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March 14 2012

10:00

6 Simple Tips on How to Market Your Infographics

Today, Infographics are everywhere on the Internet, there is an infographic for almost every popular subject. From serious topics like marketing to seemingly simple ones like apps and bedtime stories are made into infographics. We saw the trend back in 2010, when internet marketers were thinking of a better way to market content. Top ten lists were being overdone, and there was a huge need for interesting content, people were getting bored by the typical content marketing techniques seen up to that point.

Content was, and will always, be king. Google loves new and fresh content. But generating new and interesting content was getting tough. There were top ten lists that everyone was doing (read over doing) and there were videos not everyone could pull off or were boring. So there was a huge demand for something in between.

What makes an infographic go viral?

So, what is an infographic actually? It’s basically information graphics, where by otherwise boring and bloated information is made interesting by using graphics. Fair enough. But what makes it viral?

1. Information in digestible capsule format

Infographics always comes in an easily digestible format. Small, cute and interesting graphics make the data even easier to understand and amazing. Today, many infographics we see are otherwise boring information, that are made interesting by using graphics.

2. Data that is useful

Most infographics have informational data that is really useful to people.  Like this one.  The information is so useful that you want to print it out and hang it on your door for quick reference, this is the compelling factor of any infographic.

3. Catering to our short-term attention spans

Today, all of us have a very short attention span. We cannot spend more than a minute on anything on the internet. This is the reason why even when all the information is available on Wikipedia, we don’t read it all. But with infographics, we grasp everything even with our short-term attention span.

So, how do you market an infographic today?

That is our question today. With so many infographics being churned out lately, how can you stand out and be difference from the rest? Let’s take a deeper look.

1. Submit infographics to Infographic Directories and Blogs

There are several places that accept infographic submissions and feature all of them in a very nice way. There are no processes to get into though, all you have to do is submit the infographic and hope that it will be displayed on the site. Most directories do not have an acceptance policy which means that the infographic will be displayed the moment you submit them with a link to your original source. Some of them however take some time to review the submission and publish it in due course.

Here is a good list of blogs and directories:

  1. Visual.ly
  2. Chart Porn
  3. Flickr Infographics Group
  4. Daily Infographic
  5. Charts Bin

2. Make a paid submission to Stumble Upon

Stumble Upon is a great resource when it comes to visually pleasing content. They have a dedicated category for infographics that will get you thousands of hits every month if you submit your infographics. But getting in there can be tricky. If you make the submission from a weak account, then chances are that the infographic will be buried. But instead of taking the risk, make a paid discovery on stumbleupon. The standard Paid Discovery plan is a flat fee of $0.10 per unique visitor. There are also options for higher and lower priority serving. But its a highly effective way of marketing your content to the right people.

3. Keep the tools ready for social sharing

The basic necessity for any infographic is to make sure it can shared on social networks. When people view the infographic, make sure there are enough social bookmarking tools beside it to ensure easy sharing to all networks (or the ones that are relevant to your market). While this sounds like a seemingly basic thing to do, many bloggers and designers get caught up with making the infographic so perfect that they miss out the very basic purpose of it. Which is to get as many links from other blogs as you can and build social media traffic.

4. Submit to Reddit’s Infographic Subreddit

Reddit is where the new memes and sensations of the Internet appear first. It’s from where the rest of the social networking sites, get inspired for great content. And Reddit has an exclusive subreddit at (reddit.com/r/infographics) for infographics. Stuff posted here will probably not appear on the front page, but will be featured on many blogs and Tumblr feeds as there is a big community of infographics fans watching over the subreddit.


5. Leverage the Pinterest community

Pinterest is in the spotlight these days. With praises from funding managers and social media gurus alike, this seems to be the new thing in the valley. And rightly so, because like StumbleUpon, Pinterest gives you some amazing traffic for visually pleasing images and cool pins. Infographics is one category that always gets a lot of repins and likes on Pinterest. And for each repin and like, the chances of getting a new visitor to your site is increased. Watch out for the referral stats on Google Analytics.

6. Influential Blogger Outreach

Another powerful way to market your infographics is to get one of the influential people in social media to share your infographic. It could be someone with a lot of Twitter followers or Facebook friends, or even a page that has a lot of fans. Of course, you cannot go blindly and ask them for a tweet but if your infographic is good (which I assume it is), search for an influential social media user from the same niche as your infographic. For example, if your infographic is on “Valentine’s Day and Love” you might want to consider approaching couple of the female social influencers on the list. Talk to them and hit a deal, like two tweets at the peak hour for $50. There are many unlisted social media influencers out there who can do it for you. Just that you need to spend some time finding them.

Summary

Infographics are a great way to get some attention, build your brand, build links and get some viral social media traffic. It hits all the above points with one stone, and that’s the beauty of it. But since the idea of infographics is getting over done these days, the solution is to come up with newer illustrations, newer ideas and visualization techniques that grab people’s attention. The wow factor is very relevant here. All you have is the first 3 seconds. If you can get their attention in the first 3 seconds, you’ve won. All the best.

October 11 2010

21:00

12 Creative Design Ideas That Went Viral (And The Lessons You Can Learn)

In this post I’ll feature some web designs that went viral on StumbleUpon/Digg/other social media sites and the lessons you can learn from them. As you browse the designs, I’m pretty sure you’ll find some common patterns I overlooked. If you see that, let me know in the comments :) For now, let’s get started.

