Nothing to Look at Here
The Rise of the Infographic as an Effective Form of Content Marketing
The words ‘Content marketing’ and ‘infographics’ get thrown around a lot of late. For our purposes I am going to focus on infographics and their both latent and hidden strengths.
If you strip away the buzz worthiness of the word ‘infographics’, and their eye candy nature which serves to disguise a vehicle, that when created and implemented properly, is an incredibly compelling way to communicate with your demographic audience.
An effective infographic enables you to teach your customers something, make them laugh or maybe even cause them to take action. From an advertising perspective this is invaluable. From a branding perspective it is strengthening. From a social media perspective, it fills numerous roles:
- It is content that can be promoted to your customers.
- It works great in conjunction with SEO
- It is easily shared on the most common social media platforms (twitter, facebook, google+, linkedin)
- And is also very shareable on related industry sites and blogs.
Infographics have a potential reach and impact unlike almost any other method of marketing.
On the flip side, infographics are becoming an increasingly saturated visual, and as with all new media, the boundaries must be stretched and tested. I am of the opinion that infographics as a whole are becoming less effective, due to problems in the vehicle design and not the concept itself. In other words, most people have seen an infographic whether they knew what it was or not. Early on this led to shares based on the 'newness' of the infographic genre, where as now most of your audience has seen an infographic, and are not as easily blinded by the pretty colours.
This led to a renaissance of sorts within infographic design and a clear distinction between ‘infographics’ and ‘data visualisation’ emerged. Thus becoming different breeds of the same animal. Put most simply, an ‘infographic’ is a way to present an idea in an unconventional way and a ‘data visualisation’ is just that, an opportunity to clearly present and or analyse data.
Depending on which side of the fence you fall on, you will inevitably fight tooth and nail to discredit the validity of the other. The forums are ripe with the conflict, so much so that you could make an infographic about it....um…errr... data visualization...depending on your camp.
What I have found is that within this battle between the two, infographics won, or at least have the brand recognition that even when someone actually wants a data visuliazation they ask for an infographic.
So while many people may argue that infographics are losing their impact, I could not disagree more. I think the influx and rise of infographics has caused better content creation as a necessity. They do not get by on their looks alone, creating a visually compelling narrative is paramount. Much like life, it’s good to be pretty but its what’s inside that counts.
I don’t think infographics are going anywhere, their trendiness is new, but their existence is not. The more we as a culture are living in the white noise of commercial advertising bombardment, the more that new content marketing strategies will pop up. As consumers we want entertainment, or education, we want something that enriches our lives and maybe something we can share with those close to us.
As business people we need to be able to communicate and connect with our demographic. The paradigm has shifted from a place where we communicated what we wanted our customers to do, to a place where we hold our customers in higher regard and we have to work a bit harder to get them to pay attention. But if and when they do pay attention they may bring your brand home and introduce you to all their friends and family.
Brandon Rossen is the Chief Creative at Hot Butter Studio