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What are infographics? – Shareable and linkable content assets

Creating informative, creative, engaging and sharable content as part of the content marketing mix has seen the expansion of content across a range of formats.

Infographics have been around for a while, and perhaps unlike some “must haves”, when designed and produced properly, have stood the test of digital time.

With so much “big data” and messaging, now needed to be digested in even shorter periods of time, the use of Infographics as way to visually communicate, has seen continued growth as a dependable format over the last two years.

Why are infographics so popular?

It’s quoted that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text. (Sources: 3M Corporation and Zabisisco), which essentially outlines that people will engage more with visual content than just pure text alone.

Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present anything from top level messaging through to complex information, quickly and clearly. Infographics can help cut through the time precious need for facts and figures by using graphics and figures to outline top level information.

What are the benefits of infographics?

Infographics tick all of the usual SEO benefits; they can be embedded within a brands website or entrepreneurs blog, with onward sharing helping to build strong organic links. From a social perspective they can be seeded, liked and shared, creating strong engagement across a wide range of channels.

Telling a visual story with infographics

Designed and developed correctly, Infographics are an important component for helping to tell a story or provide top level messaging in an engaging, visual manner.

By collating and analysing data and information, and then spending the time determining how to present the content and context as visual story, an infographic will help a brand achieve much more than top level SEO box ticking.

Produced correctly, an infographic will enable a brand to effectively communicate key messages or products in a creative, inspiring manner, something particularly relevant for more drier or diverse topics.

Clever creative can present a brand as a thought leader within a specific industry, which in turn develops engagement with audiences, from showing understanding of top level requirements, through to providing information in a style and format relating to viewing time available.

Researched thoroughly, designed correctly and delivered as part of an integrated content strategy, an infographic will enhance a brand message, delivering a fully multi-lingual brand message.

Good infographic examples

We have selected five infographics from different sectors to outline clever, creative thinking and to show effective methods to increase both site traffic and returning users.

Sport infographic

In 2012, Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in NBA history to score over 30,000 career points.
Using a mixture of imagery, iconography and data graphs, The LA Lakers produced a “Celebratory infographic” which broke this data down, across 17 seasons, in an easy to digest style, whilst also saluting this achievement.

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Fashion infographic

Around the release of Madmen in 2014, Boston based Custom Made, created a visually engaging guide to “Dressing dapper in the modern age” Through hand drawn animation, the infographic provides a creative, informative approach.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 12.37.59

Technology Infographic

Infographics take shape in many styles and formats. Akita, an IT support company, developed an engaging, Infographic timeline, which shows the evolution of technology over the past 70 years. Using animation, users can either scroll through for top level information, or interact with hotspots for level 2 information.

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Business and Entrepreneur infographic

ContactMe.com, a contact and task management tool produced a ten step infographic guide on “How to establish a business legally”. The infographic uses a mixture of copy, iconography and animation, to deliver a snap shot of top level information.

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Political Infographic

In the countdown to the General Election, the Guardian developed a live Poll Projection infographic , which collates data from published constituency-level polls, UK-wide polls and polling conducted in the nations to provide a useful, top level summary.

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What are infographics?

Image courtesy of Robert Scoble, flickr.com

Image courtesy of Robert Scoble, flickr.com

 

The internet is available to almost 3 billion people worldwide (that’s a lot of people) and that number only continues to grow, with help notably from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg, a pioneer of social media who has launched a campaign to help more people connect to the internet, already aiding 3 million new people with access. Social media exists as a conversation platform on which anyone around the world with internet can communicate with anyone or everyone. Now social media is branching out for new opportunities but what are the limits?

Social Media itself mainly consists of conversation. This information can be made available to anyone allowing easy, quick and cheap communication, replacing more traditional methods of sending letters and postcards. Nowadays, even telephone conversations can be substituted by video conversations via Facebook Messenger or Skype for example. This process can be completed by a mere pressing of a few buttons, which means it has become favourable for people to take this convenient and effortless task, making these older methods appear more like novelties as we move into a technological age.

Social media icons future

Image courtesy of Yoel Ben-Avraham, flickr.com

Additionally, such scandals such as Facebook’s ‘experiment’ and OKCupid’s prove several limitations to social media’s benefits. OKCupid has experimented on unknowing users by pairing them with a ‘bad’ match in order to test whether they could connect in, causing controversy in the public eye. A statement was released shortly after this information became public stating ‘”If you use the internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site, that’s how websites work’, and unfortunately this statement is all but too true these days, will it become a social norm to accept this abuse of trust all in the name of science?

Further debate surrounds the rise in potential employers using social media to weigh up an individual’s employability by searching through sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn at their profiles. PwC’s John Harding (a human resource service partner at PwC) even predicts that employee’s personal data could be monitored in order to forecast performance motivators or issues by bringing together the home-work interface. Going either of two ways, perhaps resulting in coming a step closer to reducing the high risks of stress prominent at work or on the other hand making employee’s feel exposed and their security threatened, decreasing job satisfaction.

From a PR perspective, social media is becoming ever more important for a business to have a good stand-in. Facebook and Twitter accounts may even be deemed essential to any small to large business, but now even more platforms have arisen for businesses to take advantage of. Such sites as Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ and Flickr could also have been considered as options for businesses moving towards a more visual foundation on which to advertise from, allowing companies to reach more markets and more audiences.

In conclusion, social media’s uses develop constantly as this ever-growing hub (otherwise referred to as the internet) continues to stir controversy, whether these uses will better the old ones… only time will tell.

Social Media: Limitless?