One more thing before we start. The lessons I’ll share are just principles and observations that come from my 3+ experience in viral marketing and getting over a million people to my websites. Feel free to disagree with some of the principles and let me know why in the comments below. Now, let’s REALLY get started :)

1. Man in The Dark

What can we learn from this: People want control. That’s one of the reasons games are more engaging than videos. This animation makes use of that principle by giving people an incredible control over the flying man. Even if you move your mouse a little bit, you should get him flying immediately. The lesson here is: If you’re making a game or an animation people can control, ask yourself how can you make it so even a small move with the mouse (smallest effort people can possibly take while sitting on a computer) can produce a ‘wow’ results.

2. 10 Common Misonceptions Dispelled (Infographic)

What can we learn from this: Appeal to the general audience. Going niche doesn’t work if you want to go viral (except if the niche is fascinating for the general public, like astronomy). This infographic is a great example of appealing to the overall mass population. The name is ‘10 Common Misconceptions Dispelled’, not ‘10 Common Teeth Whitening’ or ‘10 Common Acne’ misconceptions. In viral, fun and entertainment are a priority over being informative.

3. Horses Singing

What can we learn from this: There are so many principles behind this viral flash ‘game’, but I think what’s most important here is unexpectedness; when horses open their mouth, you expect that awful and loud voice. But these horses can sing; and they can actually sing in chorus! Imagine real horses doing that; one of the most annoying things in the world? :)

4. Different Live Quotes

What can we learn from this: As a general rule of thumb, too much text doesn’t work in viral (see why in the next lesson). That doesn’t mean, however, that text doesn’t work at all. This example shows that. If you combine it with something insightful (like quotes), funny (once someone on Twitter made an account named “shit my dad says”), anything that brings emotions, you should have a good probability most people are going to like it.

5. TheOatMeal

What can we learn from this: I’ve actually known this OatMeal guy before he went viral on Digg. I expected his site to be great success, but never expected it would get viral to this extent! (his site is in the top 2500 most visited sites in the world according to Alexa). He taught me one very important thing with his designs. You see, there is a lot of text in some of his infographics. But it’s all illustrated, like a comics, and the text accompanies the graphic rather than the graphic accompanying the text. This is a very important distinction to make; if the text accompanies the graphic then you try to illustrate as many things as you can with the graphic, while the reverse is true with the graphic accompanying the text (like in this article, for example).

6. TypoOrganism ASCII (or, it’s Obama in ASCII!)

What can we learn from this: Ah, the power of associations. Combining technology + famous people = win. You could argue that we were making all these ‘associations’ in the previous examples as well (connecting pictures with emotions etc). But this is different. In this example, there is a politician, a celebrity. Some will like this and some will not. But they would both agree this is ‘fascinating’. A lesson/idea: You can take a present trend/famous person and make a creative design out of it. Like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

7. Drawing Example

What can we learn from this: Most people like drawings. If you’re a drawing master, why not try and submit your masterpiece on StumbleUpon? Or alternatively you can find a drawing group on Facebook and post it there and see what happens (just make sure the group/page has enough members!) Drawings go viral on StumbleUpon.

8. ShinyBinary – Oh, It’s So Beautiful!

What can we learn from this: People love beautiful stuff. Now, aren’t different things beautiful to different people? Not really. For example, if you show the 2 pictures above to different people. most will say they’re quite beautiful. Maybe 2 in 30 will say they don’t like the pictures. But the rest 28 will usually say positive stuff. And not surprisingly, beautiful things often go viral ! They appeal to most (remember the second principle, appeal with information? Well this is same just you’re appealing with beautiful stuff).

If you want to see whether something you designed is beautiful or not, try sending it to 5 people (but don’t tell them it’s your design) and hear what they think.

9. Fractal World Gallery

What can we learn from this: Making a showcase of beautiful pictures/designs used to work quite successfully on StumbleUpon. This isn’t the case anymore (they still work, but not so phenomenal like previously), not because of the pictures but other factors. If you show same things to people all the time, they’ll become accustomed to those things and they’ll lose they effectiveness. The things they see will become ordinary and ordinary is the enemy of viral and buzz. So why am I telling you this? Because you can make twists for these showcase posts and make them ‘not-so-ordinary’.

Most people just throw a bunch of pictures for a particular topic, name it ‘x beautiful [theme] pictures’ and that’s it. Boring. Imitation works for getting viral, but not for long. Here are some ideas on twists you can make:

‘10 Remarkably Similar, Yet Very Different [theme] Designs’

‘10 Designs and Their Ugly Counterparts’ (you can show similar designs here, first the ugly one, and then the beautiful one)

10. Iconscrabble

What can we learn from this: Simplicity helps a lot. Especially if you have a site where people are just trying to do 1 thing (like search for something). If you’ve noticed, all the previous examples are kinda simple, they don’t have any extra parts that take your attention. They make you focus on the ‘meat’ and don’t do much fluff.

11. Phong

What can we learn from this: When this animation started, something strange happened to me. I started associating the animation with the essence of life, the stars, the universe…and I bet most people also did that when they saw this. Can you do this with your design? Can you insert an element which will help visitors associate your design with the essence of life? Some objects that can help you accomplish this are: stars, galaxies, planets etc. But it’s not just about what you present, it’s about HOW you present it. Just take a look at this animation and its slow motion. Think on how you can present your static/animation design. Slow motion usually helps a lot in the ‘how to present it’ part.

12. LAB – Freestyle Creativity

What can we learn from this: At the end, it’s important to mention that there are not specific rules for going viral. There is a dose of randomness in the viral formula. The more viral designs you see, the more you can ’steal’ from them and then make your own ones. This is an example of what I call a ‘freestyle creativity’, the guy probably just said ‘I found this fascinating and other people will probably find it too’ and went with that design. There’s no rule that says you can’t do the same too.


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