Compelling and Captivating Infographics

Infographic general designMost marketers know that one of the best ways to convey pertinent information, especially statistical data, is through infographics.  When potential or new clients ask me what they are, I often say “it is a visually pleasing and engaging way to consume medium to large quantities of information.”  The purpose of the infographic is as multidimensional as the design. Over the years, I have seen infographics used for a variety of purposes – educational, political, business soliciting – you name it.

One that recently caught my attention, made me start thinking about companies and organizations purposes, agendas and the like, that are using this “visually pleasing and engaging” method of marketing to accomplish the their vision and goals.  Join me as we journey though some of the most compelling and captivating infographics published to date.

Peta’s Life of a Cow infographic tops many emotion-evoking infographic lists.  It educates consumers, encourages veganism, and intentionally elicits emotional pain over what baby calves go through to become dairy- and food-producing options.  This infographic holds nothing back when it comes to mapping out the beginning with the fear-inflicted eyes of the baby calf to the ill-fated end of becoming dinner.

Domestic violence is a huge issue in our society, in the U.S. and abroad. It can be physical, sexual, emotional; and the least publicized, psychological.  Millions of Americans, women AND men, have been victims of domestic violence and this infographic displays the ugly truths of these heinous acts.  Developed by NowSourcing for Socialworkdegreeguide.com, Exposing What Happens Behind Closed Doors, is an educational infographic reflecting truth, demographics, and current statistics.  From the first, engaging image through the un-ignorable statistics, this in-depth domestic violence awareness all-in-one definitely does what it should.

Sure to get a few guffaws, this infographic from Killer Infographics is sure to crack the corners of your mouth with statements that most people think but don’t have the guts to say.  I’m Cooler Than You Because…was designed in 2013 to showcase “why certain people are cooler than other people” relying on “bold icons and funny copy to make this infographic super effective!”  And that it does!  So if you don’t have a bunch of nay-saying, humorless colleagues, post this in your cube to surely receive a few laughs and engaging conversation.  And in case you didn’t know and are bold enough to rock it, you can get this on apparel by visiting here.

Eye-opening content is always welcome in my book, and as well, that which is shockingly truthful.  In the 21 Shocking U.S. Food Waste Facts & Statistics, the designers at AZ Solutions, ensure you are well aware as to how much food wasting goes on and its riveting impact. So many of us do it in one way or another, but I had no idea that my disregarding, no left-overs mentality impacts the masses. It was compelling enough to  change both my mind and my own behaviors.

So there you have it folks, just a few jaw-dropping, tear-welling and knee slapping infographics that are out there.  Stay tuned as I may address this topic again in the future and once again reveal why well thought out, skillfully designed infographics are such captivating and compelling content around.

Content Consumption Trends This Fall

Fall TreeAh, the beauty of a New England fall season…The crisp air, apple cider donuts and many trees display the multifaceted colors of fall.  Content consumption trends this fall are just as varied as trees lining I-90 to the Berkshires.  As a device dependent nation, the consumers of content have pushed both manufacturers and marketers to infinite boundaries – a flurry of multifaceted demands to have everything we want (or think we need) at our fingertips all hours of every day.  So for mobile technology, Fall 2013 is blowing in with many winds of change for the content consumption marketplace.

Mobile Device Usage on the riseWill the PC become obsolete?  According to Digital Trends, “research firms have been informing us for some time now that sales of desktops and laptops are on the decline, with consumers turning increasingly to reasonably priced tablets and smartphones that do more than enough to keep them happy.”  Even Morgan Stanley analysts have predicted that mobile web use will outgrow stationary device browsing by 2015.  This is great news for mobile device makers while stationary PC’s and even laptops sales may continue to fall to below expectation when it comes to content utilization.  With the impending November 29th, 2013 Black Friday and Cyber Monday on December 2nd just around the corner, its predicted that consumers’ choices are definitely shifting from PCs to handheld tablets for daily content consumption.

What’s everyone humming about? Yes it is finally arrived – Google Hummingbird.  By replacing the old algorithm, Google has answered the call for easy search queries for people on-the-go.  Hummingbird is essentially an entirely new ranking algorithm that understands the relationships and relevance of words and phrases, instead of just considering a bunch of individual words.  Thus, making it more “human friendly” than ever.  So it focuses on ranking information based on more intelligent and naturalistic search requests – providing more useful, intelligent and higher quality content in the digital world.