Everyone is an obituary writer these days, says the New York Times, in a poignant statement about the viral reaction to the death of Robin Williams.

My first reaction after hearing Robin Williams had died was to grab my phone. I typed his name into Google, hastily attempting to find out whether or not it was true. Stories flashed through my head: recollections of celebrity deaths turning out to be hoaxes, vague memories of an interview on Ellen reminding me that he’d had heart surgery sometime not that long ago. This was around 11pm Monday evening, there were two news articles available from outlets I didn’t recognise and his Wikipedia page still lacked an update. There was still space for doubt.

Then along came Twitter.

Within minutes of the news breaking, the legion of Robin Williams fans, friends and peers, were expressing their shock and grief, collating their admiration and loss, their memories, through photos, favourite clips and quotes tweeted in 150 characters or less.  As the New York Times put it, social media became an ‘electronic scrapbook’ that transformed whole sites and feeds into memorials full of stand-up routines, exceptional performances, hilarious interviews.

A sense of the grand scale of the social media obituary became startlingly apparent. When Michael Jackson died five years ago, I had the same reaction to double check via social media. Yet despite the widespread outpourings of grief, I remember far fewer photos and far more blue hyperlinks. I remember it trending but most of my memories are of hard copy print articles and televised film clips. Twitter didn’t condense into an extended eulogy. Plus, since entities like Buzzfeed hadn’t yet hit their heyday, the listicle memorials were almost absent.

Tributes today involve constant updates on Williams’ family, the nature of his death and has seen #RIPRobinWilliams trending worldwide. Tweets from accounts like Sesame Street, The Academy Awards and Steve Carell have been retweeted, favourited and shared by thousands of people across the globe and hundreds of web articles have sprung up, including nearly thirty on Buzzfeed alone. Of course, not all public expressions have been positive, as illustrated by Zelda Williams’ forced retirement Twitter after internet trolls posted a photoshopped image of her dead father to her feed.  Yet even as further details emerge about his passing, people have been looking back at Williams’ own digital channels from his Twitter to his Instagram, including one of him and his daughter Zelda as a child.  Not only are social media users turning their feeds into spaces of grief, but they’re using the same means to investigate, attempting to piece together clues and to make sense of the loss by rereading recent posts. This was something also witnessed, to a lesser extent, during reports of Peaches Geldof’s death where many noted her last tweet was of her and her mother, who also died of an overdose.

So what is social media doing to our methods of mourning? It seems to be making it collective in a way unprecedented before now. Saying this, writers such as Richard Powers predicted this cultural shift, his cynical vision of the future anticipating millennial and post-millenial digitalisation to the point where the virtually extended self is intrinsic to any kind of social interaction, including the literal ‘sharing’ of grief.  Some might believe that this level of grief only applies to lives as large as Robin Williams, public icons whose existence was itself compiled from every form of contemporary medium available.  This simply is no longer the case, whilst Robin Williams has gone global, almost everyone will probably know someone on his or her social network who have lost a loved one and who will publically remember that person. Grief, even small scale, is now something more and more are comfortable with sharing amongst their extended networks. Perhaps it does not have the same ‘intense communal experience’ that Kurt Andersen describes in relation to the death of someone famous, but it does happen and a new etiquette of social grief is evolving into something concrete.

Perhaps this is social media at its worst as suggested by Politico blogger, Dylan Byers. Or perhaps this is just the next step in the evolution of our social lives and deaths. Sharing allows us to enter into a community of loss, to search and find solace, to show solidarity or provide it for those closer to the epicentre of grief.  There are no ‘right ways’ to mourn, and perhaps the semi-public space of social media is not the ideal place for private communication with the dead. But it does create instant access to a support network and a virtual memory that is never more than a click away.

‘Sharing’ Grief: How Social Media Has Changed The Way We Mourn

Social media has been around for thousands of years but in Ancient Rome its prominent form was books, not Facebook.

Books allowed authors to create and share content in real life forums, rather than virtual chatrooms, and the best among them would quickly climb the social ladder.

For that reason, the most successful authors in Ancient Rome were also savvy PR operators. They had to sell their works by delivering excerpts directly to the public and would stand or fall on the strength of their reception.

The goal was always fame rather than fortune. Roman authors didn’t benefit from book sales financially but were rewarded in other ways; fame and notoriety brought better connections and advancement in Roman society. Not so much cash for honours as tomes for high office.

Winning recognition, though, was no easy feat and, in the same way as modern PRs plan a product launch meticulously, Roman writers followed a comprehensive checklist to ensure their book became a bestseller:

1.     Firstly, dedicate the book to someone famous and wealthy (and vain, ideally)

2.     Then, tell him or her to mention the book to friends…

3.     …and display copies of the book prominently in their home (s)

4.     Ask them to host a dinner party at one of the said homes to generate social buzz

5.     Suggest that the guests stop drinking for five minutes and listen to a recitatio (excerpt read by the author)

Cicero, the famous Roman writer and orator, was also a master self-publicist. He followed the checklist above to its last detail, dedicating works to wealthy statesmen with large personal libraries, writing fawning letters asking for endorsements and begging friends to host parties where he could treat guests to a chapter or three. He even said to his best friend, Atticus: ‘Whenever I write anything, I shall entrust the publicity to you” or, using an alternative translation, “Since you’re my personal PR agent…house party at yours?”

PRs will certainly recognise some if not all of these tactics and agree that social media buzz, albeit in different forms, is as precious now as it was in Ancient Rome.

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Why social media is rooted in Ancient Rome: Top five PR tips you can learn from the Romans