March 4, 2016
Remember when you were a child and someone you loved would tell you a story?
You felt enthralled, captivated by the detail and the magic, spellbound—hanging on every word.
Did you know that a brand story is capable of doing the exact same thing?
While brand stories may not tell of princes and dragons in far-off lands (although they could…I suppose), they can be fascinating if they’re done properly – and therein lies the rub.
For years, marketers have agonized over how to effectively tell a brand story that can narrow niches and resonate with consumers. Fortunately, marketers far and wide have been making progress on this issue and they’ve come up with a solution: infographics.
Read on to learn more.
Infographics and Visual Storytelling
Infographics are notoriously good at telling a large story in a small space. Plus, they stand out which is incredibly important given the fact that, each day, 1.5 million pieces of content (including 140 million tweets and more than two million videos) fly around the Web.
Without a defined structure, it’s virtually impossible to pull all of that information together into anything even moderately coherent. Fortunately, this is where infographics enter the picture. Infographics combine textual and visual content into an easy-to-read format that gives viewers factual information and fun graphics all at once. Infographics have exploded in popularity over the last several years, increasing in search volume 800 percent between 2010 and 2012.
This growth in the popularity of infographics is probably based on a few things. First and foremost, infographics work because 90 percent of all information transmitted to the human brain is visual and because image-based content prompts 600 times more engagement than text-based content. And it’s not just that the brain likes visuals either – they can actually be much more effective when it comes to learning and retention of information.
Today, 83 percent of people say they learn visually and 93 percent of all human communication is non-verbal. Visuals are widely considered the most effective vessel for social sharing and photo-sharing platforms like Pinterest (which acquired more than 70 million users in two years) and Instagram (which topped out at 200 million users in two years) are booming. People who follow instructions that include illustrations and text are 323 percent more accurate than people who are following text-only illustrations. Finally, Google receives upward of 20 million daily searches for infographics.
Is this enough to convince you that infographics are an important form of content that can help you tell your brand story effectively? We certainly hope so and here are some tips to help you get started.
7 Steps to Telling Your Brand Narrative with Infographics
As we’ve covered by now, infographics are a powerful vehicle for knowledge and information and if you want to use infographics to tell your brand story effectively, these seven tips are exactly what you need to get the process off on the right foot.
1. Get Lateral Rather than Literal
If you sell cookies, nobody wants to see an infographic dedicated entirely to the different types of cookies available in your store. While this may be a mouth-watering visual, it’s not very informative and it doesn’t offer anything a quick glance over your website or menu wouldn’t. That said, it’s important to think laterally rather than literally when it comes to creating your infographics.
Instead of an infographic dedicated entirely to your cookies, make an infographic dedicated to the history of the cookie or the cookie’s greatest world records. You could include facts like the most cookies ever consumed, the largest cookie ever baked, or the most ingredients ever baked into a single cookie. While this may seem silly, people love fast facts and an infographic like this appeals to your customers and has a high likelihood of going viral.
At the end of this infographic, you could include a CTA to visit your site or you could reach out to local food blogs and ask them to share the infographic, thus driving traffic back to you. Remember, when creating your infographic, to use the visual component of it to reinforce the text and help tell a story. This means you can include graphics of flour, chocolate chips, eggs and, of course, cookies.
2. Gather your information
What do you want your infographic to communicate? To ensure that you’re including all of the information you want to in your infographic, make sure you’re making a list of everything you want to include beforehand. This will help you avoid leaving anything out while also helping you to preemptively map out the information within your Instagram. When you create an outline for your infographic, you can build a better and more intuitive infographic structure.
3. Tie your infographic into your content strategy
Once you’ve created your infographic, it’s not enough to just put it out there and hope that it will get shared. To help your infographic go viral and drive traffic back to your site, you’ll need to create a content strategy for it.
This means that you can reach out to other webmasters and ask them to share the infographic or that you can push your infographic out onto your social networking distribution channels with an accompanied hashtag.
Finally, you can reach out to other niche bloggers and offer to allow them to post your infographic alongside a unique and high-quality article. These steps have the potential to drive traffic back to your site while also helping you provide valuable content for another blogger in need.
4. Bolster attention
When it comes to promotion of your infographic, you’ll want to let your followers know where and when it has been published. This means that you can push published URLs out to social media platforms. Alternately, you can go the extra mile by advertising your infographic through a Pinterest or Facebook ad.
If you’ve posted your infographic on someone else’s site, you can continue to contribute articles to them or run a follow-up infographic to the one you’ve already posted. This gives interested audiences something to look forward to while also helping you contribute high quality and engaging content to a neighboring site.
Keep in mind that you can’t build links to promote your infographic (Google will penalize your site for this) but that you can earn links naturally and use them to promote the popularity of your infographic.
5. Make it stunning
Design is one of the most important components of an infographic and to make yours as valuable and shareable as possible, ensure it is visually striking. This includes more than just the design (which you can do yourself using any of these free tools). It also means that you shouldn’t use more than 10 data points and that you should include fun visualizations that are more memorable than your run-of-the-mill pie chart. Finally, you should be using high-resolution images and offering a summary of takeaway information at the top of bottom of every set of data points.
6. Use your voice
One of the things that makes your story your own is that it is told in your unique voice. This means not only your style of writing but your brand’s specific experiences. In order to make your infographic unique and impossible to imitate, ensure that you’re not self-censoring and that every aspect of it reflects your company or brand.
Did you make a big mistake before you found success? Tell your readers about it and create a fun visual to go along with it. In a world where buyers are virtually assaulted by thousands of pieces of content on a daily basis, it’s the authentic stuff that stands out and your authentic content is bound to be much more powerful than content created while you were trying to sound like or look like someone else.
7. Use the infographic to spark a conversation
At the end of the infographic, you’ll probably want to include some form of CTA. In order to increase engagement, consider making that CTA a question for your readers. You could say something like “Have an opinion? Tell us about at it (your twitter hashtag).” This is a great way to use visuals like infographics to spark a conversation and keep people engaged with your brand.
In addition to being something pretty to look at, infographics are a powerful marketing tool that can help you promote brand awareness and make your company stand out from the competition. While infographics present some challenges unique from other types of content, they are a fantastic way to produce great results for your company and to tell your brand story in a way that your customers will not soon forget.
Additionally, since infographics are capable of packing so much information into a small and centralized format, they’re ideal for telling your brand story, offering helpful information to your customers, and getting your content shared across the Web quickly and easily.
Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.