Seemingly Unlikely Bedfellows – Adobe & Data Analytics?  Adobe Marketing Cloud is the latest user interface and in the new Adobe Analytics with an iOS operating system for mobile devices reports the baseline norm from historical user trends and then identifies data points that fall outside that norm.  This super smart app offers real-time reporting capabilities to give marketers and copywriters/editors solid intel on readers content consumption, marketing campaign success and on-site conversion as it happens.  An SDK mobile app will provide unparalleled opportunity analyze data collected from mobile apps in Adobe Analytics, giving marketers the ability to serve location-specific content to customers based on their location when they access a mobile app.  I noticed this most recently while on Pandora.  An audible ad, that was specific to my location, popped up to gain my buy-in on their services.  This is perfect for true lead generation efforts and capturing the right demographic for a successful campaign.

Branding, Media Style
This fall, many companies are beginning to understand that they need to think more like publishers and not just marketers.  Connecting brands with online audiences is essential for true consumer, marketing integration and growth. More brands will use sizeably more video and mobile-friendly content in response to the growing number of smartphones and tablets. Media integration helps businesses generates revenue and strengthens customer relationships by leveraging the latest technology and draw on a full range media marketing resources.  Since content consumption is at an all time high, using social video resources like Vimeo, YouTube, Instagram, or Vine ads flavorful social content that reaches your audience in quick and impactful ways.

Content Curation Marketing
For those who don’t know, content curation goes way beyond just making sure website content is both up-to-date and SEO rich.  Content curation is the process of connecting content creators, i.e. marketers, bloggers and writers, to easily and quickly target relevant content.  Since content is king, content curators oversee and manage the entire landscape of content – from driving product development and marketing strategies to social networking integration,   Notably, this is a fantastic tool to boost social media presence and true engagement for key target audiences.

So there you have it folks – all things content and dominant trends for the Fall season of 2013.

What do you think?  Are there other content trends you see fading like the leaves of fall or flourishing in full bloom for 2014?

Pinterest for designers, why we should love it.

Image based network, as a designer I will say is much more than that.  Pinterest is a social network, a image bookmarking tool, and a genius marketing tool.

Simple and easy to use interface, see a photo you like? You can quickly ‘pin’ it to a virtual board in your Pinterest account easily.  This great tool give you the option to create up to 350 boards that can be viewed by anyone and everyone that follows you.  Pinterest users search sometimes hours a day for inspiration, crafts, blog articles, and much more. When they find something they like, they repin it. This means that all of their friends can see this new pin and repin it too.

A little bit of each one

Twitter – There’s a little bit of Twitter in it since you can follow other users and see what they have been pining.  Facebook – You can Like or comment on any image, helping to the popularity of their boards.

When working with a client

Consider creating a board of examples that your client can see.  It is a great way to collect and display concept material for a client that they can see in one place.  It will be your best bet to create a private board.  Pinterest also has the ability to invite other people to contribute to a board, this allows you to crowd source your projects.

Sales or lead generation

You could promote and sell your designs or artwork using Pinterest as a lead generator. You’ll still need a shopping cart and a website to do the actual selling, however.

Connect, mingle and share

This medium should be part of every designer, artist and illustrator’s social media strategy alongside the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.  With the ability to follow other pinners, you can get to know designers, agencies and freelancers that you might like.  By following and sharing their content, you will probably encourage them to check your content and pinn it.

Your own work

Create a board for your own work and pin your best designs. This will give you more exposure on the web, drawing more attention to your designs.  Your work might even be re-pinned and shared by other Pinterest users.

Be sure to include your name – business name in the description of your image. Or, better still, watermark your own submissions with your logo and website address.

For any designer, Pinterest is an excellent way to market your business and to use as a secondary graphic design resume. For graphic designers or web developers, however, marketing on Pinterest is especially important to use since pins are so heavily based on images.

