your customers exactly what you do. This visualization makes it much easier to break down complex concepts while connecting with your viewers. Not only does comprehension increase, but also 85% of customers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a product video.

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Source: superfastbusiness.com

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3. Humanize the brand

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Text on a computer doesn’t necessarily create a personality for your brand. With video content, you are able to create a relationship that will resonate with your viewers and build the trust that is necessary to gain customer loyalty to the brand. According to Quicksprout, about 80% of Internet users remember the video ads they watch online. An engaging video with brand personality makes the experience enjoyable and even more importantly, memorable.

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4. Assists with SEO

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Don’t blend in. With so much content on the web, it is a challenge to breakthrough the clutter without top-notch content to reach your audience. Video content increases the chances of a front page Google result by 53 times. Videos are given priority over images on search engines, meaning the more video content the brand has, the more exposure it will get when users search for it.

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5. Instant feedback

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Enable comments to the video to make sure viewers are able to comment. This engagement is important to understand the overall sentiment of your audience. The feedback also provides a springboard for the next video creation, since viewers might have suggestions of topics or ideas they would like to see. A collaborative environment like this, not only is helpful for the brand, but also for customers to feel like they are part of the process.

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6. Measure success

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Metrics are key. To measure your success, it is important that you analyze your results to understand your impressions, frequency, and reach. This can be accomplished through several online tools, such as Google analytics and Hootsuite. Many video and social media platforms will also include measurement tools within their own domains as well.

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7. Share-ability

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Social media makes sharing videos a breeze! Make sure your videos are enabled to share, for increased reach of potential customers. Who knows…maybe it could even go viral! That’s the ultimate goal here. With websites like YouTube, Instagram and Vine, it’s easy to share content among social media platforms. Just make sure to always remember, every second counts in video content, so make sure to make the most of it and only include quality messaging that will draw in customers and businesses who will benefit from your brand’s content. The infographic below outlines some publishing and syndication ideas, courtesy of marketingtechblog.com

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By now, hopefully these reasons have helped you understand the advantages of video marketing. These reasons are the tip of the iceberg in the endless amount of reasons why brands should be leveraging video content in their marketing strategy. Click here to learn about other ways that video can take your brand to new heights.

4 Brands Maximizing Instagram for Visual Marketing

 

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Source: Unsplash

A picture is worth a thousand words and Instagram is no exception. Beyond cat memes and Doug the Pug, this photo-sharing app is a powerful visual marketing platform that should be a part of every brand’s marketing strategy toolbox.

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As of September 2015, Instagram has reached a whopping 400 million users worldwide. With this many people, it is crucial for B2C brands to post visual content on Instagram, not only to engage directly with consumers, but also to personify their brand, create powerful storytelling, and to remain relevant.

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Source: Shortstack

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At the end of the day, to be a successful brand on Instagram, it all boils down to a science. Many brands are on Instagram, but only a select few have mastered the science behind this tool and have seen results in doing so.

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Here are 4 brands that have become Instagram experts and can teach us all a thing or two about creating visual marketing content.

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1.Nike

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Nike’s growth and success on Instagram stems from it embracing a fit and active lifestyle in its marketing strategy, instead of direct product promotion. With inspirational posts that feature people being empowered through Nike and descriptions to match, Nike’s key message always shines through: what matter’s is being active, not running a marathon.

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A message like this is influential for many of Nike’s customers whether it’s a seasoned runner or someone who is just starting out, because the idea is to get up and get moving; all that’s needed is a little motivation to “just do it”.

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Not only is Nike’s Instagram game strong in creating inspirational content, but it also has a knack for thinking outside the box. The brand’s creativity jumps off its Instagram page. Just take a look at this post:

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Source: @Nike 

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Ironically, this post has little to do with its shoes, but its creativity has connected with nearly everyone who embraces a fit lifestyle and is also a foodie. Nike’s breakfast post is its most liked picture on Instagram, receiving over 900 million likes and counting. The brand’s creativity sets it apart from many other brands in its category.

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2. Starbucks

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When it comes to user-generated content, Starbucks is king. Starbucks knows how to connect with people to build its engagement on Instagram. At 7.8 million Instagram followers, this brand goes far beyond trying to sell a cup of Joe. The focus of the brand is on its consumers and how Starbucks’ fits into their lifestyle.

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Starbucks’ posts are almost always someone holding up their Starbucks’ drink, surrounded by beautiful scenery. This speaks to its followers, because it creates a story around the product. The imagery created by users is simple; yet it evokes a strong connection with everyone who identifies Starbucks as part of their daily lives.

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Starbucks’ Instagram personality is perfectly summed up in its bio: inspiring and nurturing the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.

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Source: @starbucks

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This Instagram post, submitted by Brita Lynn Thompson @blynnxoxo, was the 2014 Starbucks’ White Cup contest winner. A year later, its regram garnered 308,000 likes on Instagram.

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3. Red Bull

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Another brand that has Instagram all figured out is Red Bull. Known for its daring brand personality, Red Bull has taken its Instagram page to the next level by selling its brand, not its product.

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With little to no promo of its energy drink products, Red Bull has amounted 4.3 million followers on Instagram. So what’s the secret to Red Bull’s success? Red Bull’s visual content on Instagram speaks volumes to its consumers, because it is action packed with high quality images. Check out Red Bull’s latest post:

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Source: @redbull

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This brand’s visual marketing strength on Instagram is not only because of its high quality content, but also because it strategically partners with and sponsors many sporting events. This strategy gives Red Bull a leg up, because it is able to connect with a segment of its target audience. It also posts user-generated content from these events on its Instagram page, giving its consumers the opportunity to do the promotion for it.

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4. GoPro

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GoPro is the master of storytelling on Instagram. At 8.2 million followers, GoPro knows how to take user-generated content and run with it. Similar to some of the previous brands mentioned, GoPro’s marketing strategy on Instagram isn’t plagued with its product. For GoPro, it is all about the lifestyle and the brand – and that’s enough. Just look at this post:

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Source: @gopro

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A distinction between this account and other brands, is GoPro validates the users’ images it shares on its page by tagging the account in the post’s description. The recognition between this brand and its followers encourages every GoPro fan to go out and be their own photographer.

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So what can we conclude?

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It’s safe to say, there’s a trend among all the brands that have seen success on Instagram: embracing the brand as a lifestyle. To check out more brands that are Instagram #goals, click here: http://blog.iconosquare.com/top-14-brands-instagram/