Have you ever imagined how one viral piece of content would improve your business? Well this is a complete breakdown of our first hand experience and how we managed to pull it off…
Without a significant audience to leverage off, our articles often don’t have the pull we wish they did. Even after spending hours writing, editing, and formatting, they still fall short with minimal popularity on social networks. To turn things around we had to create something that would be totally worth sharing. We were going to have to take our content marketing game, flip it on it’s head and step it up a notch.
Like we do on a regular basis, we crawl through pages upon pages of our favorite blogs and always noticed there was a consistent pattern. One particular style of content seemed to be hogging all the shares and soaking up everyone’s attention. This extremely popular type of content is commonly know as the ‘?info graphic’. So �?share-hungry’ one Saturday morning I decided it was time to make a start on our first info graphic and get in on a slice of the action.
Besides a great piece of content, this was something we planned to leverage off to build our social popularity and drive traffic to our website. An infographic would also introduce some variety to our blog and help to keep things interesting, not to mention it was a great opportunity to flex our creativity!
An infographic? Please explain…
Before I get stuck into the nitty gritty, I need to make sure you understand exactly what an infographic is. No it is not a jazzed up accounting term, in fact you’ll be pleased to know it is much the opposite. Although it does happen to be a bunch of statistics, numbers and facts, they are creatively presented to visualise this data in the most appealing way possible. With cool little diagrams, charts and visuals readers can easily skim over this data while learning real life stats surrounding a particular topic; in our case it was branding.
Still a little unsure? Treat your eyes to these few infographic examples here…
Putting in the groundwork for a viral infographic.
Lets take a close look into the foundations of our now viral infographic and why we did things a particular way. I believe these are the top reasons our infographic was a hit with readers on a global scale, and it all began with the title…
Don’t get the wrong idea, this title didn’t come about after a 30 second brainstorm, it was more like 30 minutes of scribbling different titles that would spark enough curiosity for readers to click through. I settled with this title for 4 main reasons:
Here is an interesting fact I stumbled across on CopyBlogger…
“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.”
It was a conscious decision to create an infographic that would break data down into 6 key points – no more, no less. This was not a number pulled out of thin, instead it was based upon an interesting study carried out by content mastermind Neil Patel. Neil discovered that infographics with 6 key points received considerably more tweets than any other number.
He also uncovered some other great facts that will determine how popular your infographic will be in the Twittersphere, such as these…
“Numbers don’t lie” – Jay Z
To create a killer infographic it was crucial to dig up some mind-boggling facts related to our topic of branding. While this was time consuming and required a lot of sifting and filtering, it was certainly worth it. Admittedly some of them even shocked us!
One website that led to some really interesting data was FactBrowser. If you’re thinking of creating your own infographic, then this one is definitely worth a look.
Any facts I thought were interesting, I made a note of them as well as the source. After accumulating plenty of data, I went through and sorted them into groups and culling any that didn’t really fit in or just weren’t �?mind-boggling’.
Since all the facts and statistics I used were researched by other people, it was important to mention them in the footer of our infographic, this does two things. Firstly, gives them credit where credit is due, almost like a small thank you for their efforts. Secondly, it’s proof these numbers are based on actual research, making the infographic more credible in the eyes of readers.
How we got the viral ball rolling.
With the infographic created, saved and patiently waiting to be spread like wildfire, there was just one problem standing in the way. Our website only averages about 50 unique visitors a day. With low volumes of traffic, this infographic was not going to spread very far at all if we were to just post on our blog alone. To avoid undesirable results, these are the few very simple things we did to send our infographic to viral status…
The trick to a viral reach is often as simple as leveraging established audiences others have already built. As an example, by tapping into the huge following Visual.ly has grown, we were able to post our infographic and clock up hundreds of shares, views and new visitors within a matter of weeks. Note, this is just one source alone. The true power comes when you begin doubling and tripling up.
However, none of this will work if your content is weak. At the end of the day no one cares how many shares you get, neither are they interested in helping you spread your content – unless they find tremendous value from it. So be sure to put in the groundwork and build a solid foundation to begin with. This boils down to thorough research, interesting data, clever design and a great blog post to branch off from.
Did we receive any real benefits from this?
Now I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately shares and popularity don’t pay the bills (well not instantly anyway). So besides 16,000+ shares being great for the ego, you might be curious to know how (and if) we actually benefited from this exercise. Well lets take a close look at what happened as a result of this one infographic.
Not seeing the huge spike in revenue?
While the ultimate goal is to attract a healthy stack of paid work, so far we haven’t received a paying project as a direct result of our infographic. However we did come close to creating the brand design for a hand-made shoe company in Brazil and creating an infographic for a US fitness startup, unfortunately they didn’t make it over the line.
Does this mean it was a wasted exercise? Absolutely not. Often I see entrepreneurs focusing solely on the ultimate goal (closing the deal), without taking into account the �?mini-conversions’ along the way, such as new followers and subscribers. We even had a coffee shop owner from Boston tell us he loved the infographic so much he was going to print it out and post on his office wall. These mini-conversions often lead to highly valued customers further down the track. Content marketing is often a long term strategy without instant results.
How we plan to increase results next time around.
While we achieved results exceeding expectations, I’ve been racking my brain thinking about how we can create an even better result for upcoming infographics.
There was one thing that without question put a dampener on our results. This was the way our infographic on Mashable linked back to our website (or the way it didn’t). In a round-about way it linked back to our website in two areas on the post, but this is how it looked…
Mashable → Visual.ly → One Deep Design
Mashable → The Daily Muse → Visual.ly → One Deep Design
As you can see, if the post linked directly back to our website without the resistance in between, things would have played out a lot differently. But since this was out of our control, it got me thinking should we have created the entire infographic inline with our brand? This is one thing I look forward to testing what impact a branded vs. unbranded infographic has on the outcome.
An area we majorly fell short in was acquiring subscribers. From the amount of traffic that ran through our site during this period vs the amount of people who entered their email address to subscribe was embarrassing low. To avoid a repeat we’ve since tweaked a few things to create a stronger call to action.
One of them was creating a 70 page branding eBook titled ‘How To Look A Million Bucks’, this is a free giveaway to all of our new subscribers. A free gift has been used by marketing wizards for years, it is a well tested and proven method to capture more emails. This opt-in is now strategically placed underneath blog articles and as an �?exit intent’ popup powered by Exit Monitor. Like the name suggests, this popup is only triggered when visitors look as though they are getting ready to leave, by moving their mouse above the window towards the back button / browser menu.
What you can take away from this.
With all the great feedback, comments and results we received from this one infographic alone, I first hand believe every company will benefit from creating an infographic for their audience. Even if you forget everything you’ve just read, be sure to remember these 6 takeaway points…