 

5 Point Content Creation Checklist

Creating checklists may seem like a daunting task to some, but in the world of content creation, it can be one of the best tools to focus the intent and execution of stellar writing.   Inaccurate or “bad” writing can be avoided by eliminating a handful of common mistakes – once you know what they are.  This may be a time-consuming process at first, but once you command these “one-and-done” items, you’ll have all the necessary checkmarks to go from draft to publish more easily than ever.

checkboxHave a Clear Focus – Do you have a clear objective for the piece you are penning?  Once you are clear on the intent or objective, you can create a brief outline of key points you want to make.  This helps to keep the flow of your writing smooth and helps to avoid rambling or inadvertently veering in an unproductive direction.

checkboxGreat Expectations – Nothing entices a reader like a compelling and intriguing headline or title.  Think creatively about what grabs your attention when surfing the web, watching television or listening to your favorite radio station.  And don’t be afraid to interject a little humor or allow it to be slightly politically jarring.  Keep it clean but not boring!

checkboxWriter ImageConsistency is Key – Erratic writing makes for limited reading.  Nothing frustrates readers more than schizophrenic writing, positioning and tone.  So make sure you are consistent in these areas.

checkboxBeauty is in the Eye of the Beholder – Imagery is what most people will hone in on once they read the title.  Therefore supporting imagery is very important and please make sure it is indeed supportive of the written content that surrounds it.  Remember- in this busy, digital age, most people don’t fully read-they skim.  So give them something eye-catching to capture and keep their attention as long as possible.

checkbox2 Sets of Eyes Are Better Than One – When writing content, it’s easy to make obvious spelling, grammar and formatting mistakes.  So don’t be afraid to let someone else take a gander at your masterpiece before publishing.  Additionally, its helpful to get a reader’s perspective before exposing it to the masses.  This is critical when publishing blogs or on a business website since once it’s on the web, it’s there forever.

The Wrap Up – There are a ton of other content creators out there clamoring for reader’s attention. Therefore, quality content is a must if you want to stand out from the crowd, have your craft respected and captivate your audience. By following even a few of the tips listed above, doubtlessly your content will improve. Don’t forget – writing good content is an art and being an artist takes practice.

 What are your tried & true content creation writing tips?

Sizzling Summer Content Writing Tips

High ThermometerSummer is here and it’s not the time for cool, mediocre content on your blogs or website.  Send your content and website hits soaring with these successful tips to keep your rankings and indexing climbing to the top of the charts.

#1 Consider what sells you on eBay — A good description of a product as well as the imagery selected creates the motivation to buy the item, right? So it’s no different with your product or service description.  Want to heat up the return on your investment of time, money and effort expended on building your business, brand or blog?  You have to engage and inform in such a way that ignites the audience to take action.

#2 Yes, Sweat the Small Stuff — I don’t like saying the “devil’s in the details” but the small, sweat drops of critical points are what’s going to take the success of your content sky-high!  Remember, in the online world, all your competitors are just a few clicks away.  Give them more than just a simple photo and bland product dimensions; engage them visually and then close the deal.

#3 Hot Headlines & Following the News in Your Niche — News is a great source to turn up the heat on your content . You’d be surprised where great ideas can be formulated when derived from the media’s ‘hot topics’ and headlines promoted on Yahoo, CNN and various websites as well as TV. This technique can effectively increase the exposure of your content and be just what you need to jump-start your creative juices and typing fingers.  For example, while on my LinkedIn page, I saw an article about choosing the red vs. the blue pill in ‘Happiness Is Not the Most Important Thing at Work.’  It made me consider a future blog topic about the power of engaging headlines and questioning your audience within your content to fully-engage them.

#4 Test the waters with a Blog Aggregator  – A what?  You read it correctly – a blog aggregator.  It’s a website that keeps track of blog posts and where bloggers go for idea sharing with other bloggers in your niche.  This is a great way to be inspired, share ideas and even professionally debate a topic.  I recently wrote an article on Triberr, one of the prominent blog aggregators today. Not only were people engaged, but one of the founders of the company commented on my blog to address some of the points I made.  Engagement accomplished!

#5 Window Shopping & People Watching – Most of us are out & about more than usual during the summer months.  Whether at the beach, tanning poolside or BBQing in the backyard–watching others can give way to some pretty cool topics for blogging. Window shopping and long walks about town can also be the catalyst for thoughts on a product or service, from or for your own business.  Also, by watching how someone reacts to various stimuli can strike the right match to turn up creative thought within you.

I hope this ignited some inspiration in you with some great insights to consider when writing and posting your content.   I’d love to hear what other piping hot tips you have to share with me!